Showing posts with label Miyagi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miyagi. Show all posts


Miyagi Prefecture


. Regional Festivals - From Hokkaido to Okinawa .


Miyagi Prefecture - 宮城県

prefecture of Japan in the Tōhoku Region on Honshu island.
The capital is Sendai 仙台.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Matsushima 松島 .

. Kokeshi Dolls from Miyagi こけし .
Narugo Naruko Kokeshi Festival in September
Shiroishi Kokeshi Exhibition, May 3–5

Aoba Castel 青葉城 "Castle of the Green Leaves"
by Hasui Kawase (1883-1957)

Aoba Castle (青葉城, Aoba-jō), also known as Sendai Castle (仙台城, Sendai-jō), was the castle of the Date family. Built by Date Masamune atop Mount Aoba, it commanded a highly defensible strategic position overlooking the city of Sendai.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Miyagi - Entries of this BLOG .


. Akiu no taue odori 秋保の田植踊 rice-planting dance .


Aoba matsuri 青葉祭り Aoba festival

suzume odori すずめ踊り starling dance, sparrow dance

The original Sparrow Dance is derived from the dance improvised by the stonemasons at the feast for the construction of Sendai Castle of famous monarch Masamune Date about 400 years ago.

... representing the coming of Spring.
The special-feature event on Saturday evening (Yoi-matsuri, or Festival-Eve event) is the "Suzume-odori (sparrow dance) Contest", open to the public for participation. This adds to the atmosphere of the festival and it is encouraged for people to try the suzume dance for themselves!
The next day (Sunday) includes the Hon-matsuri (Main Festival), where you can see a parade of soul-stirring Yamaboko (decorative floats) and samurai warriors marching in procession under the roadside Zelkova trees.
Amid the beating sound of the Odaiko (big drums) and chanting for joy, the main street is completely filled with the jubilant excitement of the festival.
source :

During the Edo period, a festival for Tosho-gu Shrine was held on September 17. This has come to be known as the "Sendai Matsuri."
Tosho-gu Shrine was built on April 17, 1654 in the days of the second Sendai clan leader, Date Tadamune, Sendai Matsuri started on that day the following next year. Because of Sankinkoutai ( a kind of the feudal system of Clan leaders' alternate-year attendance at Edo), it was held every other year, when the leader was staying in Sendai.

..... During the Meiji era, in 1874, Aoba Shrine 青葉神社 was built in the precinct at Tosho-ji Temple in Kitayama to commemorate Date Masamune, an ancestor of the clan leaders. On May 24, the next year, the anniversary of his death, the festival began. People had gradually come to call the festival "Aoba Matsuri" not Sendai Matsuri, and it became a civic holiday when banks, government offices and schools were closed to celebrated it.
In 1885, the 250th ceremony of Masamune's death was held in a large scale with many floats,
..... Although Aoba Matsuri was called off more than twenty years ago, it has been revived with some renewals in 1985, when it was the 350th ceremony of Masamune's death.
Now it has become a typical Spring sight in Sendai.

Read more details HERE :
source :

. Date Masamune (伊達政宗) .
(September 5, 1567 – June 27, 1636)


. Dontosai どんと祭 Matsutaki Matsuri .
naked men festival
January 14, Osaki Hachiman Shrine, Sendai

. Ishinomaki Kawabiraki 石巻川開き
"River Opening at Ishinomaki" .

in honor of Kawamura Magobei 川村孫兵衛

Matsushima Oyster Festival
first weekend(Saturday and Sunday) of February
featuring various winter oyster dishes, like barbequed oysters and scallops over charcoal.

Sendai Classical Music Festival
Sen-Cla (pronounced sen-ku-ra せんくら)
source : Japan Times, 2008

Sendai Pageant of Starlight SENDAI光のページェント
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Tanabata Star Festival 七夕 .
Sendai Tanabata Festival, August 6–8


Yosakoi Matsuri よさこい祭り 仙台
Yosakoi Dance Festival

Yosakoi (よさこい) is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan. Yosakoi started in the city of Kōchi in 1954, as a modern rendition of Awa Odori, a traditional summer dance.
Since its introduction in 1954, yosakoi has become popular throughout the country of Japan. Now, Yosakoi-Soran festivals are held all over Japan, throughout the year.
They vary in size from small villages hosting a few teams of dancers in conjunction with another annual festival, to large cities like
Sendai, which hosts the Michinoku Yosakoi Festival,
the third largest festival in Japan.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


External LINKS :

Furukawa Festival
August 2 - 4

Shiroishi Summer Festival
August 11 - 12
source :

- Reference -

Related words

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan - GANGU . 

. Regional Dishes from Japan - WASHOKU .

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Shimada Candy Festival


Shimada Candy Festival (Shimada ame matsuri)

***** Location: Taiwa, Miyagi
***** Season: Mid-winter
***** Category: Observance


Shimada ame matsuri 島田飴まつり 
Shimada Candy Festival takes place every December 14th at Yoshioka-Hachiman Shrine in Taiwa-cho, Kurokawa-gun, Miyagi Prefecture.

Yoshioka-Hachiman Shrine is said to date back to 1618 when Date Munekiyo, the third son of Date Masamune, and founder of Sendai Clan, moved from Shimokusa to Yoshioka and the shrine was transferred as well and re-built in the current location.

The festival is said to have begun on December 14th sometime between 1615 and 1623 when the priest of the shrine fell in love with a bride with a Shimada wedding hairstyle and he became ill. Villagers, worried about the priest, donated candies in the shape of the Shimada hairstyle to the shrine, and that led to the priest recovering from his illness.

It is believed that the shrine makes love come true and many people, wishing for luck with love, visit the shrine to seek candies.
They sell 1000 pieces of this candy.

Shimada Candy Festival is a lively festival crowded with stores selling Shimada hairstyle candies and with many young people wishing for good matchmaking.
source :


Yoshioka Hachiman Jinja 吉岡八幡神社


dondo matsuri どんと祭 Dondo festifal, January 14

wakuguri matsuri 輪くぐり祭り summer purification, July 31

Yabusame 流鏑馬(やぶさめ) archery on horseback, mid-September


bunkin shimada 文金島田 bridal hair decoration

. Hanayome ningyoo 花嫁人形  bride dolls .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. WKD : Hachiman Shrines and their festivals .



Related words

***** . hatsu shimada 初島田(はつしまだ)
first Shimada hairstyle.


. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Kinkazan Island


Kinkazan Island - Ishinomaki

***** Location: Miyagi Prefecture
***** Season: See below
***** Category: Observance


Kinkasan (金華山; also Kinkazan)
is a small mountainous island at the tip of the Oshika Peninsula, not far from Sendai in Tohoku, Japan.

CLICK for more photos

Literally meaning "Golden Flower Mountain", its spiritual significance and the fact that the island used to be a site for a brief gold prospecting boom ensure a steady stream of visitors eager for some good fortune to rub off. Kinkasan is considered one of the three holiest places in Tohoku region, along with Dewa Sanzan and Osorezan. Today little remains except an impressive Shinto shrine devoted to the gods of wealth, Ebisu and Daikoku.

Women were actually banned on the island until the late 19th century, but today, for both sexes, an overnight stay is ideal for those seeking tranquility. According to legend, if you pay a visit to the shrine once a year for three consecutive years, you will have no financial difficulties for the rest of your life.

Koganeyama Shrine (黄金山神社)

CLICK for more photos

This shrine is the reason most Japanese come here. The shrine originally dates to the 8th century, but the present buildings are much newer and not particularly noteworthy. On the other hand, legend has it that those who visit the shrine three years in a row will become rich.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Ths island is famous for its wild monkeys and

sika deer, Cervus nippon, on Kinkazan Island


shika tsunokiri 鹿角切り cutting the antlers of deer
May 12

Miyagi prefecture, Kinkazan (Kinkasan), shrine Koganeyama jinja

The purpose of the event is to cut off the deer's antlers. I'm not sure exactly why as nobody I asked seemed to know exactly. The best answer I got was so that it would soon be mating season and cutting the antlers prevents injuries to the male deer when they fight over females.

Basically a group of men (of varying ages) herd a number of deer into the arena, and then they close the gates. They wave long sticks at the deer herding them around and around the outside of the arena. As the deer run a number of the men throw some kind of rope trap device at the antlers.

If the rope catches on an antler they reel the deer in until a group of men swarm the deer (in this photo an over-eager man grabs the deer before the others arrive on the scene) and carry it to a mat (with pillow) and hold it down while the older man in Orange cuts off the Antlers. A young boy then parades the antlers before the crowd and then places them in a basket which is lifted out of the arena.

If the crowd wishes to purchase the antlers they can. However, they are quite expensive. They ranged in price from $100 - $300 dollars.
source :


Pilgrim's stamp book cover

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Kinkazan Tsunami on March 2011

A man had escaped high up at Kinkazan island 金華山 , situated before Ishinomaki town and Ojika Peninsula..
He kept taking photos of the tsunami as it came into the inlet, from both sides at once, clashing in the middle in front of his eyes.
Even tsunami-experts have never seen this kind of document before.
It looked like a scene from a biblical movie.

. Kinkazan Tsunami on March 2011 .  


Kinkazan in Gifu 岐阜金華山

Mt. Kinka

(金華山, Kinka-zan), also known as Kinkazan,
is located in the heart of the city of Gifu, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, and rises to a height of 329 m (1,079 ft). Previously called Mt. Inaba (稲葉山 Inabayama), it has long served as the representative symbol of Gifu. It stands along the Nagara River, creating bountiful nature within the city. Though it is the most famous mountain in the city, Mount Dodo, to the north, is the tallest.

First built by the Nikaidō family during the Kamakura period, Gifu Castle atop Mt. Kinka has gone through many forms, with the current building being constructed in 1956.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Related words

***** shika no tsunokiri 鹿の角切 (しかのつのきり)
cutting the horns of deer

kigo for late autumn

at Kasuga Shrine (春日大社, Kasuga-taisha) in Nara


Ishinomaki Kawabiraki 石巻川開き
"River Opening at Ishinomaki"

The Ishinomaki Kawabiraki Festival is held on August 1st and 2nd every year.
This festival celebrates Kawamura Magobei 川村孫兵衛 , a civil engineer and Samurai during the Edo Period, whose improvements to the Kitakami-gawa River helped Ishinomaki to develop and prosper.

On the first night of the two-day-festival there is a spectacular fireworks display; one of largest in northern Japan(, with about 15,000 separate rounds fired into the sky). During the festival there are many exciting events including the Magobeisen rowing race, and the Tairyo-odori dance parade, where Ishinomaki residents perform traditional, local dances in costume.
source :

Kawamura Magobei Shigeyoshi 川村重吉
(1575 - 1648)

The Ishinomaki Kawabiraki, or "River Opening" Festival, traditionally celebrates the city's prosperity.

3/11 victims mourned at Ishinomaki summer festival 2012

A century-old summer festival began in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, on Tuesday.
The participants are also mourning the victims of last year's March 11th disaster.
Since last year, the festival has also been held to pray for the repose of the March 11th victims and the city's reconstruction.

About 50 Buddhist monks gathered at the mouth of the Kyukitakami river to chant sutras and recite the names of Ishinomaki residents who have died or remain missing.
15,000 paper lanterns bearing the names of victims were floated in the river. People gathered along the banks and prayed silently.

A woman who lost her uncle in the disaster and whose aunt remains missing says she wonders if her aunt may return from nowhere.
She added that 16 months have passed, but she feels that nothing has changed.

Events will be held on Tuesday on the theme of reconstruction to wrap up the 2-day festival.They include a parade by drummers from elementary and junior high schools and a firework display.
source : NHK world news July 31, 2012


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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:

Things found on the way

Click for more images .

Amulets from Shiogama Shrine

hooyoke 方除守 protection in all directions

source :

. 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 -