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Calendar of annual rituals


Autumn’s Eve – 9th August
Bonbori-matsuri (Bonbori Festival) 雪洞祭
Bonbori-matsuri (Bonbori Festival) 雪洞祭

Bonbori is a Japanese lamp with a paper shade. Various pictures and examples of calligraphy offered to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu are made into shades for the lanterns, which are lined up beautifully along the pathway to the shrine. About 400 lanterns are set up in the precinct for the Bonbori festival.
The festival was first held in 1938 with the cooperation of artists and celebrities living in and around Kamakura city. Today, the shrine receives many contributions of drawings from famous people for the making of the lampshades. During the Bonbori festival, Bonbori are placed in the precinct, and people can enjoy the masterpieces inscribed on the lanterns, and the fantastic sight of twilight shadow and soft lights after sunset. The candle lights lining the stone paths in the twilight is a much loved scene of summer.

The Bonbori festival is composed of the following rituals and events from autumn’s Eve to 9th August

Autumn's Eve
Nagoshi-sai (End of Summer Ritual) 夏越祭


Nagoshi-sai(EndofSummer).jpgThe ritual for the End of Summer takes place on the last day of summer to purifiy defilement and purge the body and the spirit. A special ancient-style purification is held at the pond.
Chinowa (a large ring made of cogon grass, about 2m in diameter) is set up on the pathway leading to the shrine for the purging of misdeeds, misfortunes, and impurity.

The first day of Autumn
Risshu-sai (Start of Autumn Ritual) 立秋祭


Risshu-sai(StartofAutumn).jpgThe ritual for the Beginning of Autumn takes place on the first day of autumn. Prayers are offered for an abundant harvest and thanks given for a healthy life. A bell-ringing cricket is dedicated to the shrine kami and conveys the pleasure of the coming of autumn with its bell-ringing sound.

※Kami (the Japanese word for Shinto deities or sacred beings)

Sanetomo-sai (Minamoto Sanetomo Ritual) 実朝祭


Sanetomo-sai(MinamotoSaneto.jpgThis ritual for Sanetomo, the 3rd Kamakura shogunate praises his virtue.

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