Washi Festival 2018 - announcement
1,300 Years Celebration of Washi-Making
This Shinto festival celebrates the 1,300 year anniversary of when Kawakami Gozen, the goddess of papermaking, arrived and taught the local people how to make paper. The following festivities take place at Okamoto Otaki Shrine (岡太神社大瀧神社) from May 2 -5, 2018.
13:00 O-Ori (Carrying Kawakami Gozen down the mountain to Otaki Shrine)
Local men in pure white shrine costumes and formal kimonos carry an empty mikoshi, portable shrine, to the top of the mountain where Kawakami gozen resides. They invite her into the mikoshi and carry her down to Haiden, the shrine’s praying hall.
15:30 Hasshougu Tsukio Togyou
After 150 years, men carry Goshintai from the top of the mountain to the Tsukio shrine.
18:30 Gongensama Hougei (Welcoming Gongensama to Okamoto Otaki Shrine)
Another group of men travel to Goou shrine to pick up Gongensama, a wooden god statue, to take him back to Okamoto Otaki shrine. This special event only is only second time to do. The wooden god statue which once resided in Otaki was moved to Goou shirine in 1575 for protection against Oda Nobubaga’s attacks.
19:00 Yoimiyasai (Welcome Kawakami Gozen ceremony)
The priest officiates the start of the ceremony.
12:30 Hokke Hakko (Reading of the Lotus Sutra)
This is a Tendai Buddhist service in which the eight scrolls of the Lotus Sutra are read, one scroll at a time, with solemn music. It is a very unique service because it is a fusing of both Buddhism and Shintoism, which was prohibited since 1868.
15:30 Yudate Shimji
The shrine priest, shrine maids, and monks perform shugendo, where they purify themselves and visitors by lightly spraying boiled water from bamboo grass onto their surroundings.
Local music bands play to contribute the festival.
9:30 Kami-Noh-Mai & Kami-Kagura
A young girl performs a traditional papermaking dance, demonstrating all the steps in the creation of washi. Young boys sing the kamisuki song to show the happiness of getting washi from Kawakami gozen.
19:30 Gongensama Housou
Local men return Gongensama, the wooden god statue, back to Goou Shrine.
The priests give remarks for the last day of the ceremony.
This is a ceremony to bless the portable shrine before it leaves to travel around the five villages.
12:30～18:00 Kodomo Mikoshi and Watari Mikoshi (Children’s Portable Shrine)
The portable shrine, mikoshi, visits the Goka village shrines Iwamoto, Oizu, Shinzaike, and Sadatomo. At every shrine, there is a big competition between local village men who want the mikoshi to stay longer at their own shrine and the other village men who want to take it to their own village shrine.
19:00 Houso-sai Ceremony
Kawakami Gozen is carried back to her residence.
Local men carry the mikoshi back up the mountain to Kawakami Gozen’s residence. Local people and visitors follow mikoshi and join the prayers. People walk with paper lanterns and sing the ‘Matsuzaka’ song on their way back.