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Calendar of annual rituals


Imamiya-reisai (Imamiya Shrine Festival) 今宮例祭
Hotaru-hojo-sai (Releasing Fireflies Ritual) 蛍放生祭
Hotaru-hojo-sai (Releasing Fireflies Ritual) 蛍放生祭


Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is working to improve the environment and preserve the native ecosystem. We have improved the water quality in the precinct, so that wildlife can flourish.
This ritual takes place at Yanagihara Shinchi (柳原神池, literally Sacred pond at willow field). We have improved water quality and clarity in the pond through a natural percolation system, which uses charcoals and stones. As summer comes, fireflies start to hatch and fly around the pond and stream.

Hotaru-hojo-sai(ReleasingFi.jpgThe firefly ritual is held to recognize the preciousness of life and the passing of the seasons, and to thank our kami for giving us life and daily sustenance.
In the ritual, fireflies are dedicated to our kami, with Kagura dancing and Gagaku music. Fireflies are then released to the pond by the priests.
Foreign diplomats and their families are invited, and some of their children participate in the releasing of fireflies.  
The sight of fireflies flying around clear water in the twilight shade is striking.

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

Onikku-kensenko-kosha-sai (Consecrators) 御日供献饌講講社祭
Ôharae (Major Purification Ritual) 大祓
Ôharae (Major Purification Ritual) 大祓


Oharae (大祓、major ritual of purification) is held to remove impurities and sins. Harae (、purification) is held at the beginning of all Shinto rituals, and it is one of the most important rituals.
Shinto believes that people unconsciously come into contact with various types of defilement such as uncleanness, matters related to blood in everyday life, and anything related to death. In order to purge these, Oharae is conducted twice a year, and the body and spirit are purified and refined.

Koshinsatsu-shono-sai (Burning of Returned Amulets Ritual) 古神札焼納祭
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