Imigomori retreat


Retreat on the day of the wild boar (imigomori )

***** Location: Kakogawa, Hyogo
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance


imigomori 亥巳籠 (いみごもり)
ritual retreat
from the first day of the wild boar (i 亥)
to the day of the snake (mi 巳)

Kako no monoshizume 加古の物鎮(かこのものしずめ)
seclusion at Kakogawa

also spelled oigomori 亥巳籠(おいごもり)
and migomori 身籠 . 妊 means pregnant.

at the shrine Hioka jinja 日岡神社 in Kakogawa, Hyogo

People put up a new shimenawa rope for the shrine and place sacred branches in front of the sanctuary. From the hour of the wild boar to the hour of the snake seven days later they try to make no noise.

It is a pun on the sound of IMI (imi 忌み)
a period of respectful mourning or
a period of paying great respect to the deities.

Legend says that the mother of Yamato Takeru,
Princess Inahi ooiratsume no mikoto 稲日大郎姫命
(いなひおおいらつめのみこと)"Oiratsume of Inabi"
gave birth to the royal twins on the day of the snake at the end of this period.
So people keep quiet to make her birthing easier.

The priests of the shrine prepare special meals for the deities during this period.

On the last day, special arare sweets are distributed
(年の実 - fruit of the year)
and ritual shoting occurs in the shrine compound (matoi 的射).

After this ritual, spring was welcomed in the old province of Harima 播磨.

There are other igomori rituals in Japan.


Igomori matsuri
Seclusion festival.

A festival held from March eleventh to thirteenth at Tosa Jinja in Kōchi City, Kōchi prefecture. From the evening of March first the gūji (head priest) and shinshoku (shrine priests) enter into a period of monoimi (purificatory abstinence) On the afternoon of the twelfth a pair of chopsticks made from peeled haji (wax tree) branches is added to a container filled with steamed brown rice called mikinehan (thrice-pounded rice).
A rite is performed in which a special shinsen (sacred meal) is offered to the kami. Early on the morning of the thirteenth after the main ritual observance, the priests partake of a naorai (sacred communal meal). The head priest grasps some of the steamed brown rice that had been removed from its place of offering with chopsticks that have been broken in two and eats it. Then the other priests eat a portion of the brown rice in turn. In previous times after the ritual observance in front of the sessha (branch shrine) Nishigozensha, the priest is said to have performed a rice planting rite called saitsukuri.

At Hisamaru Jinja in Kanbe, Tahara-chō, Atsumi-gun, Aichi prefecture, on the day of the monkey in January there was an
igomori matsuri
(written 忌籠祭).
The priests moved the shintai (sacred object) to which the kami's spirit had been transferred, carrying it next to the breast, and performed cold water ablutions in the sea. Since residents were not permitted to watch the movement of object and priests from the shrine to the sea and back again, the rite came to be called the nematsuri (sleeping festival) because the residents closed their doors and took to their beds. According to tradition, the people had to be discrete because the kami (saijin) worshipped at the shrine was originally a senior court noble who did not want to be seen because of his unsightly appearance.

At Hioka Jinja in Kakogawa City, Hyōgo prefecture there is an imigomori (亥巳籠, "boar and snake seclusion") festival that lasts from the first day of the boar of the first lunar month until the day of the snake
- this igomori (亥巳籠) rite puns on the igomori (忌籠) festival at Hisamaru Jinja.
The character "i" in the latter case is usually read "imi," meaning purificatory abstinence or taboo .
If the observances of the taboo were insufficient, Mt. Hioka was said to rumble and batsu (divine punishment) would follow.
source : Mogi Sakae, Kokugakuin


Hioka jinja 日岡神社

This shrine is famous for making prayers for a save delivery (anzan).

. . . CLICK here for Photos of ema !

ema votive tablet for the year of the Tiger

Deities in residence

天伊佐佐比古命 Amenoisasa hiko no mikoto
Ame no Isasa Hiko no Mikoto
豊玉比売命 Toyotamahime
鵜草葺不合尊 Ugayafukiaezu no mikoto 盧茲草葺不合尊
father of Jinmu Tenno 神武天皇
天照皇大御神 Amaterasu Omikami
市杵島比売命 Ichikishimahime

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

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. imi 忌み / 斎み taboo in Shintoism .


A son of Emperor Keikō, and father to Emperor Chūai.
Yamatotakeru's mother was Ōiratsume of Inabi in Harima, the daughter of Wakatakekibitsuhiko, ancestor of the clan known as Kibi no Omi.

. Yamato Takeru, Yamatotakeru 日本武尊 .


mi no koku 巳の刻 the double-hour of the snake

Kitagawa Utamaro - Hour of the Snake
from the series Twelve Hours in the Yoshiwara

Hour of the snake, from 9 to 11 in the morning.
This is the time when snakes begin to leave their habitats.

- quote -
Traditionally in Japan, the day was divided into twelve intervals, each named after a zodiacal sign. This way of telling time provided Utamaro with a clever schema for a series depicting the life of the Yoshiwara courtesan. A cartouche in the shape of a pillar clock contains the title of the series, and the individual hours are announced on the bell portion. The present print depicts the hour of the snake (9-11 a.m.), with a courtesan emerging from her morning lustrations to receive a refreshing cup of tea from a servant.

The image of pampered courtesans in prints like this belies the sometimes harsh reality of their lives. Many courtesans were purchased from poor families as young girls, through a network of scouts that scoured the countryside for potential candidates. While successful courtesans enjoyed an education that brought not only literacy and social skills, but also many physical comforts, they also incurred substantial financial obligations. Courtesans had daily quotas of clients (which if they failed to meet, resulted in heavy penalties), and it was common for them to be in a state of perpetual indebtedness that resulted in virtual slavery.
- source : allure.honolulumuseum.org -


giving birth
to a special haiku -
wild boar and snake

Gabi Greve, January 2012

Related words

***** . NEW YEAR - the complete SAIJIKI

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Hakusan Festivals

. Legends about Hakusan / Shirayama .

Hakusan Shrine Festivals

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance


There are many Hakusan shrines 白山神社 in Japan.
see below about Hakusan belief.

Shirayama Hongu Shrine 白山本宮
(Hakusan Hongu Shrine
or Hakusan-ji Temple 白山寺)
Shirayama Hime Jinja 白山比咩神社(しらやまひめじんじゃ)
located on Mt. Gozenpo 御前峰
headquarter of over 2000 branch shrines and temples.

. Hakusan Shrine in Tokyo .


Nagataki Hakusan Jinja muikasai 長滝白山神社六日祭
Festival on the 6th day at Nagataki Hakusan Shrine

source : hibishigoto.blog

hana ubai matsrui 花奪い祭
"festival of taking blossoms by force"

People try to get a paper blossom from the decoration hung up at the ceiling.
It will bring good luck and fortune for the coming year.
The paper blossoms are cherry, chrysanthemum, camellia, peonies and poppies.

The famous dance 長滝の延年の舞 is performed.
This festival is an important folk cultural asset.

NagatakiJinja 長滝神社

The shrine is located in Gifu, Gujo Town, Hakucho village.

This shrine is one of the most important Hakusan shrines in Japan, best known for its Hakusan Mandala.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Since Meiji, the shrine and temple have been separated
Hakusan Chuuguu Chooryuuji 白山中宮長滝寺
Temple Hakusan Chugu Choryu-Ji


Another important festival of this shrine is held on May 5
dededen matsuri でででん祭り DedeDen festival
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Famous for its drums, which make the sound DEDEDE . . .


Nonomiya matsuri (No no Miya)箟宮祭 (ののみやまつり)
Nonomiya festival

Nonotake Hakusan matsuri
Mount Nonotake Hakusan Festival

At the temple Koopooji 箟峯寺 Kopo-Ji in Wakuyacho village, Northern Miyagi
Fourth Sunday of January.

An arrow-shooting ritual.
Two children clad in ancient robes and hats have to shoot12 arrows in exchange with a priest.
Depending on the hits, the weather and a good or bad harvest of the year can be forecast.

At the Kannon Hall 観音堂 of the temple
Hakusan Shinji 白山神事 Hakusan ritual

This is one of the oldest rituals in Japan, involving the Hakusan belief of mountain worship.

The region is famous for ancient findings of gold mines.


Shrine Hakusan Jinja 白山神社
Hakusan shinkoo白山信仰 Hakusan belief

First an animistic belief, now featured by Tendai Esoteric Buddhism.


Hakusan Shinkō
Hakusan is the collective name given to the three mountains Gozenpō, Ōnanjimine, and Bessan located at the intersection of the regions Kaga, Echizen, and Mino.
Hakusan shinkō is the faith based on the deification of these mountains.

Local farmers believed that Hakusan was a mountain inhabited by "water kami" (suijin), dragon kami (ryūjin), and the spirits of the dead.
Fishermen of the Japan Sea worshipped Hakusan as a kami of fishing and seafaring.

The Jinmyōchō section of the Engishiki records a "Shirayamahime Jinja" in Ishikawagun, Kaga (Tsurugimachi, Ishikawa Prefecture), but after the medieval period when "kami and Buddha syncretism" (shinbutsu shūgū) developed, it became customary to read "shirayama" as "hakusan" (both are readings of the characters 白山).

There are various theories as to the preponderance of Hakusan shrines (jinja or gongen) in eastern Japan in areas where outcastes (hisabetsu) live, but the reason for this are unknown. There have been various "enshrined kami" (saijin) claimed for the shrine, but currently Kukurihime no kami (i.e. Shirayamahime no ōkami) is the main kami worshipped alongside Izanagi no kami and Izanami no kami.

Kukurihime no kami 菊理姫命 is worshipped at the shrine okumiya on Mount Gozenpō, Ōnamuchi no kami is enshrined at Ōnanji Jinja on Mount Ōnanjimine, and Ōyamatsumi no kami is worshipped at Bessan Jinja on Mount Bessan.

The Shirayama no ki, however, states that the indigenous "land master kami" (jinushigami) gave his land to Hakusan Gongen, and moved to Mount Bessan. This story is thought to reflect the expanded power of people who worshipped the newly Buddhist-styled Hakusan Gongen.
Hakusan was a "mountain where the kami abides" (shintaisan) (which was taboo to ascend), but along with the development of Shugendō people began to ascend the mountain. Legend claims that the "mountain was opened" (kaisan) by Taichō Shōnin at the beginning of the Nara Period, but his name does not appear in sources from that era. However, his name does appear in such Heian Period documents as the Taichō kashō denki and the Shirayama no ki, and therefore we can surmise that there were already people climbing the mountain for worship in the Heian Period.

The Shirayama no ki was copied 1439 but the original manuscript is believed to date back to the Heian Period. According to this text, Mount Gozenpō, where Kukurihime no kami is enshrined, was referred to by the name Zenjō (meditation), the kami was called Hakusan Myōri Daibosatsu, the "original Buddhist deity" (honjibutu) of Kukurihime no kami was the Eleven-faced Kannon (Ekadasamukha Avalokitesvara), Ōnamuchi no kami was the Buddha Amida (Amitābha), and Ōyamatsumi no kami was Shō Kannon (Ārya-Avalokitesvara). The text also records the legend that if one drinks water from the lake Midorigaike, where Hakusan Myōri Daibosatsu was supposedly born, one would achieve the "merit" (riyaku) of an extended, long life.

Documents place the site of Shirayamahime Jinja in Kaga, but there were three routes for climbing the mountain, from Hakusan Kagababa, Hakusan Echizenbaba, and Hakusan Minobaba, indicating that pilgrimages could start from each of the three regions that the mountain straddles. The mountain pilgrimage route is called a zenjōdō (path of meditation), the entrances to the mountain trails are called baba, and there were also places to worship from a distance.

Along the pilgrimage route are shrines called Hakusan Shichisha (the Seven Shrines of Hakusan). Women were permitted pilgrimage as far as the center shrine (Chūgū). We can imagine that many people made pilgrimages to the shrine as a result of the use of such materials as the Shirayama no ki and Hakusan sankei mandala paintings for preaching about the merits of Hakusan. Lodging facilities were established at the baba sites to accommodate pilgrims, and a system of Hakusan "associations" (kō) developed, in part due to the activities of oshi.
Thus the cult of Hakusan spread.
source : Nogami Takahiro, Kokugakuin, 2007


Mark Schumacher has all the details:

HAKUSAN 白山 (lit. white mountain)
is the collective name for a number of sacred Japanese mountains that converge along the borders of four prefectures (Ishigawa, Fukui, Gifu, and Toyama) in northwest Honshū island. From early on, Hakusan was known as a "mountain realm inhabited by kami" (shintaisan 神体山). The character "shin" 神 is also read "kami," which means Shintō deity. The mountains were once taboo to climb, but with the subsequent growth of Japan's Shugendō cult of ascetic mountain practice, Hakusan became a popular site of worship, meditation, pilgrimage, and ascetic training.The deification and worship of Hakusan's mountain kami is known as
Hakusan Shinkō 白山信仰 (lit. = Hakusan faith),
and today 2000+ nationwide Shirayama Jinja Shrines 白山神社 (also read Hakusan Shrines) are devoted to this faith.
The characters for Hakusan are also read "Shirayama."

Hakusan is undeniably one of Japan's most important and ancient sites of religious mountain worship (sangaku shūkyō 山岳宗). The Hakusan mountains are celebrated in the Man'yōshū 万葉集 (Japan's oldest anthology of verse compiled in the 8th century). Over the centuries, Hakusan became a stronghold of Shintō-Buddhist syncretism, a major pilgrimage site, a center of ascetic practice for the Shugendō 修験道 cult of mountain worship, and the focus of artwork known as the Hakusan Mandala. Today Hakusan is considered one of Japan's three most sacred mountain sites (Nihon Sanreizan 三霊山 or Nihon Sanmeisan 三名山).
The other two are Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama.

Sacred Hakusan Mountains

Gozenpō 御前峰
Ōnanjimine 大汝峰
Bessan 別山
Kengamine 剣ヶ峰
Ōkurayama 大倉山
Sannomine 三ノ峰

Hakusan Pilgrimage

Hakusan Deities

Shirayamahime no Kami 白山比売
(aka Kukurihime no Kami 菊理媛神 aka
Hakusan Myōri Daibosatsu 白山妙理大菩薩)

Kukurihime no Kami 菊理媛神

Hakusan Myōri Gongen 白山妙理権現
Izanagi no Mikoto (伊邪那岐命 or 伊奘諾尊 or 伊耶那岐命) and
Izanami no Mikoto (伊邪那美命 or 伊奘冉尊 or 伊耶那美命).

Ōnamuchi no Kami 大穴牟遅神 (or 大己貴神)
Ōyamatsumi no Kami 大山津見神 (or 大山祇)

Hakusan Shichi Gongen 白山七権現
Hakusan Sansho Gongen 白山三所権現

Betsuzan Daigyōji 別山大行事

7 important Hakusan Shrines

Hakusan Mandala 白山曼荼羅
At Nagataki Hakusan

source : - Mark Schumacher

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Hata Uji to Hakusan Jinja 秦氏と白山神社の関係
. The Hata Clan 秦氏 Hata Uji .
and the Korean and Christian connection

Taichoo 泰澄 (682 - 767) Shugendo priest
He was the second son of the samurai family of Mikami no yasuzumi 三神安角(みかみのやすずみ)and became a monk at age 14.
In 117年 he climbed mount Hakusan in Echizen province and became a "super Bosatsu"
myoori daibosatsu 妙理大菩薩.

In 717, the great Buddhist monk and teacher, Taicho Daishi, guided by a woodcutter Gongoro Sasakiri, climbed high up Mount Hakusan, an isolated sacred mountain, in order to meditate.
One night, while Taicho was sleeping after beginning his rigorous regime of spiritual exercises, the guardian deity of Mount Hakusan appeared to him in a dream and said:
‘Lying about twenty-three kilometers from the foot of the mountain is a village called Awazu. There you will find an underground spring of hot water with wondrous, curative powers, which have been bestowed upon it by Yakushi Nyorai, the Divine Healer. However, the villagers are unaware of this blessing. Go down from the mountain and go to Awazu. With the people of the village, unearth the hot spring and it will serve them forever.’”
- - - - - - quote - divinehumanity - - - - -

. Hakusanboo 白山坊 Hakusan-Bo, Hakusanbo .
Taichō 泰澄上人 Saint Taicho Shonin / Taicho-Daishi 泰澄大師


.Hakusan Guu 白山宮足王社 Hakusan shrine and
Ashioo Sha 足王社and Ashi-O Shrine "for the deity of strong legs" .

愛知県日進市本郷町宮下519番地 - Aichi, Nisshin town


The various Hakusan shrines are often visited by haiku groups.


Nou Hakusan Jinja 能生白山神社

This Hakusan shrine in itoigawa, Niigata was visited by
Matsuo Basho
and there is now a stone memorial.

新潟県:西頸城郡/能生町 Nou-Machi

akebono ya kiri ni uzumaku kane no koe

morning light -
the sound of the temple bell
swirls in the autumn fog

Matsuo Basho, 1689, July 11

Shioji no kane 汐路の鐘, 越後能生社汐路の名鐘
"The bell for ebb and flood"
Legend knows that this bell made a sound when the tide was coming up, so that the villagers know it and the children can take care on the beach.
The original bell was lost in a fire, but later replaced from the leftovers of bronze that could be found.
It is 107 cm high and has a diameter of 68 cm.
From the inscription of the bell it is known that it belonged to
Hakusan Gongen temple Taihei-Ji
It was made in 1499.
Now it is at Itoigawa 糸魚川市大字能生7239(白山神社).

When Yoshitsune fled to the North of Japan around 1185, the village had about 7 homes of fishermen.
Basho wrote a few haiku at the village, while he stayed with Tamaya Goroemon 玉や五郎兵衛.

source : www.noumachi.com/tamaya

Discussion of the haiku by
- Larry Bole -

The voice of the bell
Eddies through the mist,
In the morning twilight.

--Basho, trans. Blyth

Blyth comments:
"The sound of the bell has taken to it the form of the mist, lingering here, hurrying there, trailing and swirling through the damp air.
Compare Onitsura's verse, Vol. II, page 91."

tookitaru kane no ayumi ya harugasumi

The bell from far away,--
How it moves along in its coming
Through the spring haze!

Onitsura, trans. Blyth


. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 .

hakusan no yuki kira-kira to atsusa kana

in this heat
snow on Mt. Hakusan
shining, shining

Tr. Chris Drake

This summer hokku is from early in the 6th month (July) of 1819, the year Issa evokes in My Year (Oraga haru), soon before Issa's beloved baby daughter died on 6/21. In 1824 Issa wrote another version in which he uses teka-teka to, 'shining, glistening, lustrous' instead of kira-kira to.

Mount Hakusan (2,702 m, 8,865 ft.) is the highest mountain to the southwest of Issa's hometown area, and he is apparently able to see the long, high ridge that forms its peak in the distance. The mountain may get its name ("White Mountain") from the snow that remains even in the summer. Along with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama, Mt. Hakusan was in Issa's time one of the three most sacred mountains in Japan, and Yamabushi mountain monks spread belief in the deity of the mountain, a female god named Shirayama-hime no Kami, around Japan. Even today there are more than 2,700 shrines around Japan devoted to worshiping the mountain, which is believed to be the body of Shirayama-hime, who is accompanied there by the two primal parent deities in Japanese mythology, Izanami and Izanaki (also called Izanagi).

In Issa's time both Shinto believers and Buddhists (often the same people) made pilgrimages to the mountain, and Buddhists believed the female mountain deity was a manifestation of the androgynous bodhisattva Kannon. The Zen master Dogen saw the Hakusan deity in a vision once, and he prayed to her as the shamanic protector of Eiheiji, the large Soto Zen temple he founded. The mountain was also revered by the haikai poet Chiyojo, who, as Issa surely knew, was born not far from Mt. Hakusan. In the present hokku Mt. Hakusan, with its snow shining brightly in the strong summer sun, is not simply a physical mountain but a luminous visionary presence, and in spite of the summer heat its coolness comes across the distances and makes Issa feel cooler.

This hokku is worth reading out loud in Japanese just to hear the sound. The play of a, i, and u vowels and the repetition of k- in the sequence ku...ki...ki...ki...ka is striking and adds to the sensation of brightness.

Here is a photo of Mt. Hakusan in summer:

Chris Drake

Related words

***** . NEW YEAR - the complete SAIJIKI

. Hakusan Shrines in the WKD .
Shirayama jinja, Hakusan jinja 白山神社


. Legends about Hakusan / Shirayama .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Seimon Absolving Oath


Absolving of sins (seimonbarai)

***** Location: Kyoto, Japan
***** Season: Late Autumn
***** Category: Observance


seimonbarai 誓文払 (せいもんばらい) absolving of lies
..... Ebisugire, Ebisu gire 夷切れ(えびすぎれ)

On the 20th day of the tenth lunar month.
(Some saijiki place this now in early winter).

Prostitutes and merchants of Kyoto go to a special shrine, Kanjaden 官者殿, to pray and get absolved for for all the lies they have been telling their clients in order to maintain their good business.
To attune for their sins, they make very cheap bargain prices and this has formed into the normal bargain sales of kimono shops and later the large department stores.

Later a visit to this small shrine was also done to get absolved for lies in a love relationship, especially for the many geisha of the Gion quarters.
During the visit, the geisha was not allowed to say a word, it was therefore

mugon moode 無言詣 shrine visit without talking.

Ebisugire refers to the fact that it was done on the Day of Ebisu, the Deity of the Merchants.

seimon 誓文 is a written oath.

. Ebisu えびす 恵比寿 .

. Mugon Mode at the Gion Festival .


Kanjaden 官者殿 Kanjaden Shrine Hall
Shijoo Teramachi 四条寺町

It is close to Yasaka Shrine and the Gion quarters in Kyoto and belongs to the Yasaka Shrine group 八坂神社.

Deities in residence

Amaterasu no Omikami 天照大神
Susanoo no Mikoto 素戔嗚尊

. . . and also
Tosa no Boo Shooshun 土佐坊昌俊
Priest Shoshun from Tosa

(1141 - 1185), Shoshun Tosanobo (Shoshin Tosanobo)

永治元年8月15日(1141年9月19日)? -
A priest and military commander of the Heian Period.
The story is related to Minamoto no Yoshitsune.
On his way to Kumano, Tosanobo had come to Horikawa to take the life of Yoshitsune, on behalf of his brother Yoritomo, but Yoshitsune him sign an oath of loyalty to himself on three pieces of paper each instead .

Three written oaths were kept at Hachimangu, one at Kumano Gongen and the third had been burned to ashes. Tosanobo then ate the ashes to convey his sincerity to Yoshitsune.

But Tosanobo was going to attack Yoshitsune anyway in that night.
Yoshitsune's loyal retainer Benkei mistrusted the written oath of Tosanobo and warned his master.

The story then continues with betrayal and revenge . . .

Tosanobo Shoshun, his real name was Shibuya Konnomaru 渋谷金王丸.
source : www.hi-ho.ne.jp/kyoto

source : cardiac.exblog.jp

洗馬 武蔵坊弁慶・土佐坊昌俊
Benkei and Tosanobo riding (washing) a horse
a pun with seba 背馬→せば=洗馬」

Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳


source : www.kyoto.zaq.ne.jp

Yoshitsune makes Tosanobo write an oath

Now kept at Horikawa Gosho in Kyoto 堀川御所.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Yoshitsune: A Fifteenth-Century Japanese Chronicle
google book including the story of Tosa no Bo.
source : books.google.co.jp


Related words


. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Handa Inari Festivals Gannin


Handa Inari Shrine Festivals

東京都葛飾区東金町4-28-22 Tokyo, Katsushika

Many people come here to pray for an easy delivery (anzan 安産).

The main festival is on the first Sunday in April.

The main attractins are a parade of fox masks and of
gannin boozu mendikant street performers.

They wear red robes and a read headgear and carry a red flag with the name of Handa The Fox Deity 半田の稲荷大明神. In the other hand they have a bell to ring constantly.
Thus they ward off the evil influence of the gods of illness, especially smallpox in the Edo period.
Parentw with little children give them some money and they will perform prayers for protection.
On auspicious situations they performed dances, even comic kyogen performances.

Look at many photos here
source : rekishi-roman.jp


source : tetsuyosie



On behalf of someone who can not do it himself
they perform ritual dances or visit a shrine or
recite prayers to take on the illness of a person.

source : piasi69


gannin, ganjin 願人 street performers
..... ganninboo 願人坊
..... gannin boozu 願人坊主 mendicant monks
petitioned monks, itinerant monks,
fund- raising priests during the Tokugawa period,
even earlier in the Azuchi-Momoyama period

They started from Mount Kurama in Kyoto and from this shrine in Edo and soon were popular all over Japan, taking on illness from the people.

There is also a Kabuki play where
Bando Mitsugoro 坂東三津五郎 appears as a Gannin Bozu.


The Actor Onoe Matsusuke I
as a Mendicant Monk (Gannin Bozu)
in the Play Keisei Ide no Yamabuki,
Performed at the Nakamura Theater in the Fifth Month, 1787, c. 1787

by Katsukawa Shunko (1743-1812)
source : Art Institute Chikago


A catfish posing for Gannin Bozu



source : www.nichibun.ac.jp

The catfish has the body of a human, with a tatoo on the arm.
He holds a special stick in one hand and a red folding fan in the other.

zeni shakujoo 銭錫杖 "money stick"

A small "hand stick" 手錫杖 made from bamboo, with a split side.
Some coins with a hole are hung on a thin string. If the stick is shaken, it makes a sound like chari-chari チャリチャリ.

This stick is used when dancing to make an accompaning sound, for example the chobokure dance チョボクレ.
source : kabuki - mitsugoro


Ehon Hayabiki - Illustrations from Edo
画本(えほん) 早引(はやびき) - 画本早引
葛飾北斎 Katsushika Hokusai

8 半田稲荷 Handa Inari
東京都葛飾区にある。創建は和銅とも永久年間とも。子供の疱瘡、麻疹、安産祈願の参詣が多く、江戸中期 願人坊主 という者「葛西金町半田の稲荷、疱瘡もかるい、麻疹もかるい、運授・安産御守護の神よ」と節面白く謡江戸市中から全国を謡い踊り歩いたと伝えられる。
source : ehonhayabikiue

. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) 葛飾北斎 .


The Arts of the Gannin

Popular religion in Tokugawa Japan (1603- 1868) was supported by the efforts of many mendicant monk-like figures who provided the populace with prayers, invocations, and talismans, as well as with dancing, music and recitations.
One of the best known types of such monk-performers was the gannin bozu, who was affiliated, at least nominally, with the Kurama temple near Kyoto.
Gannin art, remnants of which can still be found throught Japan, were highly heterogenous, some were associated with Buddhism, others with Shinto, yet others were entirely secular in nature.

Read the full text here (PDF):
source : Gerald Groemer, Yamanashi
Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 58,1999: 275-320

some vocabulary

chobokure ちょぼくれ Chobokure music
chongare ちょんがれ Chongare music

dai gori 代垢離 proxy water ablutions
dai mairi 代参り proxy pilgrimage

hifu 秘符 secret charms and amulets

Kurama gannin 鞍馬願人 Gannin from Kurama mountain

shokyoo koodan 緒経口談 explaining sutras

Sumiyoshi odori 住吉踊り Sumiyoshi dance, Osaka
... kojiki hooshi 乞食法師 beggar monks from Sumiyoshi
. WKD - Sumiyoshi dance and rice planting ritual .

sutasutaboozu, sutasuta boozu すたすた坊主 monks wearing only a string loincloth in the cold, ascets of the Edo period


. Kurama in Kyoto 鞍馬山 .

Things found on the way

. Inari Shrines and Amulets .


Related words

. Fox Shrine Festival (Inari Matsuri) .

Street performances 大道芸人  daidoo geinin
. Dengaku mai 田楽舞 Dengaku dance .

. Chindonya ちんどん屋 street musician .
commercial street band

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Shichikoozan Pilgrimage


Shichikozan Pilgrimage (shichikoozan mairi)

***** Location: Nagasaki
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance


shichikoozan mairi 七高山詣 (しちこうざんまいり)
Shichikozan pilgrimage

lit. pilgrimage to the High Mountains

A pilgrimage in Nagasaki town, to seven mountains, during the time from January 2 to January 15. The seven mountains represent the seven most important shrines of Japan.
Similar to the pilgrimage to the temples of the Seven Gods of Good Luck in Edo.

. even Gods of Good Luck 七福神 .

The townspeople put on straw sandals (waraji) and walk to the seven "Mountains", temples and shrines around town.
They combined it with visits to eateries and had a good time on the road, which sometimes lead through forests and small mountain trails.

source : sitikousan.html
Check this link for more photos.

Nagasaki Shichikosan Mairi 長崎七高山巡り

Konpira san 金比羅山
Shichimen san 七面山
Hookazan 烽火山
Akibayama 秋葉山
Buzenboo 豊前坊
Hikosan 彦山
Atagoyama 愛宕山 (or Iwaya san 岩屋山)

The highest mountain on this trip was 400 meters, the whole tour took about 12 kilometers.

In the local dialect it is pronounced
chigosan チゴサン

The name shichikoozan 七高山 is an auspicious pun with
shichigosan 七五三, the festival for children in November.

. Shichigosan (shichi go san 七五三) .
Seven-Five-Three Festival


Offering White Fish to the magistrate of Nagasaki

source : nagasaki-r.seesaa.net

White fish from the fish traps at Urakami yana 浦上簗(白魚簗)was a speciality.
After visiting the Seven Mountains, the Nagasaki townsfolk would finally end up in Urakami to have a party.
In Nagasaki, these fish were best when only 2 - 2.5 cm long.
Whet it got warmer, they started to grow, so during the New Year holidays they were best.

The small fish were put in a festive barrel (tsunodaru 角樽) coated with black laquer, so as not to damage their white skin when carrying them to the Nagasaki Magistrate (nagasaki bugyoo). They should have been offered to the Shogun in Edo, but that was simply impossible, so the Magistrate got them to taste.
After that offering, fishing of the White Fish was forbidden until next year.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. Konpira san 金比羅山 .

. Shichimen san 七面山 .

Hookazan 烽火山

. Akiba san 秋葉山 .

. Buzenboo 豊前坊
Hikosan 彦山 .

.Atago san 愛宕山 .
Atago san 愛宕山 (or Iwaya san 岩屋山)


Shichikoozan -
and then a bowl
of Chanpon soup

Gabi Greve, New Year 2011

長崎 ちゃんぽん Nagasaki Chanpon

. Local Dishes from Nagasaki .

Related words

***** . NEW YEAR - the complete SAIJIKI

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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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 : eventful.com/events

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.

CLICK for more photos

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.

CLICK for more photos

. 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.

CLICK for more photos

. . . . . 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