Shiogama Sail-cord Festival

. Shiogama Kaido Highway .

Sail-cord Festival (hote matsuri)

***** Location: Shiogama, Japan
***** Season: Mid-Spring
***** Category: Observance

- Shiogama Festival, see below


Hote Festival, Hote Matsuri 帆手祭 (ほてまつり)

March 10

One of the thee famous festivals in Japan known for the wild activities of the sacred palanquin.

The festival started with the original purpose of fire prevention, and now serves to ward off evil and to offer prayers for the prosperity of the town Shiogama 塩竃市.
Even if it started off as a festival with children as the main participants, the adult participants prayed for a good fishing harvest and more activity of her town too.
People made a statue of the deity Bonten out of the grasses of the "dragon whiskers grass" ( mondo grass ). The old reading for BONTEN 梵天 .. HOTE ほて .. might has then developed with the Chinese characters it is written nowadays. The grass Bonten effigy was called "kusa Bonten" 草梵天.


Sail-cord Festival. A festival held on March 10 at Shiogama Shrine (Shiogama jinja 鹽竈神社 in Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Shiogama Myoojin (塩釜明神, 鹽竈明神)

Beginning two days before the festival, sacred dance and music (kagura), a shrine priestess festival, Yamato dances are performed at the Ceremonial Hall (haiden). After the ceremonies on the festival day, there is a procession of the divinities. At the head of the procession is a hayashi stage called katsugi-kagura, with children riding on a doll stage. Besides the children and shrine priestesses (miko), spears, clothing boxes, swords, guns, bows and arrows and others objects are all part of the procession's stately accoutrements.
It is a lively occasion
with hundreds of worshippers. Around the sacred palanquin (mikoshi) flags similar to sails are raised and those accompanying it make offerings. This is the origin of the name.
Festival floats (dashi)
and stages of the town are dragged around. Also, a Daikoku (one of the seven gods of happiness) doll is made and placed on a horse. People sing packhorse-driver songs as they lead this horse from house to house. It is said that this began as a festival for fire protection in 1682 and originally took place on January 28. Now it has changed to be a festival praying for domestic safety and business prosperity.
- source - Mogi Sakae, Kokugakuin University.



日本三大荒神輿のひとつ Shiogama-sama no Ara Mikoshi

The festival's highlight:
Sixteen young men dressed in white carry a sacres palanquin, which weighs more than one ton, on their shoulders, and heroically rush down a dangerous flight of 202 stone steps in the shrine compound.

Shiogama Shrine

Shiogama has prospered as the home of the Tohoku area’s Shiogama Shrine and as a harbour city. Shiogama served as an unloading port forthe provincial Tohoku government (Mutsunokuni) and as a port for the Date clan during the Edo period (1603 ~1867). Shiogama was a prominent national harbour city from the Meji period (1868~1912) on and has more recently developed as a fisheries base (for fishing in both near-by and far waters .)

Shiogama is recognized as the largest unloading point for fresh tuna in Japan,as well as a city with abundant fresh seafood. The City has the most sushi restaurants per square kilometer in Japan . The fisheries industry is strong and Shiogama leads Japan in the production of kamaboko, or kneaded fish cakes, as well as other processed fish products.

Shiogama is one of the doorways to tourism in the famed Matsuhima Bay.
In the“Narrow Roads to the Deep North", the poet, Matsuo Basho, describes traveling from Shiogama to Matsushima by boat. What is not so well known, however, is thefact that over half of the“808 Matsushima Islands" are actuallyin Shiogama. In particular, the inhabited Urato Islands attract many visitors who enjoy sunbathing, marine-sports, clamming, fishing, and rape-blossom viewing.

In ancient times a god named Shiotsuchi no oji no kami, is said to have cometo Shiogama and to have taught the people how to make salt. Shiogama, meaningsalt caldron, derived its name from this legend.
Today, the ancient salt makingritual is still performed every July at the Okama Shrine in Shiogama.

Here is a poem about the city from the Kokinshu #1088

In Michinoku province
Everywhere is sorrow -
But especially here
in the bay of Shiogama
When I see the boats pull away.


- source: www.city.shiogama.miyagi.jp...

Things found on the way

Click for more images .

Amulets from Shiogama Shrine

hooyoke 方除守 protection in all directions

source : www.shiogamajinja.jp/charm

. Amulets for all eight directions .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

On 5.8 (6.24) Basho left Sendai, passed through Tofukai Yashiki and went on to Shiogama.

奥の細道絵巻 - 鹽竈神社にて

Basho at Shiogama Shrine
© PHOTO Bashouan

Writes Basho

The following morning, I rose early and did homage to the great god of the Myojin Shrine of Shiogama. This shrine had been rebuilt by the former governor of the province with stately columns, painted beams, and an impressive stone approach, and the morning sun shining directly on the vermillion fencing was almost dazzlingly bright. I was deeply impressed by the fact that the divine power of the gods had penetrated even to the extreme north of our country, and I bowed in humble reverence before the altar.

I noticed an old lantern in front of the shrine. According to the inscription on its iron window, it was dedicated by Izumi no Saburo in the third year of Bunji (1187). My thought immediately flew back across the span of five hundred years to the days of this most faithful warrior. His life is certain evidence that, if one performs one's duty and maintains one's loyalty, fame comes naturally in the wake, for there is hardly anyone now who does not honor him as the flower of chivalry.

It was already close to noon when I left the shrine. I hired a boat and started for the islands of Matsushima.

Matsuo Basho, Tr. Britton

Izumi no Saburo 泉三郎 was the third son of Fujiwara no Hidehira 藤原秀衡 (?-1187) who built the powerful Fujiwara presence at Hiraizumi in the late Heian period. From there he ruled the north. Hidehira opposed Minamoto no Yoritomo and favored Yoshitsune. On his death bed Hidehira ordered his sons to protect Yoshitsune from Yoritomo. Saburo tried to do so and was murdered by his treacherous older brother. He died at the age of 23.

The Stone Lantern from Izumi no Saburo
source - PHOTO Bashouan


kuro urushi hikari no haru no mikoshi tatsu

the palanquin of black laquer
shines in the spring sun -
and then starts moving

Kashiwara Minu - NHK Haiku July 2007


Shiogama Minato Matsuri 塩竈みなと祭 Harbour Festival

Shiogama Festival (Shiogama matsuri)

***** Location: Shiogama, Japan
***** Season: Late Summer
***** Category: Observance

Shiogama matsuri 塩釜祭 (しおがままつり)

mizukae shinji 水替神事(みずかえしんじ)
ritual of changing water
Shiogama minatomatsuri 塩釜港祭 Shiogama harbour festival

Main festival at Shiogama shrine, on July 10.

The water of the sacred salt chauldron is exchanged for fresh one, to honor the deity Shiotsuchi no oji no kami 塩土老翁.

other sources quote July 4 - 6 for the festival

Moshio yaki shinji 藻塩焼神事 Ritual of making Moshio salt
On July 4 the seaweed MO is harvested, on the 5th it is washed in the high tide. On July the water of the chauldron is changed and poured over the seaweed.

source : Shiogama Museum Treasures


Basho visiting Shiogama
painting by Koike Kyokukoo
小池曲江(こいけ きょくこう)

. WKD : moshio, mojio 藻塩 Salt with seaweed .

Related words

. Bonten 梵天  
at the New Year

***** Ceremonies and Festivals Saijiki

. shiogamagiku 塩竈菊 (しおがまぎく)
"chrysanthemum like a pot to boil salt" .

Pedicularis resupinata
and more shiogama flowers


Shiogama and the long Sanriku coast have been badly damaged by the earthquake
on March 11, 2001.

. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011


- #shiogama -


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

MORE salt-related deities
Shiozutsu-no-Okina 塩筒老翁, Shiozutsu no Oji, Shiozutsu no Ookami 塩筒大神 (old man of the the sea) 塩土老翁神
Shiotsuchi no Okina 塩土老翁, Shiotsuchi no Oji, Shiotsuchi no Kami 塩椎神

Kotokatsu Kunikatsu Nagasa - Koto Katsu Kuni Katsu Naga sa no Kami 事勝因勝長狭神

Shiotsuchi 潮つ霊, 潮つ路 - Deity who resides over the tide.

Shiogama Myoojin 鹽竈明神 / 塩釜明神 Shiogama Myojin, Deity of the Salt Chauldron
at Aoshima Jinja 青島神社 Aoshima Shrine , Miyazaki, Kyushu

Gabi Greve said...

. Shiogama Kaido 塩釜街道 Shiogama Highway .
Connecting Sendai Castle with Shiogama to transport salt.

Gabi Greve said...

Miyagi Nangu Jinja 南宮神社 Nangu Shrine
Nangu Shrine is one of the 鹽竈神社14末社 14 sub-Shrines of 鹽竈神社 Shrine Shiogama Jinja.