Sunday, April 15, 2007


Yesterday being a fine afternoon, Echo and I went to see latter part of the multi-phased Sanno-sai festival, one portion of which I described in Omikoshi Rock, in which the several omikoshi from the splendid mountain precincts of Hiyoshi Taisha are brought down for "birth" in the Yomiya otoshi ceremony, but we hadn't yet gotten to see the subsequent phase of the multi-day festival (the entire ceremonial proceeding actually takes about 6 weeks).

I'd previously noticed the big torii that was standing by the lakeside on some otherwise empty land next to a nice little park beside the road into Otsu, but I hadn't known how the place was used, never connected it to the Sanno-sai. But yesterday being the afternoon it was, Echo and I went to see this part of the festival and that's where it was held. The day after Yomiya otoshi, the seven large and heavy omikoshi were brought down to the shore and loaded onto a barge by the young muscular guys who were doing all the extended rocking the night before.

Pumped full of energy from last night and ready to go, the fundoshi-clad groups rocked and loaded the heavy omikoshi onto the ceremoniously decorated barge that was moored at the torii (on the barge, note the four bamboo poles at the corners, linked with straw rope hung with shide that sacredize a space), then when all omikoshi were boarded, the barge pulled away and ceremonially sailed on the lake for an hour or so. The photos below show from loading to departure.

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