2019 Aoi matsuri festival; what to see?
Rituals prior to Aoi matsuri
Yabusame (Japanese traditional archery)
“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.
My turn, ヒヒン!
A track for Yabusame. Horses run in the field devided by ropes.
Take a look at an archer. He dresses in “Kariginu”, the garment for hunting in Heian period.
“Kariginu” was a clothing for hunting but became a plain cloth for aristocrats.
These plates are targets.
As Amulet, we can have the target which was broken by arrow.
The way an archer shoot an arrow and break a target with it.
Let us see Yabusame in video. The archer breaks all targets.
An archer takes white silk cloth as his prize.
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.
These little girls in orange and white serve for Saioh-dai.
She put her hands into the river and purifies herself.
She wipes her hand with a sheet of paper.
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)
Priests and archers enter into the area of Shimogamo shrine.
An archer shoots an arrow over “Romon” gate to get rid of evil sprit because the messenger of the emperor passes through the gate.
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.
This is a common arrow. It has a small arrowhead. Be sure the difference between them.
This is an another bowing ritual called “Momoteshiki”. The word “Momoteshiki” means ten archers shoot ten arrows.
Kamo kurabeuma (Kamo horse race)
Canceled due to COVID-19
This horse race is held to pray for peace, prosperity, and rich cultivation.
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.
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.
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.).