NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


門川町 中山神社大祭 Kadogawa-cho Nakayama-jinja-taisai The Grand Festival at Nakayama Shrine in Kadogawa

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Nakayama Shrine in Kadogawa Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, is said to have been founded in 857, when the deity at Izumo Taisha Shrine was transferred to this shrine.

Onamuchi no Mikoto and three other deities are enshrined. Onamuchi no Mikoto is another name for Okuninushi no Mikoto. As Okuninushi no Mikoto is known as the god of nation-building, farming, business and medicine as well as love stories with many princesses, the shrine was famous for the divine power of marriage tie. It was believed that if a young man and a woman passed each other in the front approach of the shrine, they would fall in love with each other.  

As there is a song about the shrine, which goes, “Nakayama-san is a good god because if you don’t have any kimono, you can visit him naked, and if you don’t have any sandals, you can visit him with bare feet,” it is said that, in the ancient times, men were allowed to visit the shrine even only in loincloth, and women in koshimaki (waist wrap).

The grand festival held on January 7 every year is famous as a naked festival, in which both toshi-otoko (men whose zodiacal sign corresponds to the year's sign) and men of Yaku-doshi (the unlucky age) wearing only white loincloth, white tabi (Japanese socks) and white headbands run up the stone steps to the precinct, shouting loud encouragement. In the precinct, they pour cold water onto the head and all over the body to purify themselves and pray for the safety and a good health of their family.

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6160 Kadogawa Ozue, Kadogawa-cho, Higashi-Usuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-0611
Nakayama Shrine

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