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Yurihonjo City , Akita
(Yashima-machi)
Related category:
Hassaku Festival of Yashima Shinmeisha    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 23 minutes
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Shinmeisha is enshrined in the bosom of Mt. Chokaisan, renowned as a sacred mountain. In early fall, at Shinmeisha, the Hassaku Festival, which dates back to old times, is held to pray for a good harvest and for peoples safety. The whole city participates in the festival from its preparation. The young (youngsters up to 42 years old) take leading parts in the event. On the Yoimiya Matsuri (eve of the festival), following the ceremony performed at Shinmeisha, a tour of the mikoshi, or portable shrine, takes place. The mikoshi goes round from Shinmeisha to otabisho, a branch shrine where the god is worshipped for a specified short period. People call this tour Okudari, meaning coming down. Thereafter, a kagura recital contest is held by kagura players of each block, and the eve of the festival finishes. The second Sunday of September, at the main festival, costume-clad youngsters dance in procession by each block, and the mikoshi leaves the otabisho, goes round, and returns to the shrine where Kangyosai, a ceremony of the return of the mikoshi, is held, and the divine service of the festival ends.

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