NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


飛鳥坐神社 Asukaniimasu-jinja Asukaniimasu Shrine

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On top of Mount Torigata in Asuka-mura, Nara, sits Asukaniimasu Shrine.
     Asukaniimasu Shrine traces its origins to the mythological age when Ookuninushi-no-kami dedicated the spirit of Kanayaruno-mikoto, a guardian god of the Imperial Family, to Ikazuchinoka mountain.   This is considered to be one of the holy mountains to which a god might descend.  In 829, as directed by an oracle, the spirit of Kanayaruno-mikoto was transferred to Mount Torigata.
     The shrine was burned down in 1725 and its structure was restored to its current state in 1781 by Uemura Ietoshi, the head of the Takatoshi Clan.
     On the first Sunday of every February, an event called The Onda Festival takes place at the shrine to pray for a rich harvest and family prosperity. The festival is a religious ritual that represents life and it is one of the “Three Unusual Festivals” in Western Japan.
     At the beginning of the performance, two men wearing  masks of Tengu, the mythological goblin, and Okina, an old man, both holding a bamboo stick called “sasara”, begin chasing the audience around- adults and children alike, and whacking them on the behind.  Once the men come back to the stage in front of the shrine, they perform the ritual of the rice harvest including prowling the rice paddy and planting rice.  This is followed by the wedding of Tengu and Otafuku, representing a woman.

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708 Asuka Kannabi, Asukamura, Takaichi-gun, Nara 634-0103
Asukaniimasu Shrine

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