The Mitarashi Festival at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto is a must-see event that draws in thousands of visitors annually. Held in late July or on the midsummer day of the ox, this festival marks a significant shift in Japan’s seasonal calendar.
Festival-goers partake in various rituals and activities, such as receiving a candle, immersing themselves in the refreshing waters of Mitarashi River, and crossing under a charming arched bridge.
The festival also offers an array of special souvenirs and the chance to witness the enchanting sight of candle lights illuminating the river’s surface at night. It’s an ancient cultural celebration that promises good health for the year ahead.
- Mitarashi Festival is one of the most exciting events in Kyoto in July, attracting thousands of visitors to Shimogamo Shrine.
- The festival offers a chance to experience ancient Japanese culture and is considered a turning point in Japan’s seasonal calendar.
- Rituals and activities during the festival include wading into the clear, cold water of Mitarashi River, crossing under a small arched bridge, offering prayers for good health at Inoue Shrine, and symbolic internal purification with a cup of spring water.
- The festival also offers offerings and souvenirs such as special omamori, foot-shaped ema, and participants receive a small candle.
What is it?
The Mitarashi Festival is a traditional celebration held at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto during late July or on the midsummer day of the ox. This cultural experience invites participants to immerse themselves in the clear, cold waters of the Mitarashi River and cross under a small arched bridge. It is a unique and refreshing way to connect with ancient Japanese traditions.
During the festival, attendees receive a small candle and wade into the river, symbolizing a purification of the body and soul. Crossing under the bridge is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. This traditional celebration offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage and serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining traditions in the modern world.
The Mitarashi Festival is a time to embrace the freedom of immersing oneself in nature and connecting with the spiritual realm. It is a celebration that transcends time and brings communities together in a joyous and meaningful way.
Japan Rail Pass Price Hike
Note: The Japan Rail Prices Are Going Up A Massive 62% In October 2023, But there’s still time to snap up the old prices. Klook has pledged to sell at the old prices up to September 30th. This will let you activate your pass up until December 28th 2023.
Read more About it here.
Significance and History
Visitors to Shimogamo Shrine can experience a turning point in Japan’s seasonal calendar during the late July or midsummer day of the ox. The Mitarashi Festival, with its rich origin and cultural significance, is a celebration that captures the essence of ancient Japanese culture.
Dating back centuries, this festival is believed to bring good health and longevity to those who participate. The rituals and activities during the festival are both refreshing and spiritual. Participants receive a small candle and wade into the clear, cold water of the Mitarashi River. Crossing under a small arched bridge, they offer prayers for good health at Inoue Shrine. Symbolic internal purification is achieved through a cup of spring water.
This festival’s roots run deep, and its power to cleanse and rejuvenate continues to captivate both locals and travelers alike.
Rituals and Activities
Participants in the festivities receive a small candle and immerse themselves in the clear, cold water of the Mitarashi River. This wading tradition is not only a refreshing experience but also holds deep spiritual significance.
The act of wading into the river symbolizes internal purification, as participants cleanse their bodies and minds. It is a chance to let go of negativity and embrace a fresh start. As they cross under the small arched bridge, they leave behind any burdens and worries, ready to receive the blessings of good health and longevity.
The offering of prayers at Inoue Shrine further enhances the spiritual journey, while the symbolic act of drinking spring water serves as a reminder to nourish oneself from within. This ritual of internal purification is a powerful way to connect with one’s inner self and find a sense of freedom and renewal.
Offerings and Souvenirs
Attendees can purchase special omamori and foot-shaped ema as offerings and souvenirs during the festivities. These unique cultural artifacts hold deep symbolic meaning and serve as tokens of good fortune and protection.
The omamori, or protective amulets, are intricately designed and believed to bring luck, health, and success to their owners. They can be carried in bags, attached to keychains, or hung in homes and workplaces.
On the other hand, the foot-shaped ema are wooden plaques where visitors can write their wishes and hang them at the shrine. These ema are not only decorative, but also serve as a physical representation of prayers and desires.
Whether you’re seeking blessings, protection, or a memorable souvenir, these offerings are a wonderful way to embrace the ancient traditions and spiritual essence of the Mitarashi Festival.
The mesmerizing evening illumination at Shimogamo Shrine enhances the cleansing process and creates a rare and mesmerizing experience amidst the natural surroundings.
As the sun sets, the shrine is bathed in a soft, ethereal glow, casting a spellbinding ambiance over the entire area.
Visitors are drawn to the enchanting sight of the illuminated candle lights dancing on the surface of the river, creating a truly magical scene.
This mesmerizing spectacle adds a spiritual significance to the festival, deepening the connection between the participants and the divine.
As they witness the shimmering lights, they feel a sense of awe and wonder, knowing that they are partaking in an ancient tradition that has been celebrated for centuries.
The evening illumination at Shimogamo Shrine is a captivating experience that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of those who witness it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the origin of the Mitarashi Festival?
The origin of the Mitarashi Festival can be traced back to ancient Japanese culture. This festival holds great significance as it is believed to be a turning point in Japan’s seasonal calendar, and is associated with good health and longevity.
Are there any specific requirements or dress code for participating in the festival?
To participate in the Mitarashi Festival, there is no specific dress code, allowing individuals the freedom to wear what they feel comfortable in. The only requirement is to have a genuine desire to experience the festival’s spiritual and cultural significance.
How long has the Mitarashi Festival been celebrated at Shimogamo Shrine?
The Mitarashi Festival has been celebrated at Shimogamo Shrine for centuries, making it historically significant. It holds cultural significance as a chance to experience ancient Japanese traditions and is considered a turning point in Japan’s seasonal calendar.
Are there any restrictions on who can participate in the rituals and activities of the festival?
Restrictions on participation in the rituals and activities of the Mitarashi Festival are minimal, making it accessible to all. This inclusivity reflects the cultural significance of the festival, which give you a refreshing and spiritual experience to everyone who attends.
Can visitors bring their own candles or are they provided by the shrine?
Visitors can bring their own candles or use the ones provided by the shrine during the Mitarashi Festival. This adds to the festival atmosphere and allows participants to personalize their experience.
The Sum Up
To sum it up, the Mitarashi Festival at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto is a truly magical experience that allows visitors to embrace the ancient culture of Japan.
The festival’s rich history and significance, combined with the various rituals and activities, create a unique and immersive atmosphere.
From wading into the clear waters of Mitarashi River to offering prayers for good health, every moment of the festival is filled with meaning and tradition.
And let’s not forget the beautiful illuminated candle lights that create a mesmerizing spectacle in the evening.
Attending the Mitarashi Festival is not only a chance to participate in ancient rituals, but also an opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant culture of Kyoto.