Samekawa Ablutions Tamayorihime


Samekawa Ablutions (Samekawa misogi )

***** Location: Hokkaido
***** Season: Late Winter
***** Category: Observance


An annual festival in Kikonai at the Samekawa shrine.
Kikonai is located about one hour drive from Hakodate.

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This festival originated according to an inspriation from the enshrined deities of the shrine itself, which called for ablutions of their four statues.

Four young men in loincloth オマニシクギダ have to go to a well in the shrine compound and poor cold water on each other and on themselves.

The climax of the festival is a purification of four sacred statues of the Samekawa Shrine.
A procession with drums and flutes accompanies the brave men from the shrine to the beach.

Four half-naked youngsters wade into cold winter ocean, each holding a sacred statue in their arms. They immerse the statues into the water and splash more water on it.
Then back to the shrine for more ablutions.

Each of the four participants has to do this for four years, one new young man comes in each year, the three others show him what to do.

This is one of the most severe "ablutions in the cold" which I have ever seen, since it lasts for three days and the men have to stay in the cold shrine all the time.

Shrine Same-Kawa Jinja

佐女川神社(さめがわじんじゃ) Shrine Samegawa Jinja

The deity is
Tamayori hime no mikoto 玉依姫命(たまよりひめのみこと)
For good business, easy delivery of a baby and family wellbeing.

The daimyo of Matsumae domain 河野加賀守源景広 had a small shrine built in 1625.
Tamayori Hime is the mother of the first Tenno, Jinmu Tenno 神武天皇. The name of the shrine is a pun of words, "to be helped by a woman", SA meaning tasukeru.

The four deities of the festival are
Tamayori Hime 玉依姫命,
Inari 稲荷 (the Fox Deity),
Yama no Kami 山の神 (Deity of the mountains) and
Benzaiten 弁財天 (Deity of Words and Water) .


CLICK for original LINK ... yoshino.ne.jp

The daughter of Watatsumi and younger sister of Toyotamabime. Tamayoribime raised her elder sister's child, the kami Ugayafukiaezu, and later became his consort, giving birth to four sons, including Itsuse no mikoto, Inahi no mikoto, Mikenu no mikoto, and Kamuyamatoiwarebiko no mikoto (the later emperor Jinmu).

According to the the main account in Nihongi, Tamayoribime accompanied her older sister Toyotamabime from the ocean when the latter came up onto the shore in order to give birth to the child Ugayafukiaezu, whom she had conceived with Hohodemi. After Toyotamabime left the child on the beach and returned to the ocean, Tamayoribime remained behind to raise the baby.

An "alternate writing" also transmitted by Nihongi, however, relates that Tamayoribime originally accompanied her elder sister when she returned to the sea palace, but was later sent back by her sister to raise the child. Since Toyotamabime and Hohodemi were separated, one in the sea and the other on land, Tamayoribime acted as medium for their exchange of poems.
source : Mori Mizue, 2005, Kokugakuin University.

Tamayori-Hime and
. Shrine Shimogamo Jinja, Kyoto

. Mikomori Myōjin 御子守明神. .
Mikumari Shrine (水分神社) and the Tamayorihime Connection

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

External LINK

rokushaku no yonin gyooja ya kan misogi

Midwinter ablutions, the four
ascetics wearing six feet loincloths.

kan misogi shibuki no shimuru shirofudoshi

Midwinter ablutions, the white
loincloth being frozen by the splash

koyuki mau misogi daiko no hatsuratsu to

Light snow dancing,
vivid sounds of Misogi drum.

shimenawa ni trurara no sagaru kan misogi

Midwinter ablutions,
icicles hanging on a sacred straw rope.

kanchuu no Tsugaru kaikyoo misogi hama

Ablution Beach,
the Tsugaru Straits in the coldest season.

shigoshin no umi no misogi ya kan no naka

Midwinter season, the ablutions
of four guardian deities at sea.

Impressive photos and more Haiku by Wada san

. . . CLICK here for Wada san's Photos !

four ascetics
only in a loincloth ...
ablutions in the cold


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ablutions in winter ...
much too cold to be

Gabi Greve, January 2010

Related words

***** . Naked festivals (hadaka matsuri 裸祭り)  

***** . Jinmu Tenno 神武天皇 Emperor Jimmu .

***** . Japanese Deities


1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Shiga 樹下神社 Juge Jinja shrine
大津市北小松 Otsu town, Kita-Komatsu

- Deity in residence
. 鴨玉依姫命 / 玉依姫命 Tamayori Hime no Mikoto .

The origin of this shrine is not quite clear.
In 982, 佐々木成頼 Sasaki Nariyori ordered the construction of the 日吉十禅師 Juzenji of Hiyoshi.
This shrine flourished as the protector shrine of the Sasaki clan in 近江国 Omi (now Shiga prefecture).
The shrine was destructed by Oda Nobunaga, but later rebuild.
In 1870, it was named 十禅師社 Juzenji Shrine
Minamoto no Nariyori 源成頼 (676 - 1003) = Sasaki Nariyori