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Kure City , Hiroshima
(Yutaka-machi)
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Autumn Festival ~Okitomo district~    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 24 minutes
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This is the great autumn festival held on the first Sunday of September every year in the Okitomo district. The yagura, which had been set up on the previous day by the festival group members, the festival group members, and four yagura-rider children riding on the shoulders of the festival group members start for the shrine from the regional assembly house. At the shrine, the "Miyadashi" shinji (god worshipping ritual) is held. Once the shinji is completed and the unique music and song called "Naku" is over, the yagura is carried out of the shrine premises to the otabidokoro. When the mikoshi (portable shrine) and the members arrive at the otabidokoro, a "shishimai" (lion dance) inherited from ancient times in the Okitomo district is dedicated and then the "Ao-oni no mai (dance of the blue demon)" is dedicated as well. The dances are performed to pray for "rich harvests of all grains" and to "drive away the devil." On the way back from the otabidokoro, movements are made as if to hinder the procession of the mikoshi by rotating the yagura sideways. After a lunch break called ashiyasume, the afternoon procession of the yagura starts. When the yagura proceeds on to the front of the shrine and the last yagura procession prior to "Miyaire" is completed, rice cakes are thrown to the crowd and dances are dedicated, and then the festival is ended by the shinji "Miyaire." Although the population of the region is diminishing, all children and adults attend the festival and have great fun.

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