Home > Japan In-depth > Cultural Quintessence > KIE > Ekibyobarai

Ekibyobarai

Cultural Quintessence

Japan In-depth

Kateigaho International Edition

Ekibyobarai
Exorcising epidemics

In times past, epidemics and plagues, ekibyo, were believed to derive from evil spirits or divine retribution for offenses against the gods. Purifying rites of harai came to be performed by a variety of means to exorcise the former or to appease and find favor with the latter. Interestingly, recent new epidemics in the world seem to give these old concerns a new resonance.

Kyoto Gion Matsuri

Floats are ornamented with treasured antique tapestries and art objects from Kyoto and around the world. Riding atop are bands of musicians which play the hypnotic flute, drum and shamisen music called Gion-bayashi.

Chichibu Kawase Matsuri

Chichibu Kawase Matsuri

Kyoto Gion Matsuri

Kyoto's most elaborate festival ensued from appeals to banish a devastating plague in the summer of 869. When it duly abated, a great festival of thanksgiving to the illustrious kami of Yasaka Shrine was held at the emperor's behest. A century later the festival was instituted as an annual event, in praise and continuing petition for ever-renewed blessings upon the city. Through the centuries the event has gained in splendor, reaching today's grand proportions as a nearly month-long series of rites and festivities.

Kyoto Gion Matsuri
Dates: July 1 through 31
Place: Yasaka Jinja and other locales in Kyoto
Tel. 075-561-6155 (General Affairs Section of Yasaka Jinja)

Chichibu Kawase Matsuri

For more than 300 years, the townfolk of Chichibu, in the mountains of Saitama, have celebrated Kawase Matsuri. Inspired by the famous festival of Kyoto, it is also known as Chichibu's O-Gion. In fact, in the precincts of Chichibu Shrine is a small Yasaka Shrine associated with the main one in Kyoto, and the kami of both shrines are honored at this festival. Rites include an evening children's parade, a midnight drawing of sacred water from the river, and the next-day procession of magnificent floats bedecked with umbrellas of paper flowers.

Chichibu Kawase Matsuri
Dates: July 20
Place: Chichibu Jinja and other locales in Chichibu-shi,Saitama
Tel. 0494-24-2277 (Chichibu Tourist Agency)



(C) Kateigaho International Edition All Right Reserved.Top