May. 23, 2022 UPDATE
Saigu Gyoretsu Procession- 斎宮行列 -
Even if you don’t understand Japanese, you will surely enjoy the beautiful long procession without any language ability! English website is available.
English and Japanese official website is available
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PeriodOctober 16th, 2022
Story & Recommendation
Elegant and luxurious long procession held in Arashiyama
Nonomiya Shrine was used to be a place where Saio, an unmarried princess, purified herself before heading to Ise Jingu Shrine which is known as the oldest shrine in Japan to serve the God and emperors. Located in Sagano where is popular for Arashiyama and the bamboo grove, Nonomiya Shrine has been a sacred place with Kuroki Torii which is the oldest style of torii gate in Japan and Koshiba-gaki which is a low fence made by small branches. Its beauty and sanctity were depicted in The Tale of Genji which is a classic work of Japanese literature written by a noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century in Heian Period in Japan. Nonomiya Shrine has been receiving reverence from all over Japan as the deity of marriage and pregnancy. Saigu Gyoretsu Procession consists of about 100 people who wear gorgeous and luxurious clothes to recreate the scene of “Saio Gunko” which was a long trip to Ise from Kyoto with hundreds of attendants. It is said that it took about 5-6 days to get to Ise by stopping by 6 temporary shrines. Please also enjoy the ancient court music offered in this procession!
The procession of Saio
Saio is an unmarried princess who was sent to Ise Jingu Shrine as Mitsueshiro who serves the God and emperors. This custom was already established in Asuka Period (about 592-710) and it is said that 64 princesses were sent to serve for the emperors for 660 years. This procession recreates the trip that Saio headed to Ise with the long procession. Please enjoy the gorgeous and luxurious processions!
It is a purification ceremony that Saio and ladies who serve for Saio purify themselves by soaking their hands in the river. Please check out the beautiful clothes that ladies wear and their elegant movements in the purification ceremony.