Monday, May 16, 2011
Yesterday was the Grand Spring Festival down in Tsuwano at the Taikodani Inari Shrine. Before the main ceremony could begin the miko assisted the participants with water purification, starting with themselves.
As well as the 4 miko there were 8 priests (or 6 priests and 2 trainee priests) and 4 representatives from the town taking part.
After everyone was ready the Guji (head priest) came out and then lead the procession to the ceremonial area.
The ceremony took place in a Himorogi, a sacred enclosure which probably is the form earliest shrines took before buildings were introduced after the introduction of Buddhism. The big umbrella is for the head priest.
The ceremony was short, and as far as I could tell there were no norito (prayers)
The Miko were holding sprigs of cherry blossoms, though as the cherry blossoms had passed 3 or 4 weeks ago these were plastic, fitting perhaps as most of the shrine is concrete.
Then everyone headed inside the main building which was full of paying customers who had paid handsomely for the privilege of a purification ceremony.