NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


柳沢の焼け八幡 Yanagisawa-no-yake-hachiman Yakehachiman in Yanagisawa

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Yakehachiman is the traditional New Year’s event handed down in the Yanagisawa area in Kami Town, Miyagi Prefecture. It is held on January 14 to 15 every year in hope of a rich harvest, household safety and fire prevention. It is prefecturally designated as an intangible folk cultural property.

On the evening of January 14, young men in the village get together at Hachiman Shrine, where they make a hut of straw and bamboo poles. Then they put 12 straw lanterns on the branch of a tree. Then they burn the lanterns, which represent 12 months of the year, and perform augury on the climate of the year.

Early in the morning of the next day, the young men in loincloths visit each of the houses in the village and serve holy sake wine to the villagers. Also they apply soot from the Japanese traditional kitchen range on the faces of the wife of a newly married couple or other women of the family. This is said to be the charm for the god’s protection. At the break of dawn, they return to the shrine to set fire on the hut and pray for good health of the coming year.

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Yanagisawa, Kami-machi, Miyagi Prefecture 981-4403
Yakehachiman in Yanagisawa

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