Regional Cultural Asset Portal

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Nakatsu City , Oita Related category:
Hibaru-Matsu (Designated Intangible Folklore Cultural Asset of Prefecture) Kamasu Rice Cake Festival (Designated Intangible Folklore Cultural Asset of City) Saisukui Festival (Designated Intangible Folklore Cultural Asset of City)    



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Entire story: 77 minutes
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Hibaru-Matsu is a festival of syncretized Shintoism and Buddhism, inherited in Hibaru-san Shoheiji Temple, and dates back to about 700 years ago. After the 3 deities finish travelling on portable shrines, “the Rice Planting Festival” is conducted to the sounds of ancient songs, flutes, and drums, in front of the gods, in order to pray for abundant harvest of the year.
Kamasu Rice Cake Festival is inherited in Kifune Shrine, an old shrine known for the legend of Emperor Keigyo in the mythical period of Japan, according to which, once upon a time, a large flock of white birds (doves) flew in with seedlings of potato in their beaks, which suddenly turned into rice cakes and saved people from severe famine. Naked young men scramble for divine rice cakes made in the shape of the white birds (doves) and stuffed in kamasu-dawara (straw rice bags). The cakes are scattered and distributed to the visitors. It’s an event held to pray for sound health and abundant harvest.

“Saisukui” means “scooping small fish.” In the middle of every November, boys in a white headband and a white loincloth scoop fish in a small stream, after purifying themselves, at the foot of Kifune Shrine and offer them to the shrine, in order to pray for good harvest of the year.

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