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Detailed information is supplied for the rites in blue.

September

Reitai-sai (Annual Major Festival) 例大祭

The Annual Major Festival of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu lasts three days from 14th September to 16th September. The Main Annual Rite is the most important for the shrine, so various rituals and events are held during this period. The A zuma kagami records the scene of the first Annual Major Festival of this shrine held on 15th August 1187.

14th
Hamaori-shiki (Purification at the Coast Ritual) 浜降式

4:30am

Hamaori-shiki(Purificationa.jpgBefore starting the Annual Ritual, all priests go to the sea, and hold a purification ritual in the sea. They then bring seaweed to the shrine as proof of purification. This seaweed is hung on all the gates in the shrine. 

14th
Yoimiya-sai (Evening Ceremony) 宵宮祭

6pm

This is a ceremony to announce that the annual grand ritual will take place on the following day.

15th
Reitai-sai (Main Annual Rite) 例大祭
Reitai-sai (Main Annual Rite) 例大祭

10am

Emissaries from the Association of Shinto Shrines (神社本庁, Jinja Honcho) bring offerings. This ritual is conducted by the Chief Priest, and priests, shrine maidens, and 8 local girls also participate.

15th
Shinko-sai (Portable Shrine Procession) 神幸祭

1pm

Shinko-sai(Progress).jpgThis is a parade accompanying three portable shrines, priests, horses, and musicians. The length of the parade is several hundred meters. At the second Torii, the dance called Yaotomeno-mai is dedicated by 8 girls.

16th
Yabusame-shinji (Yabusame horseback archery ritual) 流鏑馬神事
Yabusame-shinji (Yabusame horseback archery ritual) 流鏑馬神事

1pm

Yabusame originated in middle of 6th century as a Shinto ritual in which horseback riders shoot arrows at wooden targets set up in the shrine precincts. Today there are various styles and manners of Yabusame inherited by different shrines and particular families. It was common in the ancient past that the result of Yabusame depended on the number of targets successfully hit. Fragments of the targets were used to tell fortunes. The target and arrows used in successful shots were kept as amulets.

Yabusame was introduced at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in 1187. Minamoto Yoritomo studied the manner of this ancient rite and had his warriors acquire the etiquette and skills necessary for Yabusame. Yabusame was performed as an offering to Hachimang kami. The Azuma kagami records that all the archers perfectly struck all the targets in the first Yabusame at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Understandably, it was the proudest thing in the life of every Kamakura warrior to be selected as an archer in Yabusame.

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

16th
Suzumushi-Hojosai (Releasing Bell Crickets) 鈴虫放生祭
Suzumushi-Hojosai  (Releasing Bell Crickets) 鈴虫放生祭

5pm

 This is a ritual of releasing bell crickets dedicated to kami during the Main Annual Rites. We have been serving the ritual since 2004 in order to recognize the preciousness of life and the seasons’ passing. After the dedication of music and dance by Shinto priests and maidens, they release bell crickets in the precinct. 

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

Autumn Equinox
Soreisha-shuki-reisai (Ancestral Shrine Autumn Ceremony) 祖霊社秋季例祭
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