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Aoi Matsuri festival in kyoto 2021: CANCELED due to COVID-19

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2019 Aoi matsuri festival; what to see?

Rituals prior to Aoi matsuri

Yabusame (Japanese traditional archery)

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

“Yabusame” is a Japanese traditional archery on horse. This yabusame is held in order to pray the safety of Aoi matsuri festival. The archers shoot arrows three times on their steeds.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

My turn, ヒヒン!

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

A track for Yabusame. Horses run in the field devided by ropes.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

Take a look at an archer. He dresses in “Kariginu”, the garment for hunting in Heian period.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

“Kariginu” was a clothing for hunting but became a plain cloth for aristocrats.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

These plates are targets.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

As Amulet, we can have the target which was broken by arrow.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

The way an archer shoot an arrow and break a target with it.

Let us see Yabusame in video. The archer breaks all targets.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

An archer takes white silk cloth as his prize.

2017流鏑馬神事 下鴨神社

He dances and shows his appreciation.

Saioh-dai Gokei no gi (Purification of Saioh-dai)

Nowadays, Saioh-dai purifies herself at a stream called Mitarashi-gawa in Shimogamo shrine. Saioh dai Gokei no gi takes place Kamigamo and Shimogamo shrine every other year.

2017斎王代禊の儀2017斎王代禊の儀

These little girls in orange and white serve for Saioh-dai.

2017斎王代禊の儀

She put her hands into the river and purifies herself.

2017斎王代禊の儀2017斎王代禊の儀

She wipes her hand with a sheet of paper.

 

2017斎王代禊の儀2017斎王代禊の儀

 

2017斎王代禊の儀2017斎王代禊の儀

These ladies are participants of parade of Aoi matsuri festival. A Priest purifies them.

Enjoy the Gokei no gi of 2018!

Busha shinji (Taking away evil spirit with arrow)

2017歩射神事2017歩射神事2017歩射神事2017歩射神事

Priests and archers enter into the area of Shimogamo shrine.

2017歩射神事2017歩射神事2017歩射神事

An archer shoots an arrow over “Romon” gate to get rid of evil sprit because the messenger of the emperor passes through the gate.

歩射神事

The arrow is called “Hikimeya”. Take a look at the arrowhead. There is a red object. It is called “Hikime”. When the archer shoots the arrow, “Hikime” makes sound. The sound take away the evil spirit.

2017歩射神事

This is a common arrow. It has a small arrowhead. Be sure the difference between them.

2017歩射神事2017歩射神事

This is an another bowing ritual called “Momoteshiki”. The word “Momoteshiki” means ten archers shoot ten arrows.

Kamo kurabeuma (Kamo horse race)

いちきしま ひめ
いちきしま ひめ

Canceled due to COVID-19

2017賀茂競馬2017賀茂競馬

This horse race is held to pray for peace, prosperity, and rich cultivation.

Mikage matsuri

御蔭祭2016

Mikage matsuri is the most important ritual prior to Aoi matsuri. In this ritual, priests brings new-born “Kami”, a Deity of Shinto to Shimkogamo shrine.

“Kami” has two aspects. The one is fierce aspect called “Aramitama”. It brings us anything bad like disasters, famine, malady, and so on. The another is peaceful aspect called “Nigimitama”. It bring us anything good like harvest, peaceful state of mind, and so on.

御蔭祭2016

At Mikage shrine, the sub-shrine of Shimogamo shrine, “Aramitama” of Kamotaketsunumi no mikoto and Tamayorihime no mikoto, both of them are enshrined Kami in Shimogamo shrine, is born. Take a look at the picture above. The priest in red holds a small box. The Aramitama of both Kami is in it.

御蔭祭2016

The horse brings the box to the shrine.

This is a ritual called “Kirishiba-shinji”. The horse sees the ritual on behalf of Kami on its back.

If you were interested in Mikage matsuri, please see this article (Sorry! Written in Japanese only.).

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