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Detailed information is supplied for the rites in blue.

January

New Year's Celebration

One of the most popular traditions in Japan is the New Year’s Day shrine visit to present greetings to the kami and pray for happiness in the New Year.

Many people visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu throughout the year, but the precinct is crowded with enormous numbers of visitors at New Year. We hold many special rituals in this period to celebrate the New Year.

※Kami (the Japanese word for Shinto deities or sacred beings)

1st
Saitan-sai (New Year's Day) 歳旦祭

5am

Saitan-sai is held at all shrines and at the Imperial Court in the early morning on 1st January. We celebrate the arrival of the New Year, and offer prayers for the blessings of the kami in the new year.
Saitan-sai at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is held at 5am, and in a ritual called Kagura-hajime-shiki at 7am at the Lower Worship Hall, a dance is performed and dedicated to the kami by eight girls.
Saitan-sai.jpgSaitan-sai(NewYear'sDay).jpg

※Kami (the Japanese word for Shinto deities or sacred beings)

3rd
Genshi-sai (Celebration of the Foundation of the Imperial Line) 元始祭
4th
Chona-hajime-shiki (Start of Carpentry Work) 手斧始式
Chona-hajime-shiki (Start of Carpentry Work) 手斧始式

1pm

This ritual used to be held before any important construction work. Today, it is held to announce the starting of building work in Kamakura city.
Scaffolding workers carry a sacred tree trunk into the shrine from the second torii gate as they intone a traditional song, Koyari-ondo ( 木遣り音頭 ). The tree trunk is placed in front of the Lower Worship Hall. After a ritual performed by Shinto priests, a building craftsman performs a traditional ritual using ancient tools and techniques.

5th
Joma-shinji (Dispelling Evil with Sacred Arrows) 除魔神事
Joma-shinji (Dispelling Evil with Sacred Arrows) 除魔神事

10am

Archers wearing traditional costume shoot arrows at a target on the back of which is written the character oni (), meaning devil. This ritual comes from an old Japanese idea that the bow and arrow have special power over devils. This ritual is held on the west side of the Lower Worship Hall.

1st to 7th
Gohan-gyoji (Offering of the Sacred Seal) 御判行事

from 9am to 5pm

Gohan-gyoji(OfferingtheSacr.jpgDuring this period, the sacred seal is moved from within the main shrine, and a priest gives it to people who wish for health and safety during the coming year. Samurai in the Kamakura period are thought to have been given this seal to pray for victory.

2nd Monday
Seijin-sai (Coming of Age Ceremony) 成人祭
Seijin-sai (Coming of Age Ceremony) 成人祭

3pm

People who will turn 20 years old this year celebrate their coming of age on the stage of the Lower Worship Hall.
On this important occasion, the new adults offer thanks for the blessings of their ancestors and guardian kami, and swear to fulfil their obligations as adults.
 

※Kami (the Japanese word for Shinto deities or sacred beings)

15th
Sagicho-shinji (New Year's Bonfire) 左義長神事
This festival takes place over the 3 days including the nearest weekend from the day before the first day of spring and theregore the dates change each year. Please contact the shrine to confirm the dates.
Tsurugaoka-yakuyoke-taisai (Apotropaic Ritual to Expel Evil Spirits)鶴岡厄除大祭
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