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天祖神社の御神輿 2009年9月6日 Part 1

鳳輦 golden phoenix on top of omikoshi

Ever since the aforementioned Bon Odori, signs have been going up, and we have observed preparations, for our local shrine’s omikoshi matsuri. Saturday, the 5th, featured the children’s version (kodomomikoshi). While we watched the procession, the man directing the kids struck up a conversation with me and invited us to participate in the following day’s event. He told us to borrow some Happi Coats from the local sake dealer which we did.

tenso jinja omikoshi opening speech

At 9 o’clock on the morning of the 6th we arrived at 天祖神社 (our local shrine) decked out in our new Happi Coats and all ready to lift the mikoshi, bounce it up and down, and wave it back and forth through town. I wasn’t so sure we would get the chance given that there were hundreds of people looking to do the same and only space for a couple dozen lifters at a time.

The local elders (to the right of the above photo) gave speeches before we began, telling us to be safe, enjoy the great weather, and continue the tradition that had been happening for hundreds of years. They only take this mikoshi around town once every three years so we were lucky to be here at the right time.

和傘 wagasa

The procession included not only the mikoshi but also boys dressed like Shinto priests, someone in a Tengu mask, a lady dressed in a traditional Shinto outfit with the above wagasa over her, and others.

gaijin holding the omikoshi

I got my chance to carry the mikoshi at one point (that’s me on the far left) and quickly discovered that it doesn’t work so well when one person is more than half a foot taller than everyone else. Not only do the tall get stuck with far more weight, but they also tip the shrine a bit. This was a great experience, though, and I’ll post some more pictures soon…

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