Small New Year’s ritual serving red bean porridge to pray for perfect health
In Japan, January 15 is called “ko-shogatsu”, which means small New Year and the last day of New Year’s period continued from January 1. People hang rice cake flowers called mochi-bana, burn New Year’s decorations like pine branches, and eat red bean porridge on ko-shogatsu day. These are unique customs. Temple and shrine in Kyoto have also various festivities related to small New Year. At shimogamo shrine, porridge festival called Okayu-sai takes place January 15 annually to celebrate the day. Red bean porridge and soybean porridge are dedicated to gods to pray for productiveness of grain and national peace. After the ritual, visitors can have red bean porridge. It is said the red of red beans have the power to expel evil and you don’t get any accident or illness that year. This shrine is also world heritage site and known as a place that has special power. That makes it sound like the porridge has strong effect. Why not visit here to spend a healthy year?
Red and white porridge dedicated to gods
Red bean porridge and soybean porridge are offered before gods to pray for the productiveness of grain and national peace. White one is made with soybeans and chestnuts, and red one with red beans and red rice. Both of them are dedicated on a tray as an offering in Main hall.
Red porridge at Simogamo shrine
Porridge served by Shimogamo shrine has soft mochi in it. The mochi is a piece of kagami-mochi that we offer to gods in New Year. We split it after the ko-shogatsu of January 15, and have the blissful rice cake in gratitude. It was believed that doing this gave you gods’ strength.
Red bean porridge
Warm red bean porridge is served around 11 o’clock to visitors. It tastes a bit bland, so you can feel primary sweet of rice, beans and mochi’s texture. One bowl 300 yen and will be sold until the porridge is gone.
3.0 experience3.0 access3.5 photogenic2.5
Okayu-sai / 御粥祭
|Address||〒606-0807 Shimogamo-izumigawa-cho 59, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto|
|Directions||12-minute walk from Keihan Line Demachiyanaghi Stn [From JR Kyoto Station] From JR Kyoto Station, take the city bus line 205 toward Shijo Kawaramachi Kitaoji Bus Terminal and get off at Shimogamo Jinja-mae. (30 min.)|
|Event time||10:00 - (porridge serving is from some 11:00)|
a bowl of porridge is 300 yen
|Credit cards||Not accepted|
Most of participants are the locals, but the shrine is a famous spot for sightseeing. If you have a plan staying Kyoto on the day, please make a visit.
|Information||Official site has English.|
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese only|