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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

450 Green Years at Mikami Shrine

Our long-distance advisor in Yasu City, Japan, explains with a generous letter some of the mystery behind the town’s Zuiki Matsuri, a national treasure and an international wonder. Thank you, Jason!


Shrines made of taro stem are constructed each October in Yasu, Japan, a tradition at least 450 years old.

Photo: Human Flower Project

Hi Julie,

How are you? I am truly sorry it’s been so long since we’ve last spoken. I have been unavailable for a while.

Now that things have begun to settle down, I was able to do some research. It took a little while. Apparently not even very many Japanese people are knowledgeable at all in regards to this festival.

Anyway, here goes.


Glittering crests on the shrines are made with sesame seed

Photo: Bill Bishop


The name ずいき祭り(Zuiki Matsuri): Zuiki is taro or a type of rhubarb. Matsuri is festival. A variety of purple zuiki is eaten throughout Japan.

The parade that you observed is on the second Monday of October and is the peak of a 5-day long ritual held every year at 御上神社 Mikami Jinja (Shrine). This festival is held to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.

In many festivals a portable shrine is carried about, and in like fashion in this festival, there are shrines carried about, the difference being that in this festival the shrines are constructed every year from the fruits of the harvest. If you look closely, you can observe persimmons and chestnuts adorning the shrines. The crests on the roofs of the shrines are made of sesame seeds, etc.

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Posted by Julie on 11/17 at 10:56 PM
Culture & SocietyReligious RitualsPermalink