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Okumakabuto Matsuri, Nakajima, Noto Peninsula

The Okumakabuto Matsuri is most unique on the Noto Peninsula. Huge banners (wakubata), animated dancing, and the distinctive rhythms of gongs and drums express old relationships with the Korea Peninsula. It is said that visitors from the other side of the Japan Sea brought with them the gods of the Kumakabuto Arakashihito shrine, which worships Arakashihiko no kami and Tsunega-arashito no kami. 






































The Okumakabuto Matsuri is an autumn festival celebrating the year's bounty from the field and the sea. The evening before the festival, each of the 19 Kumakabuto branch shrines in other villages welcomes hohei (kami spirit tablet) from the main Kumakabuto shrine and put it in their mikoshi, and prepares the wakubata banner. Next day sarutahiko (a long nosed tengu goblin) leads the mikoshi and wakubata in procession to the main shrine, where carriers begin jostling the mikoshi and wakubata and hoist them as high as possible. With the chants of wasshoi, the shrine begins to be packed with the mikoshi and wakuhata. It was just sarutahiko who guided Ninigi no Mikoto and other gods to descend to earth (Mt Takachiho) from heaven (Takamagahara).





From the main shrine, all 19 branch mikoshi and wakubata follow the head shrine's mikoshi to the festival area (otabidokoro) at the riverside of Kamo. Whenever the procession has a brake, taruzake (barrelled sake) is drunk baldly and in plenty from barrels. The houses along the village road open their doors and generously offer porches (engawa) for visitors to rest. At the destination of Kamo River the sarutahiko leap and dance frenziedly to the pounding of drums and the banging of gongs. The wakubata are tilted horizontally and flailed energetically back and forth.