Established in 947, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine enshrines Sugawara Michizane who was a scholar, litterateur and politician in the beginning of Heian Era (lived from 845 to 903). It is the headquarter of more than 12,000 Tenmangu, shrines dedicated to Sugawara Michizane’s spirit, all over Japan and is affectionately called “Tenjin san” among local people and believers.
There are many various kinds of seasonal highlights in this shrine such as Ume tree blossoms, colorful maple tree leaves and crops festival in autumn. Zuiki Matsuri is a festival with Mikoshi, portable shrines, for thanking the bumper crops of the year. Zuiki is a stem of taro and this festival is originated in the ritual to offer the new crops, vegetables and fruits before the altar. After the ritual to move the spirit into the portable shrine from the shrine, three Horen (imperial carriages) and Matsu-hoko (long-handled spears) will leave the shrine, and parade around the shrine area with about 350 priests and shrine parishioners. On the first and last days of the festival, primary school girls chosen from the shrine area will offer a dance called Yaotomemai. As this festival lasts for 5 days, please enjoy the festival atmosphere in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine!
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