Over 35 portable shrines are paraded around Hyozu Taisha Shrine. Two of them are carried only by women. They are called "Ayame," meaning iris flowers. One is a portable shrine (mikoshi) and the other is a taiko drum. Other mikoshi are carried by children and men. The festival is held annually on May 5 at Hyozu Taisha Shrine. Photos shot on May 5, 2010. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Established in 717 (Nara Period), Hyozu Taisha worships a god named Onamuchi-no-Mikoto (大己貴命) also called Yachihoko (八千矛神). Onamuchi-no-Mikoto is a god of nation-building, farming, business, and medicine. It is the same god worshipped by Izumo Taisha in Shimane Prefecture. Yachihoko is known as the god of military strength. The shrine also has a nationally noted Japanese garden. A short bus ride from JR Yasu Station. More about Yasu here.
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Held on the fourth Sunday in May in a sacred rice paddy near Mikami Shrine, women and men in colorful costumes plant rice seedlings accompanied by singing, taiko drumming, and dancing. Starts at 10 am with a Shinto ceremony, then the rice planting is held from 10:30 am to 11 am. The rice paddy is called Yuki Saiden (悠紀斎田記念田) which was the used to produce the rice used for the Showa Emperor Hirohito's accession to the throne in 1928. Near Yamade-mae bus stop near the foot of Mt. Mikami. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Mikami Jinja is near the foot of Mt. Mikami. Its Honden main hall is a National Treasure. Three other buildings are Important Cultural Properties. The shrine worships a deity called Amenomikage-no-Mikoto. Accessible by bus from JR Yasu Station. Get off at Mikami Jinja-mae.
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Nicknamed "Omi-Fuji" (Shiga's Mt. Fuji) since its conical shape resembles Mt. Fuji, Mt. Mikami is a sacred mountain belonging to Mikami Shrine near the foot. The mountain is easy to spot from afar. An elevation of 432 meters makes it a fairly easy climb to the top, taking 40-80 min. depending on which trail you take. There is a steep trail and a less steep trail which takes longer to go up. I took the less steep trail.
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Dotaku means bronze bell. Yasu is the site of the discovery of Japan's largest ancient bronze bells. This museum explains the history and discovery. Adjacent to the museum is a nice park with replicas of Yayoi Period grass huts. The museum is open 9 am to 5 pm, closed Mon. (open if national holiday). Short bus ride from JR Yasu Station.
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The Sports Recreation (Spo-rec) event is a national sports meet held annually for adults of all ages. The 21st Spo-rec was held in Shiga during Oct. 18-21, 2008. The opening ceremony was held on Oct. 18 at Kibogaoka Park in Yasu. The park also had numerous food and souvenir booths, new sports demonstrations, and stage entertainment where we performed the "Lake Biwa Rowing Song."
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