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Sasebo City , Nagasaki Related category:
Yamodo Matsuri festival - Giant sacred rope of Yodohime Shrine    

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Yamodo Matsuri festival is a folk event that has been passed down in Yodohime Shrine in Matsubara-cho, Sasebo City. The parishioners of Yamine-cho and Matsubara-cho bring rice straw cultivated in the previous year and replace the oshimenawa, the giant sacred rope of the shrines Ichi no Torii (the front guard frame).
It is practiced as an event for the Lunar New Year on January 26 every year by two young men whose parents are alive, one chosen from Yamine-cho and one from Matsubara-cho, who act as Yamodo (corrupted from "Yama-udo" meaning mountain people) to carry out a series of rituals to bring back the god of the rice fields who has gone back to the mountain during the winter, in order to begin the years rice planting.
The origin of this event is not known but it is likely that the ritual was already practiced in the early Edo period (1603-1867) at the latest. The festival has been designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property by Nagasaki Prefecture as a valuable event that conveys to us ancient folk rituals.

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