Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Year. Show all posts


Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima

Sanki Daigongen 三鬼大権現 . see below

Itsukushima Shrine (Itsukushima Jinja)

***** Location: Miyajima, Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


CLICK for more photos


A Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima (popularly known as Miyajima 宮島) in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan.
The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto, Shinto deity of seas and storms and brother of the great sun deity, Amaterasu (tutelary deity of the Imperial Household). Because the island itself has been considered sacred, in order to maintain its purity commoners were not allowed to set foot on Miyajima through much of its history. In order to allow pilgrims to approach, the shrine was built like a pier over the water, so that it appeared to float, separate from the land, and therefore existed in a liminal state between the sacred and the profane.

The shrine's signature red entrance gate, or torii, was built over the water for much the same reason. Commoners had to steer their boats through the torii before approaching the shrine.

The first shrine buildings were probably erected in the 6th century, and the shrine has been destroyed many times, often by typhoons.
In 1168, Taira no Kiyomori 平清盛 had it rebuild.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

I visited many times, is is truely an amazing place.
The reflections of the shrine in the water on a bright evening or moonlit night are superb.

There are many shrines of this name in other parts of Japan.

source : facebook - Japan Dream


. The White Shrine Horse at Miyajima 宮島白馬   


kigo for the New Year

Itsukushima jinja no toshikoshi sai 厳島神社の年越祭
Crossing into the new year at Itsukushima shrine

January 6
One of the three great ceremonies at the shrine.

People involved in farming come to the shine to pray for a good harvest.
Ritual dance performance and later a feast and talks about farmwork and crop prices held.


Itsukushima no on yumi hajime
厳島の御弓始 (いつくしまのおんゆみはじめ)
first shooting with bow and arrow at Itsukushima

kisha 鬼射(きしゃ)"hitting the demon"

onyumi shinji 御弓神事(おんゆみしんじ)
honorable ceremony of the bow

On January 20

The target with the character 鬼, called the "demon target" 鬼的 and shot at with bow and arrow to prevent evil for the coming year.

Now held at the shrine Oomoto Jinja at Miyajima
宮島の大元神社 Omoto shrine ceremony
Oomotesai 大元祭.


Itsukushima Shrine New Year Ceremonies
Jan 1
御神衣献上式 Go Shin-i Kenjo-shiki Ceremony (offering new clothes to deities)
歳旦祭 Saitan-sai Festival Ceremony starts at noon. Bugaku traditional dance performance starts at 5:30am.
Jan 2
二日祭り Futsukasai Ceremony 09:00 Bugaku performance 13:00
Jan 3
元始祭 Genshisai Ceremony 09:00 Bugaku performance 13:00
Jan 5
地久祭 (Chikyuusai) Chikyusai Ceremony and Bugaku performance 05:30 Includes Batoh (Sunrise Dance) only performed once a year on this day.

source :

source : fb
cap for bugaku dance


kigo for late summer

Itsukushima matsuri 厳島祭 (いつくしままつり)
Itsukushima festival
Itsukushima kangensai 厳島管絃祭(いつくしまかんげんさい)
17th day of the sixth lunar month.
Now on the 17th day of July.

The main festival of the shrine.

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Special gozabune ships are made for the procession toward the gate in the water.

Bugaku dance performance and gagaku tradtional music are part of the festival.


kigo for early autumn

Itsukushima Ennen sai
Ennen Festival at Itsukushima

Ennen "life prolonging" dance performances are held at many shrines in Japan.

tamatori matsuri 玉取祭 (たまとりまつり)
"festival of grabbing the bead"

On the 14th day of the seventh lunar month, now in mid-August on a Sunday of high tide.
On a boat in front of the main hall is a boat with a large rosary and young men of the island try to grab a bead of about 20 cm diameter for good luck.

clay bell replica of the TAMA bead


kigo for early winter

Itsukushima chinza sai
厳島鎮座祭 (いつくしまちんざさい)
Shrine dedication festival
oshimeshi, o shime shi 御燈消(おしめし)"turning off the lights"

yamaguchi toji no matsuri 山口閉の祭(やまぐちとじのまつり)
"closing down mountain roads" festival
After the shrine is closed down for the winter, it will be re-opened the next year for "openening the mountain road" 山口開. Loggers are not allowed to go to the forest and cut down trees during the closed time.

On the ten days from the first day of the wild boar in the tenth lunar month to the day of the monkey in the eleventh lunar month.
Nowadays on the first day of the monkey in November.

During these 10 days it is not allowed to make a loud noise on the island.
Things that produce lound and high noises are covered with blankets to keep them quiet. The lids of rice cookers had to be closed especially carefully.
On the last day, the day of the monkey, all lanterns and lights on the island are turned off and rituals are carried out in the dark.


Miyajima in the snow

夏の月 Summer Moon at Miyajima
- reference : Tsuchiya Koitsu  土屋光逸 (1870-1949) -


Sato Masato writes:
Due to belief in the "Three Female Kami" (sanjoshin) of Munakata at Itsukushima Jinja, the Itsukushima kami was worshipped as a protector of fishermen and boats.
Itsukushima is also known as a "military kami" (gunshin), as seen in this passage from the Ryōjin hishō:
"To the west of the [Ōsaka] checkpoint (seki) is the kami of the battlefield, Ichibon Chūsan (Kibitsu Shrine) and Itsukushima in Aki ..."
After becoming governor of Aki (Aki no kami 安芸守) in 1146, Taira no Kiyomori (1118~1181) often visited the shrine. Upon Kiyomori's recommendation, Goshirakawa-in and Kenshunmon-in visited the shrine in the third month of 1174, and Takakura Jōkō visited twice.

At the end of the Heian Period Itsukushima was worshipped by the entire Heike clan, and in 1168 the shrine's shaden structure was restored and expanded. This connection to the Heike clan may have originated in the trade and shipping in the Inland Sea that had flourished since the days of Taira no Tadamori (Kiyomori's father).

Due to Heike devotion, the Heike Nōkyō scrolls 平家納経 (a National Treasure) were originally donated to the shrine in 1164. In the medieval period Itsukushima was supported by the Ōuchi and Mōri clans, and the Shingon temple Suishōji 水精寺 became the shrine's administrative temple.

Also a legend began that Kūkai founded (kaisan) the temple Misen. The "original Buddhist deity" (honji) of Itsukushima was believed to be the Eleven-faced Kannon (Ekadasamukha Avalokitesvara) or Mahâvairocana.
Among commoners, a cult of Ebisu-gami developed, and Itsukushima was also worshipped by fishermen and merchants.
source : Kokugakuin University. 2006

. Shrine Munakata Taisha 宗像大社 .


The Deer are seen as messengers of the deity of Miyajima and roam freely, sometimes as a nuisance for the tourists.

Legend knows that when Mori Motonari and Sue Harukata fought their battle in 1555, Harukata had his troops near the shrine, while Motonari landed on the other side of the island, trying to get over the mountains and through the dense wild forest to make a surprize attack.
His troups almost lost their way in the dark night, but then a deer showed them the small path.
(The deer was MAYBE the priest of the shrine, disguised as a deer, trying to help his friend and sponsor Motonari.)

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Miyajima hariko 宮島張子 papermachee dolls

CLICK for more images !

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .


Anagomeshi あなごめし Rice with eel

Station lunchbox from Miyajima
The great rice paddle shamoji in Miyajima 宮島しゃもじ

The island is also famous for its red maple leaves in autumn.

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. momiji manjuu もみじ饅頭
rice dumplings in the form of red maple leaves


Festivals calendar at Miyajima

Most rituals are accompanied by bugaku dance on the stage above the water.

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. . . . . January
Shin-i Kenjo-shiki Ceremony (offering new clothes to deities)Saitan-sai Festival

. . . . . February
Setsubun Festival
Miyajima Oyster Festival

. . . . . March
Memorial Service for Kitchen Knives
Kiyomori Shrine Festival
Miyajima Hina Doll Presentation

. . . . . April
Hiwatari . Walking Over Fire Ceremony
Satsuki Festival

. . . . . May
Memorial Service for Empress Suiko

. . . . . June
Japan's Ancient Martial Arts Performance
Kobo Daishi's Birthday Celebration
Great Benzaiten Festival of Itsukushima
(Daiganji Temple)
. Itsukushima Hime 厳島姫命
as Benten, Benzaiten 弁財天

. . . . . July
Seven Gods of Fortune Festival (Daishoin Temple)
Itsukushima Shrine Kangen Festival

. . . . . August
48,000-day Kannon Festival
Miyajima Floating Fireworks Festival
Kinseki Jizo - son Festival (Tokujuji Temple)

. . . . . September
Tanomosan (small boats filled with dolls and fruit that are set adrift from Itsukushima Shrine to sail toward the Otorii Gate.)
Mantoo-e . candle light memorial

. . . . . October
Akiyo Tomoeda Noh Performance
Sanno Shrine Festival
Tea Dedication Ceremony, Omote Senke

. . . . . November
Fudo Myo-o Festival, including
Walking Over Fire Ceremony (Daiganji Temple)
Maple Festival . Momiji Matsuri

. . . . . December
Chinka-sai (Festival for prevention of fire disaster)


Matsuo Basho wrote (Nozarashi Kiko)

年暮れぬ 笠きて草鞋はきながら
. toshi kurenu kasa kite waraji hakinagara .

wearing my travelers hat
and my straw sandals
the year comes to an end

(Other sources place this haiku in 1684,
when he returned to his home village in Iga Ueno.)

source : 宮島かわら版


yuku haru ya kyoo osame ni to Itsukushima

spring is passing -
I bring copied sutras
to Itsukushima

Natsume Soseki 夏目漱石

Heike Nokyo 平家納経
The famous sutras copied by the Heike

CLICK for more photos

Related words

***** WKD : Copying sutras (shakyoo)

. Hiroshima Prefecture Festivals  

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. Tengupedia - 天狗ペディア - Tengu ABC-List.

Sankiboo 三鬼坊 Sankibo, Sanki-Bo
厳島三鬼坊 Itsukushima

Sanki Daigongen 三鬼大権現
The local people call them 三鬼さん Sanki San.
Sanki Daigongen are three fierce guardian gods of 弥山 Mount Misen.

- 追帳鬼神 Tsuicho Kishin :福徳 Good Fortune - 大日如来 Dainichi Nyorai
- 時眉鬼神 Jibi Kishin:知恵 Wisdom - 虚空蔵菩薩 Kokuzo Bosatsu
- 魔羅鬼神 Mara Kijin :降伏 Surrender - 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O

- - - - - Amulet bell of Sanki-Bo

With the separation of Buddhism and Shinto during the Meiji period, they were moved to the 三鬼堂 Sankido Hall from their shrine 御山神社 Miyama Jinja.

source : amakara tosan
- 徳、智恵、降伏 -

大小の天狗 Big and small Tengu, long-nosed goblins, are their servants. Many people visit here to pray for the happiness of their family and the success of their business.
The first Prime Minister of Japan, 伊藤博文 Ito Hirobumi is said to have been an earnest devotee. He contributed a large amount to construct the climbing path.
A special hall is dedicated to this deities:
Sankodoo 三鬼堂 Sankido





Atago Shrines

. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .

Atago Shrines in Japan

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


Mount Atago Yama 愛宕山 / 阿多古 is a mountain of about 920 meters in the North-West of Kyoto. It is the location of a shrine and temple in this name.
Atago shrine in Kyoto is the most important one.

There are various mountains, shrines and temples of this name in other parts of Japan, many in Western Japan.

The Atago shrine in Itami, Hyogo, is especially related to Haiku.

Atago Gongen (愛宕権現) is a Japanese kami believed to be the local avatar (Gongen) of Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo Bosatsu.
The cult originated in Shugendō practices on Mount Atago in Kyoto, and Atago Gongen is worshiped as a protector against fire.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Jizoo Gongen 地蔵権現 Jizo Gongen .
from Okayama


. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .


Atago Jinja 愛宕神社  Atago shrines

This one is a Shinto shrine on Mount Atago, Kameoka, to the northwest of Kyoto.
Enshrined is Atago Gongen who protects Kyoto from fire.
Shugendō practices and a place for worship are known from the eighth century.The late-Kamakura period Honden has been designated an Important Cultural Property.

Atago Jinja is the head of nine hundred Atago shrines throughout Japan.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

The mountain is the first to receive the morning sun in Kyoto.


As a shrine dedicated to the deity of fire,
they sell amulets for fire prevention and protection:

hi no yoojin 火迺要慎 "beware of fire"

These amulets are placed in the kitchen and can be found in most homes and kitchens in Kyoto.

The white wild boar 白猪 (shirai, shira-i) is a messenger of the fire deity.
It is celebrated on the forth day of the second month.

More photos and amulets on the Japanese HP of the shrine:
source :


Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀

In the year 1582 in May, shortly before his coup against Oda Nobunaga, his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀 spent some time at this shrine. He was with a group composing renku, linked verse. The first poem was by Mitsuhide, the second one by a priest from temple Itokuin, Gyooyuu Hooin 行祐法印, the third by the master renku poet Satomura Jooha 里村紹巴 (1525 - 1602).
There were altogether 9 people, composing 100 verse, called the
100 verses from Atago 愛宕百韻 Atago Hyakuin.
The paper with all the verses was offered to the deities in respect.

Here is the famous first poem by Mitsuhide

toki wa ima ame ga shitashiru satsuki kana

the time is now
rain falls now
in the fifth lunar month

(This can be read as a pun:
土岐は今 天が下治る 皐月かな
Toki is the name of the family of Mitsuhide. The meaning could be
"Toki shall now rule the realm under the sky."

Reference : akechi

. badarai no mitsuhide 馬盥の光秀 .
a famous Kabuki play
- - - badarai, umadarai 馬盥 basin for washing a horse

More about the coup of Mitsuhide at Honnoji
. Wikipedia .


In temple Saikyo-ji 西教寺, there are many tombstones for Akechi Clan people and a monument of a haiku of Matsuo Basho. When Basho stayed in the house of his desciple Yûgen, Basho was well taken care of by Yûgen and by his wife, although Yûgen was very poor and it was very diffucult for him to afford to entertain Basho with descent foods and sake.
Basho recalled the episode of the wife of Akechi Mitsuhide, who sold her hair to buy foods to host a Renga (poetry) party, when they were very poor and were at a loss to entertain people decently with foods.
In gratitude to the kindness of Yûgen's wife, Basho sent the following haiku poem to Yûgen.

月さびよ 明智が妻の咄せむ
tsuki sabiyo Akechi ga tsuma no hanashi sen

Be somber, Moon,
as I will tell you the story
of Akechi's wife

Akechi Mitsuhide ( 1528-1582 ) was a powerful warlord and had a splendid castle that stood in Sakamoto at the foot of Mr. Hiei on the coast of Lake Biwa-ko. He was, however, very poor when he was young.

He attacked his master Oda Nobunaga at the Honnô-ji Temple in 1582, and virtually killed him. He was attacked in return by Hideyoshi. Defeated, and in his way to come back to his, he was killed.

His glorious career ended sadly. The story of Aklechi and his wife in the end was sad and Basho asked the moon to be somber and not be joyfull for the sad story.
source : Sasaki

moon, be lonely -
I want to tell of
Akechi's wife

Tr. Barnhill

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


愛宕神社 Atago shrine in Tokyo
東京都港区愛宕 1-5-3 / Minato ward, Shiba, Atago

It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 to prevent fires in the city. The shrine is on a small mountain of only 26 meters hight, but it could overlook most of the new Edo city and thus help prevent fires.
The very steep stairs leading to the shrine are also famous, as they represent success in life.
According to legend,
a young samurai, 曲垣平九郎 Magaki Heikuro, dared to ride his horse up the stairs to deliver plum blossoms to the shogun Iemitsu. It took his horse only one minute to get up, but 45 minutes to get down, and the horse was totally exhausted afterwards. The samurai got a great reward and was promoted to a high rank.
. shusse no ishidan 出世の石段 staircase to a good career .

The main deity is
Homusubi no mikoto 火産霊命 / カグツチ / 軻遇突智 Kagutsuchi Deity of Fire
. . . and
Mizuhanome no mikoto 罔象女命(水の神) Deity of Water
Ooyamazumi no mikoto 大山祇命(山の神) Deity of Mountain
Yamato Takeru 日本武尊(武徳の神)Deity of the Samurai
More in the Wikipedia

. Hagoita 羽子板 Battledore, Shuttlecock .
from Atago Shrine, with the zodiac animal for every year

. Kagutsuchi カグツチ /
軻遇突智 Kagu-tsuchi - "incarnation of fire" .

- Homusubi no Mikoto 火産霊命

芝愛宕山 Shiba Atagoyama

Atagoyama 愛宕山 is a district in Tokyo, Minato ward, Shiba

. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .

. Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水 (1883 - 1957) .

haru n Atagoyama 春のあたご山 Atagoyama in the Spring
東京十二題 12 Scenes of Tokyo


Akibagongen 秋葉権現 and Izuna Atago
Since Akiba Gongen is also believed to have originated in the Mt. Izuna and Togakushi area, the two deities are obviously closely related. Since the Buddhist counterpart (honji or "original essence"; see honji suijaku) of Izuna Gongen is said to be the bodhisattva Jizō (Sk. Ksitigarbha), the cult displays a mutual influence with the Atago cult (which involved an amalgamation with Shōgun Jizō or "Jizō of victory").
As a result, the deities are often referred to by the conjoined name Izuna-Atago.

. Izuna Gongen, Iizuna no Gongen 飯網の権現 .

. Amulet to win a battle - Shogun Jizo .


Kankosai 還幸祭 Festival of Welcoming the Gods

Saga Matsuri 嵯峨祭 Shrine Nonomiya Jinja 野宮神社,
Atago Jinja, Kyoto 愛宕神社(京都市右京区)
Fourth Sunday in May

. Naked Festivals of Japan .

Akutai Matsuri "cursing festival"

Kasama Town, Atago Jinja

. Kisai 奇祭 special festivals .


Hatsu Atago 初愛宕 (はつあたご) First visit to Atago
kigo for the New Year

Ceremony at Atago, Atago no shinji
Messenger from Atago, Atago no tsukai
. . . o-koto no tsukai お事の使(おことのつかい)

The details are here:
. Bishamonten and Atago .


Atago no sennichi moode 愛宕の千日詣
1000 days pilgrimage at Atago

kigo for late summer

The official name is
sennichi tsuuyasai 千日通夜祭 "1000 days in one night".
It lasts from the night of July 21 to the early morning of August 8. People who visit during this time will be protected from fire for 1000 days.
The climb up to the mountain shrine is about 4 km long and lit by torches during the night.
Special buses and trains are run during the night to bring all the visitors.

at 9 in the evening of July 31
yuumikesai 夕御饌祭 "dinner for the deities"
the yamabushi make a purifying bonfire (gomataki ゴマ焚き神事)

at 2 in the morning of August 1
asamikesai 朝御饌祭 "breakfast for the deities"
Dance of the head priest, rituals to appease the fire

Look at some more photos from the shrine:
source : sentimairi4.htm

. WKD : Summer Ceremonies .


Atagobi 愛宕火 (あたごび ) "fire at Atago"

kigo for early autumn

This relates to the Atago shrine at Itami.
On the 24th of the seventh lunar month people put up lanterns and lit candles in rituals for the souls of the departed ancestors during O-Bon. Big torches were also carried around and thrown into the fire.
In the region o Setzu (now Hyogo and Northern Osaka) there were many Atago shrines.
At the Atago mountain in Kyoto it was a custom to throw simple clay dishes (kawarake) from the mountain to make a wish come true. The haiku is a combination of the two events.

Thrown from the 25th station on the way up

Atagobi no kawarake-nage ya Itamizaka

and the dish-throwing ritual -
Itami slope

. Ihara Saikaku, Ibara Saikaku 井原西鶴 .

source :

. . . CLICK here for Photos of dish-throwing !

Throwing hooroku plates from temple Mibudera
. Hooroku Jizo ほうろく地蔵 .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

goma seihai 護摩聖灰 sacred ashes from a Goma fire ritual
. Fukagawa Fudo Do (Fudoo Doo) 深川不動堂 .
Amulets are hung up at the ceiling of the home to prevent fire.

. Musaigai 無災害お守り amulets against fire .

達磨 越谷だるま
. hi no yoojin 火の用心 take care of fire - Daruma .


aki fukaku tomo to noborishi Atagoyama  

autumn deepens -
with a friend I climb up to
Mount Atago

Antoo 安東

. . . . .

枯れ梢 愛宕の山は 下紅葉    
Morikawa 森川

Antoo 安東

Kiyomizu 清水

Tokunaga 徳永

source : kunistok


tonboo no hyakudo mairi ya Atago yama

the dragonfly
on a one-hundred prayers circuit -
Mount Atago

Kubota Toen 久保田兎園
(1722 - 1801)

46 of his haiku are mistakenly attributed to Kobayashi Issa.
source : 久保田兎園 wiki

. Kubota Seifu 久保田成布 .

. "100 prayers circuit" 百度参り hyakudo mairi .

Related words

***** . Fire (kaji 火事) .

***** . Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .



Kamo Shrines Kyoto


Festivals at the Kamo Shrine complex

***** Location: Kyoto
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


Miyako Meisho Zue 都名所図会,
vol. 6 巻之六 後玄武再刻, 上加茂社 (上賀茂神社)

The Kamo Shrine complex:
Shimogamo Shrine 下鴨神社 and
Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社 are both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are two of the most important shrines in Kyoto.
They are two of the oldest shrines in Japan.

CLICK for more photos

Kamo Shrine (賀茂神社, Kamo-jinja)
is a general term for an important Shinto sanctuary complex on both banks of the Kamo River in northeast Kyoto. It is centered on two shrines.
The two shrines, an upper and a lower, lie in a corner of the old capital which was known as the "devil's gate" (鬼門, kimon) due to traditional geomancy beliefs that the north-east corner brought misfortune. Because the Kamo River runs from the north-east direction into the city, the two shrines along the river were intended to prevent demons from entering the city.

Kamo-wakeikazuchi Shrine
賀茂別雷神社, Kamo-wakeikazuchi jinja)

(賀茂御祖神社, Kamo-mioya jinja)

The Kamo Shrine is so named because its rituals and festivals are designed to assist in the veneration of the Kamo family of kami and other associated deities; and Kamo kami (kami-no-Kamo) is referenced in other Shinto contexts. In the "Congratulatory Words of the Chieftain of Izumo," the "sacred grove of Kamo" is mentioned along with other wooded Shinto sanctuaries at Ō-miwa, Unade and Asuka:

Then, Ō-namochi-no-mikoto said:
"The Sovereign Grandhild will dwell peacefully
in the land of Yamato."
Thus saying, he attached his peaceful spirit
To a mirror of large dimensions,
Eulogizing it by the name
And had it dwell in the sacred grove of Ō-miwa.

He caused the spirit of his son
To dwell in the sacred grove of Kamo in Kaduraki;
Caused the spirit of Koto-shiro-nushi-no-mikoto
To dwell in Unade;
And caused the spirit of Kayanarumi-no-mikoto
To dwell in the sacred grove of Asuka.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社, Kamigamo Jinja)
Upper Kamo Shrine
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

source : Kamigamo Shrine HP

Shimogamo Shrine, Shimogamo Jinja (下鴨神社 / 下賀茂神社)
Lower Kamo Shrine (sometimes written with the Chinese character for duck.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

sazare ishi さざれ石 boulder grown from pebbles

"Kimigayo" (君が代) is the national anthem of post-1868 Japan.

君が代は 千代に八千代に さざれ石の

Kimigayo wa
Chiyo ni yachiyo ni
Sazare-ishi no
Iwao to narite
Koke no musu made

May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations,
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders
Lush with moss

Thousands of years of happy reign be thine;
Rule on, my lord, till what are pebbles now
By ages united to mighty rocks shall grow
Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.
Tr. Basil Hall Chamberlain

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

There are various sazare-ishi in Japan.
The one for the Kimigayo is most probably referring to 岐阜県揖斐川町春日, now a park with the stone さざれ石公園.


According to the system of Shikinen Sengu, all shrines in the Shimogamo complex are meant to be rebuilt every 21 years. The purpose of this physical reconstruction is spiritual renewal.
Tadasu no mori, this lush, green forest is a hallmark of Shimogamo shrine.
source : Shimogamo Shrine HP

The name also refers to the ambit of shrine's nearby woods, which are vestiges of the primeval forest of
Tadasu no Mori 糺の森(ただすのもり、糺ノ森.

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Tadasu No Mori
which literally means "Forest of Correction," is a sacred grove associated with an important Shinto sanctuary complex known in Japanese as the Kamo-jinja, situated near the banks of the Kamo River just north of where the Takano River joins the Kamo River in northeast Kyoto city, Japan. The term Kamo-jinja in Japanese is a general reference to Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, the traditionally linked Kamo shrines of Kyoto. The Kamo-jinja serve the function of protecting Kyoto from malign influences.

The ambit of today's forest encompasses approximately 12.4 hectares, which are preserved as a national historical site . It is today the last remnant of a primeval forest which is reputed to have never been burned down. The forest has, in fact, suffered some damage over the centuries when all of Kyoto was burned during successive revolts and wars but the forest growth has rebounded again and again. The forest is left to grow in its natural state. It is neither planted nor pruned.

The forest in ancient times comprised approximately 4,950,000 square meters of virgin forest. Due to wars during the Middle Ages and a supreme edict in the 4th year of the Meiji era, it was reduced to its present area of approximately 124,000 square meters.

The wooded area that is called by the name Tadasu-no-mori today lies on the grounds of Shimogamo Shrine, one of the seventeen historical sites in and around Kyoto which in 1994 were designated by UNESCO as Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
source :

hotarubi no chakai 蛍火の茶会 tea ceremony and fireflies
in June

There are performances of court and other traditional music with ritual dancing, a demonstration of kimonos in 12 layers (juuni-e), tea ceremony and then fireflies are released to freedom. (This is a good deed said to improve one's karma in the next world.)
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Busha Shinji (歩射神事, archery ritual) at Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社).
The arrow will overleap the huge gate at the left side

- Shared by Taisaku Nogi -
Joys of Japan, 2012

Busha Shinji
Shrine priests use bows and arrows to ward off evil spirits. Other arrow shooting rituals are also held.
source :

text by 千玄室
source :

Kamo Wake Ikazuchi Jinja
賀茂別雷神社 (かもわけいかづちじんじゃ) 
source :


yakuyoke no omamori 厄除けの御守り amulet to ward off evil

. . . CLICK here for amulet Photos !

. Yakuyoke - Amulets to ward off evil .


kigo for early summer

賀茂の競べ馬 - Miyako Meisho Zue 都名所図会,

kurabeuma, kurabe uma 競べ馬 horse race

. Kamo keiba 賀茂競馬(かもけいば)
horse race at Kamo shrine

"The Ritual of the Racehorses"
kurabeuma, kurabe uma 競べ馬 (くらべうま) horse race
kisoi uma きそい馬(きそいうま)
koi uma きおい馬(きおいうま)
muda hashiri 空走り(むだはしり)"free run"
kachiuma 勝馬(かちうま)winning horse
makeuma 負馬(まけうま)loosing horse
hashiri uma 走り馬(はしりうま)running horse
ashizoroe 足揃(あしぞろえ) "getting the legs together"
May 5

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. Aoi Matsuri 葵祭 Aoi Festival
May 15
Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrine in Kyoto
..... Kamo no matsuri 賀茂祭(かものまつり)

source : Kamo-sai (Aoi-matsuri)

Kamo Mikage Matsuri
賀茂御蔭祭 (かもみかげまつり)
"honorable shadow festival" mikage matsuri

mi-aregi 御生木(みあれぎ)
shibakiri shinji 芝切神事(しばきりしんじ)
"Lawn Cutting Ceremony"
May 15
(during the Aoi Matsuri Festival)

. . . . .

kigo for late summer

. Shimogamo no misogi
下賀茂の御祓 (しもがものみそぎ)
Shimogamo purification rituals

visiting for the Mitarashi festival, mitarashi moode
御手洗詣 みたらしもうで
Tadasu no suzumi 糺の納涼(ただすのすずみ)
coolness of the Tadasu forest
mitarashi dango 御手洗団子(みたらしだんご)
rice dumplings
June 30

Maybe related to Christian baptism rituals?

. The Hata Clan 秦氏 Hata Uji .
and the Christian connection


kigo for early autumn

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. yatori shinji 矢取り神事
Shimogamo Shrine Arrow Ceremony

Beginning of August


kigo for the New Year

. hatsumari 初鞠 first kick-ball bame
..... kemari hajime 蹴鞠初め

January 4 at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto. 

. . . . .

Kamigamo Nentoosai
上賀茂燃燈祭 (かみがもねんとうさい)
"Lantern Festival at Kamigamo"
hatsune no tamabooki
"precious broom on the first day of the rat"

A broom (brush) used to clean the silkworm room for the first time on the first day of the rat. The broom was made of Chinese lespedeza, Lespedeza cuneata (medohagi蓍萩) and first pine seedlings.

source : unokanda

. Pulling Pine Seedlings (komatsu hiki)

. . . . .

Kamigamo otana kazari
上賀茂御棚飾 (かみがもおたなかざり)
shelf decorations at Kamigamo shrine

January 14
This ritual dates back to the Heian period.

After making donations to the four districts, they were divided into six districts.
On this day, offerings from the six districts were made.
Lately on one shelf offerings of fish, foul, rice and other food items are made and ritual music is played.


Karasu-zumo "Crow Sumo (wresling celemony)"
karasu sumoo
September 9, Kamigamo Shrine

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In this very unusual ritual, shrine officials imitate the voice of crows and their manner of jumping to the side, then children perfom sumo for the entertainment of the Kami. It has been designated by the city of Kyoto as an "Intangible Cultural Property".
source :

. . . . .

More festivals at Shimogamo Shrine

New Year's Festivities
Kinensai Matsuri (Toshigoi Matsuri)
Mitarashi Matsuri
Meigetsu Kangen Sai
Ohitaki Sai
Yakushu Wakamizu shinji “medicine wine, young water.”
source :


Dragon Ema for 2012

Shared by Promenade in Kyoto
Joys of Japan

. Dragon Ema votive tablets - 2012 .

. The Dragon Art Gallery .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. "Kamo Dolls (kamo ningyo 加茂人形)
Willow Dolls (yanagi ningyo 柳人形)

. Kannabi 神奈備 "purified place"


goza o hake koyoi hatsune no tamabooki

cleaning the mats
tonight with a precious broom
on the first day of the rat

In the Haiku Collection Enoko Shuu 犬子集(1633)

Enokoshu, part of the Shoki Haikai Shu 初期俳諧集
17 maki in 5 volumes



Twilight stroll
Old couple and a grandson
Along Kamo river

Esho Shimazu
Joys of Japan, February 2012

Related words

***** . Kyoto (Hana no Miyako)  

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