Sunday, March 27, 2016

Horan Enya

Rare Shinto ritual on the waterways thrills crowd in Matsue

The Asahi Shimbun  March 27, 2016 By TATSUYA ISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer

MATSUE--A centuries-old Shinto ritual featuring a colorful boat procession to wish for a bountiful harvest sailed the waters on March 26 near Matsue Castle, with a troupe of singers and dancers in traditional costumes performing aboard.

The event by Matsue Jozan Inari Jinja shrine, called Horan Enya and dating to the Edo Period (1603-1867), is famed as one of the nation’s three renowned Shinto rites featuring ships.

A total of nine boats carrying about 70 performers traveled along a moat within the castle walls during the rite. The ritual, which is held every 10 years, was initially scheduled for 2019.

But it was moved up to this year to mark the designation of Matsue Castle as a national treasure, which was announced last year, and the 350th anniversary of the death of Matsudaira Naomasa, head of the feudal Matsue Domain.

In the event, performers danced in a manner similar to Kabuki performers aboard their boats as spectators waited to capture the rare spectacle with their cameras.

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