Gion Festival, which has more than one thousand years of history, is a one-month-long event that is composed of more than ten different ceremonies.
Unfortunately, Yoiyama and Yamahoko Jyungyo (Float Parade), the main parts of this festival, are over,but there is one last chance to experience Gion Festival. It’s a ceremony called Nagoshi Ceremony at Ekigamisya Shrine.
This is an event where visitors go through a big circle made of thatch. This thatched circle represents a legendary story about a God named Susanomikoto and person, Somin Shorai. When Susanomikoto was looking for a place to stay the night, exhausted from his journey, he visited the house of Somin Shorai who was poor, and his rich brother. Because Susanomikoto did not look like a God at all because of his tough journey, the rich brother did not accept him, while Somin Shorai welcomed him in and treated him with respect. Susanomikoto appreciated Shorai’s hospitality, gave him thatched circle and promised Shorai’s family and descendants would not suffer from epidemics.
Now Somin Shorai is enshrined at Ekigamisha Shrine in Yasaka Shrine (Eki means epidemic, and Kami/gami means God). On July 31st a 2 meter-tall thatched circle is prepared and people go through, wishing that they can have healthy lives in the future.
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