- Departing Ceremony
- Let’s start the parade!
- I Bumped into deer on the way to Kasuga Taisha.
- Praying to the god of Daijin-sama and celebrating the arrival!
At 10 am, the departing ceremony was held in Nara Park, Nobori Ojienji. Once I got to the ceremony, there were variety of people; people in costumes from Nara period, Kasuga Taisha Miko (shrine maidens), and visitors from all over Japan. The president of the service association and the chief priest of Kasuga Taisha gave a greeting to everyone and exorcised the evil spirits. They then explained the song of “Ise-douchu-uta”, which has been passed down through generations at the Mitsue village in Nara. We also practiced how to sing the song during the parade, and how to clap our hands.
Let’s start the parade!
While departing from the shrine, Miko handed out small bags of white sand to us.
This sand will be spread in the main shrine and the rear hall. A string was attached to the bag, so we could wear it around our necks. Hiwada were carried by 4 mikoshi through the Ichinotorii and Ninotorii gates, and then down a 1.5 kilometer road. I followed the parade from the rear and noticed the crest of the Fujiwara Family on their backs.
I Bumped into deer on the way to Kasuga Taisha.
After passing the Ichinotorii gate and entering the Kasuga Taisha pathway, I saw a lot of deer walking towards the shrine. Cheerful voices shouting “Yoisho” and the sound of flutes and drums were echoing in the silent approach. The lion dance, or “Shishimai”, was performed to the song Ise-douchu-uta, and it felt so festive! Deer were curiously looking at us, because it’s unusual to them. Some of the deer even followed us to the shrine.
Praying to the god of Daijin-sama and celebrating the arrival!
We passed through the Ninotori gate and offered the sand we were carrying by putting it into barrels. The 4 mikoshi also arrived in front of the main shrine. They offered the song and words for celebration. The 60th Shikinezoutai ceremony starts in 2015, after finishing the pre-Kadensenzasai festival, and will finish in 2016 after the Hondensenzasai festival. The shrine is currently under repair for the Hondensenzasai festival in the coming next year, so we offered hiwada and sand for repairing the shrine next year. I was so happy to see the Shinenzoutai ceremony, only held every 20 years since the Kasuga Taisha was built 1300 years ago.
160 Kasuganocho, Nara, Nara Prefecture