Yamaji Oji Shrine, or popularly called Ichitsubo Oji, is one of the Kumano Kujyu-ku (99) Oji shrines, which were known as the training places for Kumano Shugendo (mountain practice). It is one of the few Oji shrines that have existed to the present time. The shrine is also famous for a festival called “Naki-zumo (crying sumo wrestling),” which has been dedicated to god since the Edo period. On October 10 every year, parents bring their new-born boy-babies in red loincloth and make them wrestle with each other in the hope of their safe growth. The babies cry for fear when the Gyoji (referee) force them to fight each other, so it is called “Naki-zumo.” It is said that the true purpose of this event is to teach importance of labor to young children by letting them touch the mud. The festival is designated as an Intangible Cultural Property by the prefecture.
- Ichitsubo, Shimotsu-cho, Kainan, Wakayama Prefecture 649-0145
- Yamaji Oji Shrine