oa200-20100504_0805.jpg
Held annually on May 4 in Takashima, Shichikawa Matsuri is Oarahiko Shrine's biggest festival (Reisai). It starts with a procession in the shrine's neighborhood.
oa201-20100504_0779.jpg
Leading the procession are 12 yakko-furi men who carry the horseback archer's wooden targets. Yakko-furi were manual laborers of the samurai. 奴振り
oa202-20100504_0788.jpg
Shichikawa Matsuri's yakko-furi dance is a Shiga Prefecture Intangible Folk Cultural Property. 滋賀県選択無形民俗文化財
oa203-20100504_0825.jpg
The Shichikawa Matsuri is held on the same day as the Omizo Matsuri in neighboring Omi-Takashima. So I saw the Omizo Matsuri in the morning, then rushed over to see this festival.
oa204-20100504_0824.jpg
Yabusame horseback archer.
oa205-20100504_0837.jpg
Yabusame horseback archer.
oa206-20100504_0832.jpg
Eight more work horses in the procession. The horses comes from the eight former villages under the shrine's tutelage. 役馬
oa207-20100504_0838.jpg
The young men performing the yakko-furi come from one of the eight former villages in the area. The former villages take turns in participating in the yakko-furi procession.
oa208-20100504_0840.jpg
Entrance to Oarahiko Shrine. The shrine was established in the 13th century. It was patronized by the Sasaki clan in the 14th century when they ruled Omi Province. MAP
oa209-20100504_0841.jpg
First torii of Oarahiko Shrine. It's kind of far from the nearest train station of Shin-Asahi on the JR Kosei Line. Rent a bicycle from the tourist office at the train station. 大荒比古神社
oa210-20100504_0843.jpg
The path to the shrine also serves as the horse track (baba 馬場) for galloping horses (yabusame).
oa211-20100504_0851.jpg
About Oarahiko Shrine in Japanese.
oa212-20100504_0846.jpg
Oarahiko Shrine worships Toyoki-iri-Hiko-no-Mikoto (豊城入彦命), Oaradawake-no-Mikoto (大荒田別命), and the four gods related to the Sasaki clan who ruled Omi (Shiga) in the 14th century.
oa213-20100504_0852.jpg
Toyoki-iri-Hiko-no-Mikoto was the son of Emperor Sujin, the 10th emperor of Japan. Portable shrine is stored in the Haiden Hall during the festival.
oa214-20100504_0853.jpg
Oarahiko Shrine was originally established to appease the god to prevent flooding from local rivers. The Sasaki clan worshipped here whenever they went off to war and when they returned triumphantly.
oa215-20100504_0855.jpg
Nearer to the shrine, the horse track is lined with spectator seating. Apparently, people donated money for a seat to view the procession and galloping horses.
oa216-20100504_0874.jpg
After lunch, the yakko-furi arrived at the shrine at around 1 pm.
oa217-20100504_0876.jpg
After a triumphant return home, the Sasaki clan would perform yabusame horseback archery with 12 horses and 12 targets as an offering to the shrine. This was the beginning of this festival.
oa218-20100504_0878.jpg
They performed their routine twice along different sections of this horse track to enable everyone to see it. It was about 20 min. long.
oa219-20100504_0886.jpg
oa220-20100504_0887.jpg
oa220-shichikawamatsuri.youtube
My YouTube video of the Shichikawa Matsuri in 2010.
oa221-20100504_0888.jpg
oa222-20100504_0890.jpg
oa223-20100504_0891.jpg
oa224-20100504_0892.jpg
oa225-20100504_0897.jpg
oa226-20100504_0899.jpg
oa227-20100504_0900.jpg
oa228-20100504_0905.jpg
oa229-20100504_0906.jpg
oa230-20100504_0908.jpg
Also see my video at YouTube.
oa231-20100504_0910.jpg
oa232-20100504_0916.jpg
The yakko-furi proceeded to the steps leading to the shrine and then dispersed.
oa233-20100504_0923.jpg
oa234-20100504_0931.jpg
At 2 pm, they had a ceremony with the shrine priest and representatives from the eight former villages.
oa235-20100504_0932.jpg
Nice shoes.
oa236-20100504_0933.jpg
oa237-20100504_0935.jpg
Then this cute little boy wandered in.
oa238-20100504_0937.jpg
Turned out that the umbrella holder was his papa whom he had missed.
oa239-20100504_0940.jpg
Next, the horseback archer approached the shrine.
oa240-20100504_0942.jpg
Yabusame horseback archer.
oa241-20100504_0945.jpg
oa242-20100504_0946.jpg
oa243-20100504_0954.jpg
The horseback archer faced the shrine and gave a ritualistic prayer with a bow at 2:20 pm. He was followed by the eight horseback riders who bowed to the shrine.
oa244-20100504_0964.jpg
A procession of musicians went up the steps and walked around the shrine.
oa245-20100504_0967.jpg
oa246-20100504_0969.jpg
They pay their respects to the shrine.
oa247-20100504_0970.jpg
Eight horses waiting.
oa248-20100504_0973.jpg
oa249-20100504_0975.jpg
The musicians and umbrella holders go back down from the shrine.
oa250-20100504_0977.jpg
oa251-20100504_0982.jpg
The banner reads, "Oarahiko Jinja."
oa252-20100504_0985.jpg
oa253-20100504_0987.jpg
At about 2:40 pm, the yabusame horseback archery began with the yakko-furi boys running down the path.
oa254-20100504_0991.jpg
They were soon followed by a horse galloping at full speed.
oa255-20100504_0992.jpg
The boys walk back again.
oa256-20100504_0993.jpg
And they run again ahead of the horse.
oa257-20100504_1000.jpg
The horseback archer did not shoot any arrows. (It takes a lot of skill to do it.)
oa258-20100504_1002.jpg
After his first run, the horseback archer trots back.
oa259-20100504_1003.jpg
The boys running. When you see them, you know the horse is coming so keep off the path.
oa260-20100504_1006.jpg
The horseback archer on his second run. He did not shoot any arrows.
oa261-20100504_1008.jpg
oa262-20100504_1011.jpg
oa263-20100504_1016.jpg
oa264-20100504_1025.jpg
The horseback archer on his third run. He spread his arms while holding a bow and arrow, but did not shoot any arrows.
oa265-20100504_1032.jpg
Then the remaining horses ran a few times as well, three times each.
oa266-20100504_1038.jpg
oa267-20100504_1039.jpg
oa268-20100504_1043.jpg
oa269-20100504_1045.jpg
oa270-20100504_1050.jpg
oa271-20100504_1057.jpg
oa272-20100504_1060.jpg
oa273-20100504_1062.jpg
After the yabusame, the yakko-furi boys performed without the targets. This was around 3:40 pm.
oa274-20100504_1066.jpg
They made their way up to the shrine.
oa275-20100504_1072.jpg
oa276-20100504_1082.jpg
oa277-20100504_1085.jpg
oa278-20100504_1089.jpg
The yakko-furi approach the steps to the shrine.
oa279-20100504_1096.jpg
Then they ran up the steps.
oa280-20100504_1104.jpg
And went to carry the mikoshi inside the Haiden Hall.
oa281-20100504_1108.jpg
oa282-20100504_1112.jpg
oa283-20100504_1117.jpg
Putting on the phoenix ornament atop the mikoshi.
oa284-20100504_1123.jpg
A short prayer by the shrine priest.
oa285-20100504_1132.jpg
A short mikoshi procession led by the shrine priest.
oa286-20100504_1134.jpg
The mikoshi was hauled on a cart.
oa287-20100504_1141.jpg
They paraded the mikoshi down the horse track (baba).
oa288-20100504_1147.jpg
oa289-20100504_1142.jpg
Also see my video at YouTube.
oa290-20100504_1149.jpg
oa291-20100504_1151.jpg
At the end of the baba, they turned around, and I left the scene.
oa292-20100504_1153.jpg
   
94 files on 1 page(s)