Hoshi Jinja Oyumi Matsuri

Kitagawa-mura, Aki-gun, Kochi


Hoshi Jinja, Kitagawa-mura, Aki-gun, Kochi
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January 8th (once every two years)


board of education, Kitagawa-mura


This is quite a lively festival in which 1008 arrows are shot by 12 archers chosen from the Ujiko (shrine parishioners). This festival has been held since the Heian era, more than a 1000 years ago, to pray for a good harvest and to exorcise devils, and is a designated intangible folk cultural property of Kochi Prefecture.

The 12 people chosen as archers must make ablutions to purify themselves in the Nahari River in the early morning for eight days from January 1st and cannot eat the meat of animals until the festival.

In the Oyumi festival, you will see the unique manner of drawing the bow. Firstly, the archers bend their upper bodies upwards to see the sky, and then, leaning forward to aim at a mark, draw the bowstring.

The ritual performed at the beginning, called “Sandoyumi-no-Gi,” is important. The arrow must not pass over the sacred Shinto straw festoon set above the mark. Subsequently, “Jindo-no-Ya” is performed. This is where the archer sends only one arrow into the forest outside the precincts and it is not permitted to pick this arrow up. “Karimata-no-Ya” is a ritual to exorcise the devil. While drawing a bowstring, the bow is shaken to left and right, and then the bowstring is drawn back without discharging.

After these rituals, “Senyasuji” is performed where the archers compete in bow technique. The figures dedicated by Ujiko are used for the mark. When the arrow has hit the mark, the relatives of the archer come up to the range and crowd together to celebrate with excited drinking, which is one of the highlights of this festival.

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