Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts


Hiyoshi Shrine Festivals


Hiyoshi Shrine Festivals

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


Hiyoshi Shrine (日吉大社 Hiyoshi taisha),
also known as Hiyoshi jinja (日吉神社) or Hie jinja,
is a Shinto shrine located at 大津 Ōtsu in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

The shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers were sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines; and in 991, Emperor Ichijō added three more shrines to Murakami's list. Three years later in 994, Ichijō refined the scope of that composite list by adding Umenomiya Shrine and Gion Shrine, which is now known as Yasaka Jinja.

In 1039, Emperor Go-Suzaku ordered that one more shrine be added to the grouping created by Murakami and Ichijō -- the Hie jinja. This unique number of Imperial-designated shrines has not been altered since that time.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Sanno, the "Mountain King"
A branch of Shinto that took shape in the Tendai sect, based on the cult of the Mountain King (Sannō) at the Hiyoshi Taisha (alt., Hie Taisha), tutelary shrine (chinjusha) for the temple Enryakuji. Its early modern doctrines that concern the shrine Tōshōgū are specially distinguished as Ichijitsu Shintō, the "Shinto of the Single Reality." The original Hie deity was the mountain kami on Mt. Hiei; interaction between it and the Tendai sect began with Saichō's founding of the Enryakuji.
The appellation "Mountain King" follows a general Buddhist practice of designating mountain deities as such ...
source : Sato Masato, Kokugakuin


kigo for late spring

Sannoo matsuri 山王祭 (さんのうまつり) Sanno Festival

Sanno sai, San-O Festival

Hiyoshi matsuri 日吉祭(ひよしまつり) Hiyoshi festival

sakaki giri 榊伐(さかきぎり)cutting sakaki branches

sarumatsuri 申祭(さるまつり)monkey festival
saru no jinku 猿の神供(さるのじんく)ritual for the monkey

uma no shinji 午の神事(うまのしんじ) ritual for the horse
hitsuji no goku 未の御供(ひつじのごく)ritual for the sheep

April 14
At the Grand Hie (Hiyoshi) Shrine at Otsu

It used to be on the middle day of the monkey (naka no saru 中の申) of the Asian lunar calendar, therefore it is also called "Monkey Festival".
It dates back to 1303.
The cutting of sacred sakaki branches happens on April 3.
On the "day of the horse" the mikoshi were carried to the mountain top at midnight.
An the 12th the mikoshi are pulled out in a nightly procession illuminated with large pine torches and on the main day 7 large mikoshi parade the streets.

. WKD : Sakaki tree (sakaki 榊) .


There are three major festivals in Otsu:

Sanno Festival - April 12-15
Senko Festival - August 16
Otsu Festival - October 9-10


. Hie Shrine Festival (Hie Jinja Sairei 日枝神社祭礼)
Sannoo matsuri 山王祭(さんのうまつり)Sanno festival
In Edo/Tokyo
kigo for mid-summer

The Hie Jinja Shrine (Tokyo) is dedicated to Sanno Gongen (山王権現), which translates literally as "Mountain King Avatar" of Sannoo, the deity who dwells on Mt. Hiei between Kyoto and Lake Biwa.

Monkeys are patrons of harmonious marriage and safe childbirth at some of the 3,800 Hie Jinja shrines in Japan. ... The monkey is Sannou's Shinto messenger (tsukai 使い) and Buddhist avatar (gongen 権現).
Sarugami is the Shinto deity to whom the three monkeys (hear, speak, see no evil) are reportedly faithful.
source : Mark Schumacher


Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine [山王総本宮日吉大社]
Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine is the head shrine of approximately 3,800 Hiyoshi, Hie and Sanno shrines throughout Japan.

The history of Hiyoshi Taisha is long. It is recorded in "Kojiki," the oldest historiography in Japan written in 712. Its vast premises (about 430,000 m2) of this shrine are laid at the foot of Mt. Hachioji, east side of Mt. Hiei.
The shrine is comprised of two zones, Higashi Hongu (West main shrine) and Nishi Hongu (East main shrine), with many smaller shrines in the area.

In the Muromachi Period, the heyday of Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine, 108 shrines were located on its grounds and another 108 shrines outside the shrine premises.

Among many shrine buildings, main halls of Higashi Hongu (West main shrine) and Nishi Hongu (East main shrine) are designated as national treasures. Also, many structures of this shrine are recognized as important cultural assets of Japan including worship halls of the both Higashi Hongu and Nishi Hongu, Nishi Hongu Ro-mon Gate, the red two-storied gate with the carving of a monkey, and Sanno-torii Gate.

Spectacular shrine pavilions of architectural beauty, which were built in the Muromachi Period and the beginning of Edo Period, are scattered in the deep forest Mt. Hachioji and along the torrents of the Omiya River. The beauty of the autumn leaves in Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine is renowned. The premises are illuminated at night during the autumn season. In springtime many kinds of cherry blossoms fill the prefectural road from Keihan Railway Sakamoto Station to the entrance of Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine.
Also, Sanno Festival, the festival of Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine, is held in spring every year.
source :

- quote
(Now there are 21 shrines in the compound
- one of them is dedicated to Fudo Myo-O
- shrine name - 早尾神社 Hayao Jinja
- Deity in residence - 素盞嗚神 - Susanoo no Mikoto
Old naming 早尾 -- 不動明王
- source :

This is a namikiri Fudo 波切不動明王.
- no photo fount yet -

There is also a
Yamakami Fudo Son 山上不動尊

in the compound, where a large sugi cedar with a shimenawa is celebrated.

Every month on the 28 fire rituals for Fudo Myo-O are held.
source :

. Fudō Myō-ō, Fudoo Myoo-Oo 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
Acala Vidyârâja - Vidyaraja - Fudo Myoo .


Sannō Shinkō - Sanno Shinko
The cult that began at Hiyoshi Taisha (Hiesha) at the foot of Mount Hiei. Originally, Sannō was the "mountain kami" (yama no kami) of Mount Hiei, but came to be worshipped as the protective kami of the Tendai (Chi. T'ient'ai) sect and of the temple Enryakuji. After the mid-Heian Period, when the temple Enryakuji developed as a kenmon (central land-owning institution) temple complex, imperial court devotion to Hiesha increased.

Courts such as that of Enyū emperor (reigned 969 ~ 984) conducted occasional festivals there and finally recognized Hieisha as one of the "Twenty-two Shrines" (nijūnisha). Moreover, from the end of the Heian Period through the medieval period, Hieisha became as popular as "Kumano's Three Peaks" (Kumano sanzan) as a pilgrimage site (sankei) among everyone from emperors and retired emperors to aristocrats and commoners.

At the beginning of the medieval period, along with the popularity of belief in "child deities" (dōji) and "offspring shrines" (wakamiya), the popularity of Jūzenji shrine (currently called Jugegū – one of Sannō's seven main shrines) surpassed that of Hieisha's Ōmiya shrine in which Hiesha's principle "enshrined kami" (saijin) is worshipped.

As the protective deity of Tendai temples and of Enryakuji or Hiesha's land holdings, Sannō "emanations" became worshipped (bunshi) throughout Japan resulting in the further spread of the cult of Sannō.

Because Hiesha is located to the northeast of Kyōto, it became regarded as a guardian against the evil spirits entering the capital from "demon gate" (kimono) northeastern direction, and as a result sacred images (shinzō) of divine monkeys believed to be Sannō's "divine messengers" (shinshi) were enshrined in the northeastern corner of the Heian imperial palace.
source : Sato Masato
Kokugakuin University 2007


Numazu Hie-jinja 沼津 日枝神社 Hie Shrine in Numazu
Hie Shrine in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, had been the head guardian shrine of 22 villages in the area before the Meiji period (1868-1912). The enshrined deities are Ooyamakui no Kami The guardian god of Mt. Hiei), Oomunachi no Kami and Ootoshigami. It is said that the shrine was founded by Fujiwara no Moromichi’s mother in 1100 in the clan’s manor, which was called “Ooka-sho” at that time.

Fujiwara no Moromichi was a head of the Fujiwara clan and served as Kampaku and Udaijin. Having come into colligion with the Tendai monks in Mt. Hiei, he ordered to attack them in 1095. As some monks were wounded in the battle and this aroused anger of the monks, he was placed a curse and died young in 1099. Thus his mother transferred the three dieties of Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Mt. Hiei to appease the anger of the deities of Mt. Hiei.

Traditionally, the school of Shinto which believes in the guardian deity of Mt. Hiei is called the Sanno (the King of Mountain) Shinto; hereby this shrine is also called “Sanno-sha”. The annual festival held for two days from September 23 every year is popularly called “Sanno-san” by the local people and enjoyed as the representative event of the city that tells of the coming of autumn.

The shrine is also famous for the collection of important old documents including Sanno Reikenki in Shihon-Chakushoku style (paper-based colored), which is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.
In the precinct is a stone monument inscribed with a poem by Matsuo Basho.
source :

miyako idete kami mo tabine no hikazu kana

I left the capital
and shared many nights on the road
with the gods

Matsuo Basho, 1691

Basho had left Kyoto late in the 10th lunar month and arrived in Numazu on his way to Edo early in the 11th lunar month, just when the gods are absentin Izumo and might have been on their way home too.

. WKD : Gods are absent (kami no rusu) .

. Numazu-juku 沼津宿 Numazu postal station .

MORE - hokku about Kyoto
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine
(住吉大社, Sumiyoshi-taisha)

The shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers were sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines including the Sumiyoshi Shrine.


Monkey Amulet from Hiyoshi Shrine

Click for more images!

saru monkey - a pun on the sound of SARU

ma ga saru 魔が去る evil is leaving
ma saru 魔去る evil is leaving
masaru 勝る winning

神猿 Masaru


O-Saru Sama お猿様 Honoarble Mister Monkey

Monkey amulets from shrine Hagi Hiyoshi Jinja in Saitama.

They are simple wooden dolls with simple monkey faces.
The wood is taken from the trees in the temple ground, a kind of willow, doro no ki 泥の木/白楊 (doro yanagi).
People used to stick one needle into the monkey, at the part they were acheing themselves, or when the children got a stomach ache or other complaint, and hoped for the deity to cure their disease. (byooki sa saru - may the disease go away). They put the monkey on their shelf for the gods and prayed to it.
The monkey would then take on the disease and heal it, as a kind of migawari, personal substitute .

When the person gets better people would bring the monkey back in an act of gratitude (osame no saru 納めの猿).

They are sold on the special market during the festival on the third sunday in January.
At this shrine, there is also a yabusame festival, shooting arrows from horseback, once in three years.

. Saru 申 / 猿 Monkey Amulets .

. Migawari - personal substitute amulets .


Related words

***** . Gion Festival (Gion matsuri 祇園祭り)

***** . Shrine Karasaki Jinja 唐崎神社 .
and the Hiyoshi shrine in Otsu

BACK : Top of this Saijiki



Ango retreat for monks


Retreat (ango)

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


kigo for all summer

ango 安吾 (あんご) intensive retreat
(for monks , priests and sometimes laymen)

Skt varsha or varshika; Pali vassa;
tranquil dwelling, spiritual retreat

CLICK for original link
source :

natsu ango 夏安吾(げあんご)summer retreat for monks
..... gegomori 夏籠(げごもり), gekomori
..... ge 夏(げ)
gegyoo 夏行(げぎょう)

ame ango 雨安吾(うあんご)retreat in the rain
angodera 安吾寺(あんごでら)temple for retreat
gezutome 夏勤(げづとめ)summer rituals
..... ketsuge 結夏(けつげ)
ge-iri 夏入(げいり)beginning the retreat
ketsusei, kessei 結制(けつせい)
ichige 一夏(いちげ)lit. "one summer retreat"
ge hyakunichi 夏百日(げひゃくにち)100 days retreat
.... hyakunichi no gyoo 百日の行(ひゃくにちのぎょう)

ge no hajime 夏の始め(げのはじめ)beginning of the retreat
ichige kujun 一夏九旬(いちげくじゅん)
zen ango 前安吾(ぜんあんご)beginning of the retreat
chuu ango 中安吾(ちゅうあんご)middle of the retreat
go ango 後安吾(ごあんご)ending of the retreat
ge no owari 夏の終り(げのおわり)end of the retreat

gedachi 夏断 (げだち) "summer abstinence"
not eating red meat, not drinking alcohol, staying home reading the sutras and copying them.

. gekyoo 夏経(げきょう) copying the sutras in summer .
gegaki 夏書 (げがき) "writing in summer"
shakyoo-e 写経会 meeting to copy sutras

gebana 夏花 "summer flowers" as offerings on the altar
..... gebana tsumi 夏花摘み(げばなつみ)picking flowers for offerings
during the ango retreat
Every day new flowers are offered.
This is done at the temples, but can also be done at home for the family altar.
The origin of this custom dates back to the Heian period, where offerings were made at the Western Tower of temple HieiZan, Kyoto.


kigo for early autumn

. gege 解夏 end of the summer ascetics .
..... ge aki 夏明き(げあき), ge no hate 夏の果(げのはて)
..... sooan, soo-an 送行(そうあん)
..... gegaki osame 夏書納(げがきおさめ)
..... butsukangibi, butsu kangi bi 仏歓喜日(ぶつかんぎび)
..... kangibi 歓喜日 "a day to rejoice"


kigo for all winter

. Fuyu Ango 冬安居 Winter Retreat for Monks  
yuki ango 雪安居(ゆきあんご) retreat for monks in snow


An, ango (安居), or kessei (結制),
is a Japanese term for a three-month period of intense training for students of Zen Buddhism, lasting anywhere from 90 to 100 days.The practice during ango consists of meditation (zazen), study, and work (samu).

Ango is typically held twice a year, the first period from spring to summer and the second period from fall to winter. The word ango literally translates as "dwelling in peace"; the summer ango is referred to as ge-ango and the winter period is u-ango.
Additionally, some monasteries and Zen centers hold just one ango per year.

Concerning Zen practice in the United States, author Ellen Birx writes,
"Many centers now allow members to attend retreats on a part-time basis. Many have ango, a three-month long period of intensified practice, that members can participate in while continuing to go off to work during the day."

Taigen Dan Leighton writes a more traditional definition, "These are ninety-day training periods of concentrated practice without leaving the monastic enclosure (except for monks going out for necessary temple business). They date back to the summer rainy season retreats of Shakyamuni's time. In Japan, they have been held twice a year, summer and winter."
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

komorido 籠人 / 籠り人 person retreating in a hall for religious practice

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


shibaraku wa taki ni komoru ya ge no hajime

for a while
I will sit behind the waterfall -
summer retreat begins

Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉
On May 20,year 元禄2年4月2日

source : itoyo/basho

Urami no taki 裏見の滝 - 裏見の瀧 "Back- view waterfall"
near Nikko, with a cave behind the waterfall for mountain ascetic practises.

urami 恨み to hate, have a grudge,

hototogisu Urami no Taki no ura omote

hototogisu -
Urami no Taki
with back and front

Written on the second day of the fourth lunar month, Genroku 2
When Basho spent time behind the waterfall, he could not hear the hototogisu any more and felt this as URAMI.

Placenames used by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .
Oku no Hosomichi

. Fudo Myo-O 不動明王 statue at Urami .


source : Yamada Naokimi

haru no yo ya komorido yukashi doo no sumi

this spring night -
a person mysteriously in retreat
in the temple corner

Tr. Gabi Greve

Spring 1688, at Hase 初瀬 (Hatsuse)
The temple in Hase is known from the Tales of Genji (Genji Monogatari), where ladies of the court came to pray to Kannon to find a suitable lover.

. Temple Hasedera 長谷寺 .

Oi no Kobumi 笈の小文
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


gegaki, ge-gaki 夏書き copying the sutras during the retreat

natsukashiki ge-gaki no sumi no nioi kana

I remember so fondly
the smell of his ink
during summer retreat writing

at the 17th death anniversary of priest Watanabe Unriboo
渡辺雲裡坊 Watanabe Unribo Seihan (1692-1761)
from Owari

tamoto shite harau ge-gaki no tsukue kana

with her long kimono sleeve
she cleans the desk
for summer retreat writing . . .

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .

Buson also wrote this hokku when he met Seihan in Edo, making fun of their shaven heads:

mizu-oke ni unazuki-au ya uri nasubi

in the water tub
they nodd to each other
a melon and an eggplant

source :



gekomori ya tatami ni kobosu hitorigoto

summer retreat -
my lonely mumblings tumble
on the tatami mats

source :


wazawaza ni choo mo kite mau gebana kana

even the butterflies
come to dance here -
summer flower offerings

Tr. Gabi Greve

- - - - -

setchin no uta mo ge-gaki no hitotsu kana

in the temple privy
this poem, too,
a true summer prayer

Tr. Chris Drake

This summer hokku is from the 4th month (May) in 1822, when the summer retreats (夏 ge, or 夏安居 ge-ango) are getting underway at various Buddhist temples. Following a custom that began in ancient India during the Buddha's lifetime, in Japan, too, monks and laypeople gather at temples and concentrate on prayer, chanting, meditation, and study during the rainy season in early summer. The retreats usually began on 4/8, the birthday of the Buddha, and could go on for as long as 90 or a hundred days. Issa seems to have visited a temple on 4/8 or a little later, and in the privy he sees a poem or poems brushed on the wall. Uta usually refers to a waka or a kyoka, a humorous "crazy waka," and it could be either one here.
Evidently the poem refers to one of the Buddhas or is inspired by Buddhism, since Issa takes it to be legitimate summer retreat writing (ge-gaki 夏書). Summer retreat writing usually referred to calligraphically writing the name of a Buddha, especially Amida, or to copying out sutras, but this humble poem, perhaps humorous, obviously expresses deep spirituality.

Chris Drake

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

. WKD : Summer Flowers .

. Toilet, Outhouse (benjo, no setchin, toire) .

Related words

Kigo for Summer

BACK : Top of this Saijiki



Misasa Tug-of-war (Misasa tsunahiki)


Misasa Tug-of-war (Misasa tsunahiki)

***** Location: Misasa, Tottori, Japan
***** Season: Early Summer
***** Category: Observance


Misasa Oo-tsunahiki 三朝大綱引(みささおおつなひき)
Big Tug-of-war at Misasa

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Misasa tsunahiki 三朝綱引(みささつなひき)
Tug-of-war at Misasa

hana yu matsuri 花湯祭 (はなゆまつり)
Flowers and Hot Spring Festival

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

May 5 to 8

With a firework display in the evening and a tug of war of the local people and visitors who want to participate.
The famous rope is made of visteria wines (fuji kazura 藤かづら) and very large.
It is kept in the shrine Misasa Jinja 三朝神社 in a special museum.

This is an event to divine the outcome of the year.

If the group in the east wins,
there will be a good harvest.
If the group in the west wins,
it will be a good year for business.

Misasa means "three mornings"
If you use the hot radiuim water of the hot springs, you will be healed by the third morning ... or so they say.


The Misasa-onsen Hot Spring
a radium hot spring

is located at the center of Tottori along the Misasa-gawa River, southeast of the center of Kurayoshi City. It has long been known as a representative health resort and therapeutic bath in the San'in region. Kawara-buro, the open-air bath on the river beach near the bottom of the bridge, is a symbol of the Misasa-onsen where you can enjoy the atmosphere and rural life.

Over 10 inns and shops along the streets of Misasa offer displays of artwork, each with different themes and expressing unique characteristics. A morning market is held there every Sunday. You can experience ceramic making and weaving in the Furusato Kenko-mura Park, located on a dry riverbed. In summer, you may also have a chance to see a rare species of frog, the 'kajika.'

In the neighboring areas is Mitoku-san Sanbutsu-ji Temple, a sacred ground for mountain Buddhism. As you climb the rugged mountain path, which takes about an hour, you will see the Nageire-do, or "thrown-in temple," in a hollow halfway up the precipice. Legend has it that a practitioner of asceticism threw the temple up into the hollow from far down below the cliff. Even professional architects have been unable to determine the building method of this structure. Monju-do and a bell tower with a fine view are located along the approach way.
You can also enjoy the local specialty - wild vegetables and 'tofu' (soybean curd) dishes at the restaurants in front of Sanbutsu-ji Temple.
source :


Misasa Hot Spring

75 NEXT : Misasa Hot Spring Onsen

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

My visit to the nearby

. 三徳山三仏寺
Temple Mitokusan, Nage-ire Do 投入堂


Related words

***** . memorial day of Madame Curie
Kyuri ki キュリー忌(きゅりーき)
Her statue is at Misasa Hot Spring.


observance kigo for the New Year

tunahiki 綱引 (つなひき, 綱引き) playing tug-of-war
"pulling the rope"
..... tsunahiki 綱曳(つなひき). 縄引(なわひき)

source : akirajiji

On the 15th day of the first lunar month, in the full moon night.
This ritual was performed to tell the fortune for the harvest in the coming year.
If team A wins, there will be a lot of fish and a good harvest.

In many parts of Western Japan, this is performed during the rituals for the ancestor festival at
O-Bon (bon tsunahiki 盆綱引).

observance kigo for early autumn
bonzuna 盆綱(ぼんづな) rope for O-Bon

. Autumn Festivals - SAIJIKI .






Abstinence in Satsuki


Absention, abstinence in Satsuki (satsuki imi )

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-summer
***** Category: Observance


Satsuki is the name for the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
Now 6 Jun – 6 Jul

. Names of lunar months and solar seasons  


satsuki imi 五月忌 さつきいみ Abstention in Satsuki
amezutsumi 雨づつみ(あめづつみ)"wrapped in rain"
nagame imi 霖雨斎み(ながめいみ)"abstinence during the long rain"
onna no ie 女の家(おんなのいえ)"home of the women"
onna tenka no hi 女天下の日(おんなてんかのひ) "day of the women"

The three lunar months of 1, 5 and 9 were special months of abstinence, and there were no weddings or large celebrations held in these lunar months.

Satsuki was the month of planting the rice fields and thus the god of the fields was welcomed back from his retreat in the mountains. This also was a time for abstention or abstinence.

. Ta no Kami, God of the Rice Fields 田の神さま
and related kigo 

Young girls stayed indoors as miko maidens and performed purification rites. (imigomori 忌み篭もり)

The fifth day of the fifth month was therefore called

"home of the women" or "day of the women".
The girls lived in a special house with iris and mugwort hung from the eaves to ward off evil.

This was also the rainy season, so the court ladies celebrated this day in their waka poetry as
"wrapped in rain" or "abstinence during the long rain period".

During the whole of the fifth lunar month, couples had to be abstinent (and use their energy for planting rice).


The fifth lunar month, a month with SA

satsuki 「さつき」「五月」
sanae 「早苗」(さなえ) 、saotome 「早乙女」(さをとめ) 、samidare 「五月雨」(さみだれ) 、sanaburi 「早苗饗」(さなぶり) sasamaki 「笹巻き」(ささまき)
sake 酒(さけ)/ sakana 酒菜(さかな)/sasageru 捧(ささ)げる

sa no kami サの神 / (ta no kami) 田の神
God of SA, god of the fields

source : 20century.blog2

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. imi 忌み / 斎み imi .
in the context of Shintoism


. Iris (shoobu) and the fifth lunar month
Seasonal festival in May, gogatsu no sekku


shinguu no imibi hachigatsu juuni nichi

the taboo day
for Shingu shrine is August
the twelfth

. Kuroda Momoko 黒田杏子 .

. shinguu shingū 新宮 Shingu "new shrine" .

Related words

***** . Woman and KIGO  




Boys Festival (tango)


Boys' Festival (tango no sekku 端午の節句)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Early Summer
***** Category: Observance


The Boy's Festival takes place on the
day with the double odd number five
the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
now celebrated usually on May 5

Satsuki is the name for the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
Now 6 Jun – 6 Jul.
The change from the lunar to the solar calendar brought some difficulties in keeping the season. Some of the kigo are placed in EARLY SUMMER, some in MID-SUMMER.

tango 端午 (たんご) Tango festival
Seasonal festival in the fifth lunar month
gogatsu no sekku 五月の節句(ごがつのせっく)
seasonal festival of the iris, shoobu no sekku

CLICK for more photos

Tango no sekku is a traditional Japanese event observed on May 5th as a celebration for boys' talisman and health. Families including boys observe it, displaying yoroikabuto (an armor), gogatsuninngyou (dolls for the Boys' Festival), or koinobori (carp-shaped streamers). Although this tradition has continued to this day, after World War May 5th started to be called "children's day". It is observed as a holiday recognizing children's (boys and girls) happiness.

Tango no sekku was originally a custom brought from ancient China. In China, May has long been regarded as a month of evil spirits. So events for driving them away were widespread in May. At first, this special day was not always on May 5th, but eventually it settled on the day. As for Japan, during the Nara period (710-794) five seasonal events (jinjitsu, joushi, tanogo, tanabata, chouyou) were introduced. At that time, the five seasonal events were observed by aristocrats as important events to ward off one's own sins during the turning point of each season. And then, they spread to the samurai (warrior) families. During the Edo period, since the feudal government designated May 5th as an important day, it also became popular among common people, and it came to be observed widely in Japan.

Read more here:
source :


Related kigo:

Seasonal festival in May, gogatsu no sekku
gogatsu no setchi-e 五日の節会 (いつかのせちえ)
ritual at the Imperial court

seasonal festival of the iris, shoobu no sekku
ayame no sechi-e 菖蒲の節会(あやめのせちえ)
ayame no makura 菖蒲の枕 (あやめのまくら) "iris pillow"
at the imperial court, iris were put into the pillow to ward off evil influence.

"double five", fifth month fifth day, choogo 重五(ちょうご)
day of the iris, ayame no hi 菖蒲の日(あやめのひ)

first seasonal festival, hatsu sekku

First for a boy just born the year before.

The long leaves of the iris (shoobu)
reminded the samurai of their swords.
The word SHOOBU 勝負 also means a fight,
usually to the death.

The iris flower is seen in present-day July, and many related kigo are placed in "mid-summer", see below.

The flower Iris and Haiku


musha ningyoo 武者人形 むしゃにんぎょう warriour dolls
kabuto ningyoo かぶと人形(かぶとにんぎょう)dolls with helmets
gogatsu ningyoo 五月人形(ごがつにんぎょう)"May Dolls"

ayame ningyoo あやめ人形(あやめにんぎょう)iris dolls
..... shoobu ningyoo 菖蒲人形 (しょうぶにんぎょう)

bugu kazaru 武具飾る(ぶぐかざる)
decorating the warriou's armour

These dolls and warriour helmets are decorated for the Boys Festival. They are a precious family treasure, often given by the grandparents when a boy is born.

. Musha ningyoo 武者人形 Samurai Dolls .

. Dolls and Haiku .


Carp Streamers (koinobori 鯉幟 (こいのぼり)
. . . . . and
chimaki 茅巻(ちまき)Chimaki ritual rice cakes

. Medicine and May the Fifth
kusudama 薬玉 (くすだま) "medicine ball"
choomeiru, choomei ru 長命縷(ちょうめいる)/ 続命縷(しょくめいる)
"threads of long life"
"water of God", shinzui, shinsui
神水 (しんずい, しんすい)


observance kigo for mid-summer

The long leaves of the iris (shoobu) reminded the samurai of their swords.
The word SHOOBU 勝負 also means a fight, usually to the death.

kigo related to SHOOBU

. shoobu ningyoo 菖蒲人形 (しょうぶにんぎょう)
Iris dolls .

... hojin 蒲人(ほじん)

gaijin 艾人(がいじん)"mugwort dolls"
Yomogi mugwort (and ayame iris) were known to ward off evil and protect from disease, and placed at the gate of homes for protection.

shoobu hiku 菖蒲引く (しょうぶひく)
pulling out iris (to make the iris dolls)
..... ayame hiku あやめ引く(あやめひく)
shoobu karu 菖蒲刈る(しょうぶかる)cutting iris

Street vendors of Edo
source : bastille
shoobu uri 菖蒲売(しょうぶうり)vendor of cut iris

shoobu fuku 菖蒲葺く (しょうぶふく) thatching with iris

..... shoobu sasu 菖蒲挿す(しょうぶさす)sticking up iris decorations
..... noki shoobu 軒菖蒲(のきしょうぶ)shoobu under the eaves
..... yomogi fuku 蓬葺く(よもぎふく)thatching with mugwort
..... ouchi fuku 樗葺く(おうちふく)thatching with chinaberry
ouchi (Melia azedarach) is an old name for sendan, chinaberry 栴檀

To thatch the eaves or hang up protective plants under the eaves has been a custom since the Heian period, done on the night before the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. It later spread among the samurai and then townspeople. Adding mugwort or chinaberries or wild water oats (makomo) is especially effective in warding off the diseases of the coming summer.

. shoobuyu, shoobu-yu 菖蒲湯 (しょうぶゆ) "iris bath"  
..... shoobuburo 菖蒲風呂(しょうぶぶろ) rantoo、蘭湯(らんとう)

source : ningyodo.library
shoobugatana, shoobu gatana 菖蒲刀 (しょうぶがたな) "iris sword"
a small wooden sword for boys to war on the festival day.
Sometimes leaves of the iris flower were used.
shoobu dachi 菖蒲太刀(しょうぶだち)big iris sword
...... ayame katana あやめ刀(あやめがたな)
shoobu kabuto 菖蒲冑(しょうぶかぶと)armour with iris
shoobu hachimaki 菖蒲鉢巻(しょうぶはちまき)headband from iris
kazari kabuto 飾り冑(かざりかぶと)decorating armour
ayame no katabira 菖蒲の帷子(あやめのかたびら)hat with iris
ayame no yukata 菖蒲浴衣(あやめゆかた)yukata robe with iris
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

shoobu uchi 菖蒲打 (しょうぶうち) hitting with iris
..... shoobu tataki 菖蒲敲き(しょうぶたたき)
shoobu nawa 菖蒲縄(しょうぶなわ)iris rope

A game for children on the festival day. The leaves of iris are woven to a rope which is then hit on the ground. The boy who produces the loudest sound wins the bout. This is also done to prevent evil influence and disease to befall the children.

shoobu no ne-awase 菖蒲の根合 (あやめのねあわせ)
iris root match
..... ayame awase 菖蒲合せ(あやめあわせ)
ne awase 根合(ねあわせ)root match
..... ayame no ura 菖蒲の占 (あやめのうら)
A game enjoyed by the aristocracy since the Heian period. The person with the longest and thickest roots of an iris is the winner. During the ceremony poetry was recited, sometimes with two groups rivalling for the win.
. . . . . also
hyakusoo o tatakawasu 百草を闘わす (ひゃくそうをたたかわす)
match of 100 plants
kusa awase 草合せ(くさあわせ)
toosoo 闘草(とうそう)


inji uchi 印地打 (いんじうち) throwing stones at each other
inji いんじ stone slinging
ayame inji 菖蒲印地(あやめいんじ)throwing iris at each other
inji kiri 印地切(いんじきり)
ishiuchi, ishi-uchi 石打ち(いしうち)

Children made two groups down by the riverbank (the Kamo river in Kyoto) and started throwing small stones at each other in a mock battle, sometimes iris flowers in some kind of exorcism ritual.
It was also performed at the Heian court, but grown-ups got really serious and hurt each other, so it was ablished soon.


kezurikake no kabuto 削掛の甲 (けずりかけのかぶと)

armour decorated with shavings
..... kezuri kabuto けずり甲(けずりかぶと)
The shavings from willow branches are added to the armour of the warriour decoration.
They are supposed to ward off evil


muika no ayame 六日の菖蒲 (むいかのあやめ)
iris on May 6

..... muika soobu 六日そうぶ(むいかそうぶ)
Iris on the morning of the day after May 5 had been soaked in dew, the "water of gods" (神水), and these flowers were especially powerful to protect the humans from evil influence.

ouchi o obu 樗を佩ぶ (おうちをおぶ) wearing chinaberries
yomogi o abu 艾を佩ぶ(よもぎをおぶ)wearing mugwort
..... 蓬を佩ぶ(よもぎをおぶ)
ouchi (Melia azedarach) is an old name for sendan, chinaberry 栴檀
These auspicious plants were not only put on roofs and under the eaves, they were also word around the waist to protect the people.

tooinfu, too-in fu 桃引符 (とういんふ) "preach board"
A board made from peach wood with an inscription to ward off evil influence. It was hung up ath the entrance to a home.


kigo for mid-summer

fukuro no atsumono 梟の羹 (ふくろうのあつもの)
"hot soup with owl meat"

..... fukuro no aburimono 梟の灸(ふくろうのあぶりもの)
There is an old Chinese saying, that when an owl grows up, it will eventually eat the mother bird and then fly off. The owl was disliked because of this behaviour and in some area an owl was nailed to a tree to die on the day of the summer equinox.
This is a symbol for unfilial behaviour.
In China, on May 5, the meat of an owl was put into hot soup and given to the young boys. In Japan this kind of soup was also given to warriours in a battle.
The owl is also called "bird that eats its mother" 母食鳥.(hahakuidori).

. Qwl (fukuro, fukuroo, fukurō 梟


shinkiku seisu 神麯製す (しんきくせいす)
making shinkiku rice cakes

This is a Chinese custom, making them on the 5th day of the 5th month or the 6th day of the 6th month or the "sanpuku days".
They are made from rice yeast (kome kooji, kiku 麯), wheat flour, liquid from a special plant of the chrysanthemum family, which has leaves looking like carrot leaves (kawara ninjin 河原人参).
This mix is supposed to bring good health in the hot summer months.
They are also called shingiku しんぎく。

. sanpuku 三伏 (さんぷく) three hottest ka-no-e "metal" days of summer

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. Kato Kiyomasa 加藤清正 .

This famous samurai from Kumamoto was often decorated in paintings or as dolls during the Boy's Festival.


. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 .

sore de koso furuki yûbe zo fuki ayame

the perfect thing
for an old-time evening...
thatch of irises

naki-soo na mushi no are-are fuki ayame

an insect singing?
look! look!
thatch of irises

Tr. David Lanoue


ayame-gusa su ni hikitagaru suzume kana

sparrow's determined
to pull a sweet flag
to its nest

Tr. Chris Drake

This is hokku is from the 4th month (May) of 1811, when Issa was in the area just east of Edo, a week or two before the Tango or children's day festival on 5/4 and 5/5. The plant the sparrow is trying to pull to its nest is a sweet flag, also called calamus. Its long, bright green leaves resemble iris leaves, causing the plants to be easily confused, although sweet flag flowers are much more modest than iris flowers. In fact, in modern Japanese ayame means iris, although in Basho's and Issa's time it meant sweet flag. The leaves of the sweet flag were once consumed in many areas of the world as an herb that was believed to help protect against disease, and in Japan sake with stalks and leaves of sweet flag soaking in it was drunk at the festival. On 5/4 people would take hot baths in water with sweet flag soaking in it in order to increase resistance to the plague and other summer epidemics.

In this hokku it is a sparrow which wants very much to pull a sweet flag to its nest, as if it wished to protect its nest from disease. It might be a small sweet flag that is still growing. On the other hand, Issa may be imagining a scene from 5/5 based on a memory from the past. If so, then the swallow has its nest in the eaves of a house, and now, on 5/4, stalks and leaves of sweet flag have been placed here and there on the edge of the roof so that the plants stick out over the eaves, thus symbolically protecting the house from disease.
Seeing the sweet flag plants, the sparrow tries hard to pull a leaf or the whole plant (or perhaps several plants) to its nearby nest. The plants are not part of the roof but are generally placed on top of the tiles, board shingles, or thatch. In the case of a thatch roof, the stalk might sometimes be stuck into the bottom edge of the straw thatch. A diligent sparrow, however, might be able to move a sweet flag a short distance. Issa seems impressed by the parent bird's energetic efforts to use the herb as part of its nest, as if it could sense the herb's protective powers.

The Japanese government calls 5/5 Children's Day, correctly reflecting Japanese history, although the 5/5 festival is often referred to somewhat incorrectly as the Boy's Festival, a concept that took root within the patriarchal warrior class headed by the shogunate in the 17th-19th centuries. Warrior families displayed life-sized and doll-sized swords and other weapons as well as suits of armor, and the warrior class looked on 5/5 as the day as the day to celebrate future warriors and to hold contests that would display feats of skill by adult warriors. This became the prevailing style in Edo, but in many parts of Japan the festival was a day to fete all children.

The other part of the festival, which began on 5/4, was for adults, especially women, as well as for children. It was the day of purification with sweet flag in many forms, and it was often called "Women's House," since in many areas women were regarded as the owners of the house on 5/4, and men stayed outside while women purified themselves and their houses. In Issa's time the festival took place about a week before the summer solstice and soon before rice planting, so it is believed by many scholars that earlier in history women engaged in many shamanic practices, including singing sacred songs in seclusion from men, in order to protect the village against disease and help the village's rice to grow vigorously. This seclusion and purification period was also the time when women prepared for the rice-planting festivals that would soon take place in the new paddies. In Issa's time shamanism had become less important in village life and was largely a matter of custom, but many people still continued to believe in the power of sweet flag and other herbs to purify and protect themselves and their houses.

Chris Drake

Related words

further kigo for customs and rituals of the fifth lunar month

kigo for mid-summer

***** . gihoo o kaku 儀方を書く (ぎほうをかく)
writing a spell

against mosquitoes and flies

***** . satsuki imi 五月忌 さつきいみ Abstinence in Satsuki  

*****: . yamori o tsuku 守宮を搗く (やもりをつく)
pounding a gecko

***** . Iris, the flower (ayame 菖蒲 shoobu)



Obara Shrine Festival


Obara Festival (Obarazashi)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Early Summer
***** Category: Observance


Obarazashi 大原志 (おばらざし)
Obara shrine festival

. . . . . amazake matsuri 甘酒祭(あまざけまつり)
sweet ricewine festival
haruzashi 春志(はるざし)"spring resulution"
akizashi 秋志(あきざし)"autumn resolution"

On May 2 or 3, people would come to the Obara shrine 大原神社 in the Tanba 丹波 region of Kyoto to pay a regular visit and pray. On this day, the shrine made an offering of sweet ricewine to the deities and then offered this drink to the visitors with the prayer for good health.

In spring, a shrine visit was done on March 23,
in autumn the visit was on September 23.

The main deity of the shrine, Izanami no Mikoto, is believed to be a protector of the silk worms.
During the spring visit, people would pick up a stone from the shrine grounds, take it home and place on the shelf where they kept the silk worms. The stone looked like a cat and chased away the mice that would threaten the silk worms.
During the autumn visit, they brought the stones back and made a "thank you" donation.

not to mix with

Ohara, Oohara おおはら【大原】, a place in Kyoto.


CLICK for more photos

Obara Shrine, Oobara Jinja

〒620-1301 京都府福知山市三和町大原
191-1 Obara, Miwa-cho, Fukuchiyama-city, Kyoto

deities in residence
伊弉冉尊(いざなみのみこと) Izanami no Mikoto
天照大神(あまてらすおおみかみ) Amaterasu Omikami
月読尊/月夜見尊(つきよみのみこと)Tsukiyomi no Mikoto

Nowadays it is also famous as a place to pray for an easy childbirth (anzan).

A shrine for pregnant women

Obara Shrine was built in 852 in the area of Kyoto Prefecture known as Miyama today. The shrine was moved to Miwa Town in 1279. The main hall of the shrine, built in 1796, is decorated with magnificent carvings of stylized lions and phoenixes. The hall used to be a stage for Bunraku and Kyogen plays. In the hall, ema, votive picture tablets on which people write their prayers or to expressions of gratitude after their wishes came true, are on display. These colorful pictures are an interesting form of art.

Every year on May 2nd and 3rd, the shrine holds a special festival.
On the first day, sacred drums are played and ema pictures painted by local children are displayed. When the hall is lighted up, the atmosphere is beautiful. On the second day, the Nerikomi Gyoretsu ( nerikomi means parade) procession takes place. In the procession people wear traditional costumes and play instruments. They pull a mikoshi, portable shrine, on a cart. There are food stalls along the street and the atmosphere is quite festive.

It is home to a female deity, and it extremely well known for helping pregnant women safely deliver their children and for ensuring good harvests. Since ancient times, many people, including high-ranking nobles, came to the shrine to pray for the safe delivery of their babies. Some even came to the shrine to delivery their children in a special hut called the ubuya.

When an expecting mother finally gives birth to her baby, she stays in this small hut for 7 days and 7 nights to recover. Being in the hut is said to help the mother feel free from housework or family stress. The hut was believed to be very sacred, and that the deity actually descended from heaven into the hut when the child was born.
This custom was held until early the Taisho period (1912-1926).
Now the hut is preserved as a valuable heritage of the local traditions.
source :

ubuya 大原の産屋 hut for giving birth

source : k_saito_site
(Legends of the Tango region)


It's believed the earliest style of ubuya was a house built mainly with straw which was burned (i.e., returned to the gods) later. And the location was usually near the sea or at the foot of a mountain -- a place where the sea or mountain god could visit the hut easily. Inside the birthing hut the floor was covered with sand, just as sacred sites in Shinto are still covered with pure sand in preparation for the appearance of a god.

Ubuya customs were very close to the way shamanic huts in general were built and then burned after the trance-ceremonies were finished, so, as your article mentions, the birth hut doubled as a temporary shrine in which the god -- or the soul of an ancestor -- protected and entered the baby. Before organized Shinto arose in response to Buddhism and Chinese religions, this kind of straw hut (of various sizes) may have been one of the main forms of shamanic shrine in Japan, and the birth huts basically seem to be one sub-type of shamanic (as opposed to Shinto) shrine.

In Shinto most of the main priests are male, but in pre-Shinto shamanism and local shamanism that still remains to a certain extent in northern Japan and in Okinawa, the shamans were almost all women, though some musicians were male. Women were considered closer to the gods (or maybe better at trances?), so it was taboo for men to visit the huts in which the women learned sacred songs and did trances, and the taboo originally(?) came not because women's blood was "polluted," as some Buddhists believed (including the male authors of the various versions of the Menstruation Sutra), but because women were believed to be closer to the gods and so only they were allowed to pass on the shamanic songs and trance techniques.

In fact, in Okinawa, which didn't have Shinto, the word kami means both female shaman and god. Since men in Japan have been excluded from the shamanic huts by tradition, perhaps they built up their own esteem by devaluing women's blood and by turning shamanism into a more static religion -- Shinto --with male priests at the top of the hierarchy, with solid architecture, and with norito intoned prayers replacing singing and dancing during trances. At the Ise Shrine they still maintain shamanic tradition slightly, moving the most sacred building from one site to another every few years, though the old buildings are not burned, as was the case with birth and trance huts.

Christopher Drake


'Menstruation Sutra' Belief in Japan

Momoko Takemi
Bussetsu Daizoo Shookyoo Ketsubon Kyoo
source : menstration-sutra

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


During the festivals there is a box for people to contribute their haiku about.
where they collected more than 350 haiku in 2008.

Ohara ubuya no sato hyakkei


u no hana no kakine ni inu no ubuya kana

in the hedge of
deutzia blossoms is the dog's
hut for giving birth . . .

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 - Introduction .

hedge of deutzia blossoms, unohana gaki
This kind of hedge is quite popular in Japan.

. Deutzia blossom (u no hana, unohana 卯の花) .

Related words

***** . Anzan o-Mamori, 安産お守り
Talismans for Safe Delivery




Matsue Festivals



Horan Enya Boat Festival

***** Location: Matsue
***** Season: Mid-Summer
***** Category: Observance


Hooran Enya ほうらんえんや
boat festival in Matsue town, Shimane

CLICK for more photos

This festival was started by first generation feudal lord Matsudaira Naomasa in hopes for a good harvest and has been held every 12 years. The object of worship is carried on a boat from Inari Jinja Shrine 大浜住吉神社 to Adakaya Jinja Shrine. At the call of "Horan-enya" the procession, consisting of a line that is 10 kilometers long, carries a fleet of 100 decorated boats from one shrine to the other. The festival in 1997 was the Horan-enya's last event of this century.
The last festival was held in 2009.

At the front of some ships, a kabuki-like dancer performs his art. At the back of the ships, young drummers acompany a dancer, a young boy dressed like a girl, swinging his sticks.
The festival starts early in the morning, bringing the mikoshi on a boat to the shrine Adakaya 阿太加夜(あだかや).

It is one of the three great festivals with ship processions in Japan.

CLICK for more photos



CLICK for more english information


Hooran Enya in 2009

Worldwide use

Things found on the way



Related Festivals

CLICK for more photos

Suigosai Festival, Matsue
kigo for Summer
A major summer event emphasizing "the city of water". A magnificent display of fireworks over Lake Shinji-ko, and surprise events are held each year.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


CLICK for more photos
Matsue Drum Procession
松江祭 鼕行列(どうぎょうれつ) doo gyooretsu

Kigo for early winter
November 3

This festival began when the 5th generation feudal lord Matsudaira Nobuzumi greeted his wife in 1734. The people in the area made a drum to beat for the celebration. A float with two large drums, each measuring 2 meters in diameter, proceed through town as the sounds of the beats echo throughout the area.


- July August -

Tamatsukuri Onsen Summer Festival – 玉造温泉夏まつり
Held in Tamatsukuri Onsen, this annual summer festival consists of daily stage events and food stands. The stages are outside surrounding the Tamayu River, and performances range from music concerts to traditional dances, like Yasugibushi. At night, the area around the river is illuminated with decorative lanterns.

Matsue Suigosai Fireworks Festival – 松江水郷際
One of the biggest events in the City of Water, Matsue Suigosai is held over two days in the city centre by Lake Shinji‘s shore. Many people wearing yukata and jinbei will enjoy the surface of the lake lit up by thousands of fireworks, while dance events and other performances are held on stage by Matsue City Hall. There are also many food stalls. Fireworks are usually from 20:00 to 20:30 on Saturday, and from 20:00 until 21:00 on Sunday, with a total of around 90,000 fireworks.

Oyukake Jizo Festival – お湯かけ地蔵まつり
This festival, dedicated to the local hot spring deity named Oyukake Jizo, takes place in the hot springs area of Matsue Shinjiko Onsen. Come by and pour hot water over the Jizo statue before watching the fireworks over Lake Shinji. Fireworks are usually between 20:00 and 20:30. URL : Oyukake Jizo Festival (jp).

Iya Shrine’s Ho-kake Matsuri - Hokake – 揖屋神社穂掛祭
Iya Shrine is located in eastern Matsue, by Lake Nakaumi (easy access from Higashi Matsue Station). An important ritual is held there, both on sea and land, to pray for generous harvests and safety at sea. The god worshipped is first brought in a Mikoshi (portable shrine) on a boat to reach a sacred place before returning to the shrine. The land procession starts at 19:00. The celebrations includes awesome Kagura dances on a stage next to the shrine, Mochi-maki (distribution of pounded steam rice cakes), Japanese drums and fireworks. Also, the crowd is given super yummy sake in bamboo cups

Sada Shrine Gozakae Ritual – 御座替神事
This ritual is undertaken to purify the new rush mats upon which the tutelary deities of Sada Shrine are to sit. Another round of dances follows on the second day, including Sada Shin Noh, which was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011. Created in the early 15th century, these dances have been handed down from generation to generation and are thought to have given its contemporary structure and content to the Kagura dances that today thrive in Shimane culture.

- source :