Sep. 15, 2023 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 15th, 2023
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An elegant and luxurious long procession held in Arashiyama
Nonomiya Shrine was the place where Saio, an unmarried princess, purified herself before heading to the Ise Jingu Shrine, known as the oldest shrine in Japan, to serve the gods and emperors. Located in Sagano, popular for Arashiyama and the bamboo grove, Nonomiya Shrine has been a sacred place with “Kuroki Torii”, the oldest style of torii gate in Japan, and “Koshiba-gaki”, a low fence made of small branches. Its beauty and sanctity were depicted in The Tale of Genji, a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century in the Heian Period. 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 wearing 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 played in this procession!
The procession of Saio
Saio was an unmarried princess who was sent to Ise Jingu Shrine as “Mitsue-shiro” who serves the gods and emperors. This custom was already established in the Asuka Period (about 592-710) and it is said that 64 princesses were sent to serve the emperors for 660 years. This procession recreates Princess Saio’s trip heading to Ise with the long procession. Please enjoy the gorgeous and luxurious procession!
It is a purification ceremony where Saio and the ladies who serve her purify themselves by soaking their hands in the river. Be sure to check out the beautiful clothes the ladies are wearing as well as their elegant gestures during the purification ceremony.