品川区の上神明天祖神社 願いをかなえる白蛇祈願

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Annual Events

Please enjoy the traditional events and make your domestic life energetic and comfortable.

--- Chief priest---

Mutsuki January
Enjoy the New Year’s events!

The 1st day (Gantan New Year’s Day).
Hatsu-mode (The lst visit to the shrine).

We also call Jan.1st Ganjitsu.
At the beginning of the year, we welcome Toshikami (The god and the goddess of the year), at our home, and pray for them. It is the linchpin of the January events.
The preparation begins before the end of the year. We prepare Shimenawa (straw rope decoration) and Kadomatsu (pine decoration for the gate) Kagamimochi (flat round shaped Mochi rice cake ) Omiki (sake offered to the shrine). Many people will make their lst visits to the local deity on Gantan (Jan.1st).

Small info of Ganjitsu (Jan.1st).

門松 Kadomatsu (pine decoration at the gate)
Gods are believed to be in the evergreen and that is why it is put at the gate. Not only pine branches but also willows, chestnuts, oaks and bamboos are used.

鏡餅 Kagami-mochi (rice cake)
It is a flat, round shaped Mochi rice cake in which the New Year’s god is said to live, it is put on a sheet of white paper and decorative Konbu (kelp) on Sanbou. On top of it is put a big, flat and round Mochi, putting another smaller Mochi and a bitter orange.
There are a few more different ways of preparation of Kagami-mochi rice cake.

お年玉 0toshi-dama(New Year’s monetary gift)
Our ancestors used to think our soul to be round shape. Accordingly parents used to give their children round Mochi, but the custom has changed into giving some money.

0sechi-ryori (Traditional Japanese New year’s dishes)


We put our prayer and wish into it.
For example:
We eat Kuromame (Black soybeans)
They signify diligence and Kazunoko(herring roe) represents the prosperous descendants.
Kobu-maki(Fish rolled in kelp) means joy.
Toso(Spiced sake) is made from several kinds of herbs and it is believed to give us longevity.
0zoni (rice cakes boiled with vegetables) is believed to have god's power.

Saitansai ceremony
The 1st ceremony is held on Jan.1st.
We pray for not only our parishioners’ safety and good health but pray for all the people in our country.
Chief parishioners and guests attend the grave ceremony.

Jan.5th Benten-sha shrine’s 1st ‘snake’ ceremony
On the 1st ‘snake day’, we offer our prayer to ‘white Snake God’ so that the God may give us prosperity.

Jan.7th Nanakusa (7 herbs). 七草
Nanakusa-gayu (7 herb rice porridge).
Seri (water dropwort).
Nazuna (shepherd’s purse ).
Gogyo (cut weed).
Hakobera (chick weed).
Hotokenoza (henbit).
Suzuna (turnip).
Suzushiro (radish).
We eat 7-herb rice porridge, wanting our safety and longevity.
From Jan.1st through 7th is called Matsu-no-uchi (New Year’s days) and on Jan.8th we put away the New Year’s decoration.

Jan.11th Kagami-biraki (The breaking of Kagami-mochi rice cake)鏡開き
When we break Kagami-mochi rice cake we don't use kitchen knives but we use our hands or a mallet. We put 'mo-chi' into 0shiruko(sweet red bean soup) and eat.

Jan.12th Seijin-shiki Ceremony (Coming of age day)
We celebrate young people when they turn 20 years old and become grown-ups and they pay their visits to the local deity.

Jan.15th 0takiage’ (Burning the New Year’s decoration at the shrine)
The gods are believed to return to their home on the smoke.

Kisaragi February

Feb.3rd Setsubun (Eve of the beginning of spring)
Children’s Setsubun Ceremony.
At 6 pm the ceremony begins.
On the Setsubun day, we throw roasted soybeans in and out of the house as we say,
0niwasoto, Fukuwauchi (Demons be gone, good fortune come in!), wishing for the driving the evil away.
We set up a twig of holly with the head of sardine at our gate.
Setsubun comes a day before Risshun (formal start of spring) by lunar calendar.
We have four Setsubun.
Rikka is the formal start of summer.
Risshu is the formal start of fall.
Ritto is the formal start of winter.
Each Setsubun comes a day before Risshun, Rikka, Risshu and Ritto.

Small info of Setsubun.
Risshun is also called Risshun-shogatsu(New year) and it is the starting day of year.
子供節分祭1 子供節分際2

Feb.11th Kigensetsu(National Foundation Day)
at 10 am the ceremony begins.
In the 1st year of the Japanese calendar (B.C.660).
Emperor Jinmu, the 1st Emperor of Japan ascended to the throne in Kashihara, Nara prefecture, after the ceremony, we offer our prayers to Kashihara-jingu shrine and we sing our national anthem and Kigen-setsu song.

Feb.11th at 11am the ceremony begins.
Fushimi-inari-sha shrine The 1st "Horse Day" ceremony was held on Feb.1st The 0kami-sama(grand god) was enshrined on the slope of Mt. Inari-yama, in the 4th year of Wado(A.D.711). Since that year, the Inari god has been admired as god of agriculture and commerce: after the ceremony, at Naorai place, Inari-Zushi (stuffed sushi) and Temaki-Sushi (do it yourself sushi roll) and Maccha (green powdered tea) is served by Omote-senke school people.
伏見稲荷社1 伏見稲荷社2

Fed.17th Kinen-sai Ceremony
At 10 am the ceremony begins.
The ceremony is also called Toshigoi-no-matsuri Festival. It is one of the most important ceremonies, in which we pray for bumper harvest and the safety of our country.


Yayoi March

Hina-matsuri (Girls’ Festival)雛祭り
Originally Hina-masturi Festival is one of the five Sekku and comes from Joshin-no-Sekku (Girls’ Festival). Since the Edo period, we have placed dolls and peach blossoms and Hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cake) on a Himosen(red carpet) platform. The festival is also called Momo-no-sekku (peach-blossom Sekku) or Yayoi-no-sekku (Sekku in March).

Small info of Hina-masturi Festival.
It is good for us to place Hina-dolls on a day after sekku. On the other hand, placing dolls a day before Sekku is called Ichiyaka-zari (one night decoration), and it is thought to be bad or unlucky.
On the day of Hana-masturi festival we eat Chirashi-Zushi' (scattered Sushi that dishes up ingredients on Shari (vinegared rice)), Amazake (traditional sweet low alcoholic Japanese drink made from fermented rice), Hina-arare (rice crackers) for the girls' Festival, Hamaguri clam clear soup and Yomogi-mochi rice cake (mug wort) around 21st 'Shunki-sorei-sai' (spring equinox day) during the ceremony, we pray for our ancestors' spirits and thank for them.

March 21st Shunki-koreisai(spring equinox day) 春分
On March 21st the sun rises from the due east and sets in the due west and the length of day and night is equal. We call the day Shunbun-no-hi (spring equinox day) and 3 days before and after the day we call Higan (equinoctial week). During the week we pray for our ancestors' spirits at home or pay a visit to our ancestors' tombs. At court Shunki-koreisai ceremony is held (The Imperial Court's Ceremony for the spring).

Small info of Shubun-no-hi
During the equinox week, we eat 'Bo-ta-mo-chi' in spring and we eat Ohagi in fall, but as a matter of fact, they are the same.
Bota-mochi and Ohagi are rice cake covered with bean jam.

Mitamaya-no-matsuri 御霊舎
In Japanese Botan is peony; Hagi is bush clover. This is a kind of play on words. Mitamaya-no-masturi (family Buddhist altar).
When we pray for the dead, we use Buddhist altar instead of a household Shinto altar (Kamidana).We prepare Kamidana at a place which is a little higher than a man's height. On the other hand we prepare mitamaya a little lower than a man's shoulder. On Obon Day or on the Shunbun-no-hi or on the anniversary of s person’s death, we usually offer his or her favorite food or drink or the 1st harvest of the season to the Mitamaya.


Uzuki April

Ohanami (cherry blossom viewing at the beginning of April).
The original Ohanami is ‘playing in the mountain’ or ‘going to the seashore’, on a spring day. They used to go outside and enjoyed eating out under the cherry blossoms, they ate Obento (a box lunch) and drank sake as the Japanese have liked cherry blossoms.

12th Itsuku-shima Island Benten-sha Annual Ceremony. At 11 am the ceremony begins.
The 1st Benten-sha shrine's construction was before that of Tenso-jinja shrine which used to be called Hebikubo ‘Dragon shrine’ (Before 1322 A.D. Kamakura period).
It has been admired as ‘wonder-working god’.
It is also called Jinushi-benten (goddess of music and wealth) and we all admire her as local guardian goddess. Amazake (traditional sweet low alcoholic Japanese drink made from fermented rice).
厳島弁天社1 厳島弁天社2


Satsuki May

5th Tango-no-sekku (Boy’s Festival)
端午の節句 Originally the ceremony came from China. They used to get rid of ‘evil’ by drinking herbs and Shobu (sweet flag). The custom came to Japan during the Heian period and again we play on words here.
Sho-bu (sweet flag) has another meaning of ‘bravery’ and so Samurai warriors admired Sho-bu (sweet flag), after the Edo period we began to prepare Koinobori (carp streamer), Kacchu (armor) so that children might grow up strong and succeed in life.

Small info of Tango-no-sekku
We eat Kashiwa-mochi (rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf ) It is because leaves of an oak never fall in fall but they brave cold winter and finally fall in spring , which signifies our descendants’ prosperity.
Chimaki (rice cake wrapped in bamboo leaves)
We eat Chimaki and take a bath of Shobuyu (bath with leaves and roots of Japanese iris).
The strong scent of them drives the evil spirits, we believe.

How to enjoy Shobuyu
Put 5~10 leaves of Shobu in the hot water and that is all. Japanese iris is said to have ‘power’ of recovery from fatigue, stiff shoulders, sensitivity to the cold and neuralgia.

Otaue-matsuri Ceremony
お田植え祭1 We usually offer ‘god's rice’ to the visitors to the shrine in the early spring; the rice comes from A-i-chi village in Shimoina province, Nagano prefecture from where the mother of the honorable chief priest came. We will do the same this year and we went there and held the serious rice planting Ceremony.

お田植え祭2 お田植え祭3

Minazuki June

Around 21st the summer solstice.

30th Nagoshi-oharai-shiki(The summer purification ceremony) At 6:00 p.m. the ceremony starts.
Oharai is held in June and in December so that we can drive our sin and impurity away and transfer them to the Katashiro (paper doll) and have ourselves purified.

Fumizuki July
Lets enjoy the summer events

7th Tanabata-masturi Festival.

7th Tanabata-masturi Festival.

1. The harvest Festival.

2. The story of two stars.

It originates form a romantic Chinese legend, in which two lovers Vega in the East of the Milky Way (Shokujosei, Alpha Lyrae) and Altair in the west (Kengyusei Alpha Aquilae ), who are torn apart by the god but they can reunite once a year.

Small info of Tanabata
We make Tanabata-kazari decoration on July 6th night and hang it under the eaves .We put it away on July 7th night.
We often attach our wish to the decoration and have our wish granted. In some districts they hold the Festival in August.
Hiratsuka ,Kanagawa prefecture and Sendai, Miyagi prefecture are very famous.

Where can you find the ‘Two stars’?
織姫彦星 At around 9 pm, please look up to the east sky.
The most brilliant stars, you can find, and they are the ‘Two stars’.

Katashiro-nagashi (setting paper dolls adrift into the sea or the river).
形代流しWe do so on the Shiroko-kaigan Beach.

Around 21st Doyo-no-ushi (The summer ‘Ox day’).
土用の丑As a matter of fact, we have four Do-yo, that is 18 days before Risshun,Rikka,Risshu,Ritto. These days ,18 days before Risshu (from July 20 through August 8th) the weather is very changeable and we call this period Do-yo.
On ‘Ox Day’ it is our custom to eat roasted eel.

Eel's nutrition
うなぎ It has a very high calorie and also has much vitamin A.
The liver has 7 times as much as a man's daily need (15000 IU, vitamin A), and other minerals such as zinc, vitamin B1.D.
They give you much stamina and also decrease stress and prevent skin disease and anemia.

Good food for prevention of the summer fatigue.

豚肉●Pork ,which has good protein and vitamin B1.

野菜●Tomato , green pepper, cucumber, perilla , egg plant , okra.

ガーリック●Garlic ,spice.

梅酒●You can drink 'u-me' plum sake.

July 13th~16th, August 13th~26th, O-bon
お盆 Both Oshogastu (New Year’s Days) and O-bon are very important to the Japanese.
O-bon is an event where the age-old customs of ancestral worship became tied up with the Urabon-e, the ghost festival of Buddhism. During the O-bon period, the ancestral spirits will return home to spend time with their family.
At Yasukuni-jinja shrine in kudan,Tokyo, the Mitama-matsuri event is prosperously held.

1.We prepare Bon-dana shelf.盆棚
It is an altar for welcoming our ancestors’ spirits, we set up 4 - bamboo pillars in a room and make an altar under them. Recently however we put a small table and put some offerings on it.

Mukae-bi: a fire made at the front door to welcome our ancestors' spirits on the evening of July 13th.Okuri-bi: a fire to see off the spirits.

3.Shoryo-nagashi: The last event of O-bon which sends the spirits back to the other world.精霊流し
Formerly we floated the bon-bune (bon boat), with the offerings to the river or on the sea, but these days water pollution problem occurs and we don't s do it any longer, but in only a few districts the customs remain.

Let's make offerings
We make an ‘Ox’ of eggplant and a horse of cucumber.
The spirits come home riding an ‘Ox’ or a Horse.

ナス牛・キュウリ馬We make their legs of hemp stalks and tails of corn silk, eyes of red beans, ears of nandina’s leaves, saddle of field peas and rein of vermicelli.


Nagatsuki September
Let's enjoy autumn events!

9th Choyo-no-sekku
重陽の節供This event came from China .In China lucky nine, the largest number of ‘odd number’ overlaps on September 9th. This is the origin of Sekku. It is also called ‘chrysanthemum Sekku’ or ‘Double 9 Sekku’. In Nara period and in Heian period, they had events of making poems and other cultural events in the Imperial palace.
Chrysanthemum has good scent and dignity and brings longevity and drives away evil.
We enjoy drinking ‘Chrysanthemum sake’ and have ‘Chrysanthemum cuisine’.

Small info of Choyo-no-sekku
Sekku has deep relation with flowers. It is because the god, we believe, dwells in the flowers. We drink ‘Chrysanthemum sake’ because we want to be shared with the god's spirits.

How to prepare Kiku-sake
1. Separate Kiku petals and wash them well.
2. Put some vinegar in the boiling hot water and put them into the cold water.
3. Break off moisture and pour some vinegar soy bean sauce.
菊酒 菊の花のおひたし

This annual ceremony is the most important of our nation and the Imperial Family and all the people, the representatives of the parishioners and honorable guests attend it.

Jugo-ya(Full moon)
十五夜 From the middle of September through the beginning of October. Originally August 15th night by lunar calendar is the Jugo-ya. But we call the days between the middle of September through the end of October Jugo-ya (Harvest moon) Originally we thank for good harvest and offer Satoimo (taros), that is why we call the moon I-mo moon.

We also offer Tsukimi-dango dumplings and prepare 7 autumn herbs and enjoy a ‘harvest moon’. We put a small table, on which we place dumplings and 7 herbs.

1. Susu-ki: Japanese pampas grass
2. Hagi: Bush clover
3. Kuzu: arrowroot
4. Nadeshiko: Fringed pink
5. Ominaeshi: Yellow patrinia
6. Fujibakama: Boneset
7. Kikyo(Asagao): Balloon flower
How to make Tsukimi-dango dumplings (30 pieces)
1. Prepare 200gs fine rice flour and add 200cc water to it. Mix it thoroughly and knead it with hand.

2. Knead it until it is sticky and tear it off and boil it in the hot water.

3. After it floats up, take it out and put it in a bowl. Then grind it with a wooden pestle, and knead it more with hand.

4. Repeat the kneading again.

月見団子5 5. Divide it into about 30 pieces.
※you can add red bean jam or Miso with pounded sesame and sugar.(Miso is thick salty paste produced by fermented soybeans whit salt and rice and barley fungi)

Around 23rd Shuki-sorei-sai ceremony (autumn equinox). 秋分
It is a day when we console our ancestors’ spirits and thank for them. In the spring we have Haru-higan and around September 23rd we have Aki-higan and 3 days before and after the autumn equinox are called O-higan. We often remark the heat or the cold ends around O-higan. In reality the season changes at the time. We also visit our ancestors' tombs during the O-higan period. In the Imperial palace, Shuki-korei-sai ceremony is held.

Small info of autumn Equinox Day
Around the date we often see Higan-bana(cluster amaryllis) bloom beside the paths between rice paddies or in the cemetery. The flower is also called ‘Heavenly flower’. Please do not pick them or tear out only enjoy seeing.

Shimotsuki November

七五三15th Shichigosan 7, 5, 3 year old children visit the shrine.
We pray for the growth of children at auspicious ages. 7, 5, 3 is an annual event which takes place on November 15, celebrated by boys whose ages are 3 and 5 by girls whose ages are 3 and 7.

23rd Niiname-sai Ceremony
新嘗祭神饌 Niiname-sai Ceremony is ‘Harvest Festival’.
We offer newly harvested rice and others and thank for a good harvest. This event is the most important.
The representatives of the parishioners are present at the ceremony.
We offer the newly harvested rice to 3000 people, who make their 1st visits to the shrine.

平成27年初もうでのご案内1 平成27年初もうでのご案内2 平成27年初もうでのご案内3 平成27年初もうでのご案内4

Shiwasu December

Around 22nd Toji (Winter solstice)
冬至 The day time is the shortest and the night time is the longest. Year by year the winter solstice falls on a different day around 22nd.
Before the solar calendar became established, we used the lunar calendar, after the winter solstice, the day time grows longer day by day and so the winter solstice is the beginning of the revolution of the sun and the starting point of the calendar.

Small info of the Winter Solstice
We eat pumpkin and Konjak (paste made from Konjak flour) and take a hot citron bath, it is because pumpkin and citron have much vitamin and they are thought to have the power of prevention of flu.

The effect of a hot citron bath and how to prepare it.
You can cut 5~6 citrons and put them into a bowl and pour the hot water and let them steam for a second.
After they become cooled, put them into a cloth bag and put it in a bath. Citron makes your blood circulation more smoothly and keeps you warm for a long time.
You can also expect your skin to be more beautiful.

30th Shiwasu-oharai-shiki’ Ceremony The ceremony begins at 6 pm
The ceremony purifies latter half a year's sin and impurity.
Let's welcome New Year's Day with sound mind and body.

31st Omisoka, the very last day of a year. We also call it Joya (we used to be awake all through the night)
大晦日 Toward the Omisoka, we make cleaning of our house and prepare for pounding Mochi (rice cake). Usually we clean our house on December 13th. From December 13th we begin the preparation for the New Year's Day. We also cleanse our house Shinto altar and Buddhist altar.

Small info of Omisoka
On the day, we eat Toshi-koshi-soba noodles (the New Year's Eve buckwheat noodles) Every month, some people eat a month's end soba late at night, because they are busy. The New Year's Eve soba, came from this custom because soba noodles are long and they wish for their longevity.

How to prepare household Shinto altar.
神棚のまつり方 There are some different ways of the preparation. Anyway we have important things. They are as follows.
1. Jingu-taima talisman (amulet charm)
2. A talisman of Ujigami (Local Guardian Deity)
3. Some other talisman of your worshiping shrine
Jingu-taima is given to the shrines around the country and you can have one when you make your 1st visit to your local shrine. Please put it on the Shinto altar and wish for your safety.

Joya-sai (New Year’s Eve Ceremony)
We thank for the past year's safety and peace.

Kojin-sai (wild god ceremony)
Kamado-Okami (kitchen stove god) is equal to three gods: omusubi-no-kami god, Okutsuhiko-no-kami god, Okutsuhime-no-kami goddess.
We respect them as the god of ‘fire’ and ‘kitchen stove’. From the ancient times, we have respected ‘The Pure Fire’ and we have believed calamity comes from ‘Fire’. Kamado (kitchen stove) = kitchen is a place where food is cooked and we need the place every day. Both in the Imperial palace and in our household, the place is very important and so, we place the Shinto altar near the Kamado and pay respect to it, according to the Japanese tradition, we have respected both Nigitama (gentle god) and Arami-tama (wild god). The Japanese folk lore tells us that there are two kinds of gods. One is warm, gentle and kind at heart and the other is very fearful and scary. The second one is Kojin, he is also god of 'fire' and "god of kitchen". During the Edo period, ever 28th day and in January, May and September and in December we hold the ceremony to get rid of Kojin Evil. We wish to expel the "god of Greed "the "god of Obstacle" and the "god of Hunger and Thirst". We wish our plea to be realized and turn the Evil into Sanbo (Happiness). That is why the Kojin-sai ceremony is important.

The burning the old Ofuda Talismans
We thank for the past year's safety and peace and pray for the coming year's safety and peace. 古神札お焚き上げ式



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