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In Ito City, there is a historical shrine with trees of 1000 years old by Matsukawa River. We call it “Otonashi Shrine”.
Today, I introduce a festival that I was informed from Ito Tourist Association.
Once, in Heian Era, two large parties, Heike clan and Genji clan, were opposed to each other and Heike clan practically ruled Japan. One day, a young man of Genji family was exiled to Izu area and met a beautiful girl. His name is Minamoto Yoritomo and her name is Yae-hime, the princess of Ito family that dominated Ito area. It was not long before they fell in love. They met each other at this shrine “Otonashi Shrine” many times at night, and soon they had an adorable baby.
Now, her father, the authority of Ito, got inflamed with rage. At that time, Heike’s ascendancy was so strong as to be announced as this, “Men of non-Heike family won’t be treated as a human”. He killed the baby and took his daughter away from Yoritomo for fear that he might be punished by Heike. Yoritomo escaped from him. Eventually, Heike clan was defeated by Yoritomo and he opened the new era, “Kamakura Shogunate”. People said, “Swellheaded Heike never last long”
At this Shrine, a very unique and eccentric festival is going to be held on Nov 10th, known as Shiritsumi Matsuri. In connection with Yoritomo & Yae-hime’s meeting, the festival begins from the evening to night, without any lights during the ritual. People pass around Sake in the darkness. As a signal of next turn, they pinch their hips in handing on, and that became exactly the root of the name “Shiritsumi”.
After the ritual, people enjoy hip-wrestling on the basin with the sound of festival music. Anyone can join it. Champion’s prize is 20,000 Yen or more and all participants will have a commemorative gift.
If you’ve got any chance to visit or pass by Ito City on the day, please stop over to see or join it.
Good day !
Shiritsumi Matsuri Festival in Ito City
Place ： Otonashi Shrine From 18:00 – 21:00 on Nov 10th.
Access ： 15 minute walk from JR Ito Station.
※Please get a guide-map at Ito Tourism Association in front of Ito Station.
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