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Kamikochi Hodaka Shrine

Special Shinto ritual in October

Hodaka Shrine, situated alongside Kamikochi’s Myojin Pond, has a special Shinto ritual on October 8th every year. It is a rite to offer up prayers for mountain victims and to give thanks to God. Shinto priests prepare rice, sake, vegetables, fruits, and many other things to offer. People who take part in the ritual flock to the small shrine before 10 AM. At 11 o’clock, a large crowd gathers around Myojin-ike Pond to observe the rite.

First, a Shinto priest purifies all present. He then recites Norito (Shinto prayers), and everyone worships together. After that, two Shinto maidens offer up a dance to God. Their dance, nice and slow, relieves the tension of the whole of the ritual. At the end of the rite, priests, musicians, and maidens move to Myojin-ike Pond and ride in two classic-style boats. The boats move smoothly over the surface of the pond, as if protected by the arms of God.

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