“bisya” festival and making “Shimenawa” Part 1

Inashiki in January

Every year we have a Japanese traditioal event here called “Bisha”. This year it’s held on 1 February, come and join us!


Sounds interesting! I’m coming ! 

Once a year “bisya” festival has been held for a long time by each hamlet in Japan. But the traditional event is becoming extinct.

Here in Azuma area in Inashiki, they have been held this tradition “Bisya” since Koka era (around 1845) So this is one of the old traditional events here.

The purpose of this event is mainly to pray for an abundant harvest.
Each hamlet usually has its own guardian god called “Ujigami”.

Every last Saturday of January, they usually hold the event. A long time ago they fixed the date but people started to work for companies from farmers etc so that they can take a day off only weekends. That’s why they changed to hold the event on Saturday.

Rake and broom

First, we needed to clean the place for “Ujigami-sama” so broom and rake are necessary.
locals surrounding this helmet started to gather with their own rake or broom around 7:30 AM. Yes, it was a pretty early morning. I woke up early to come here!

Ujigami-sama is here “Hachimanyama”

Brooming and cleaning for “Ujigami-sama”

We gathered and went upstairs carefully. This stair is very slippy and the width is very narrow.

Then we started to broom and clean this place.
Gathered leaves and burned them.

Cleaning for Ujigami-sama
Gathered leaves and branches.
Brooming and burning leaves.
We also cleaned in front of the gate.

When we broomed and cleaned, I saw beautiful scenery.

Look at this !!

Wow! Awesome! Luminous halo!

After cleaning this place we moved to one of the local’s houses. The house should take duty to offer its space. They take turns once twelve years.

After we arrived at the duty-house for this year, they showed me historical and old documents and a flag.

This is a large flag. Can you see ” 弘化/Koka” This Koka era is between 1844 and 1848. It’s a very old one!!!

How to make “Shimenawa”

And then we moved outside and started to make “Shimenawa“.

Do you know Shimenawa?

Shimenawa is a sacred rope of rice straw.
It is said that “Shimenawa” could protect from bad luck.

To display this Shimenawa for Ujigami-sama, we made Shimenawa.

First, we poured water and hit straws with a large hammer.

Poured water and made them wet.
Hit rice straws
taking turns to hit rice straws.

#simenawa #しめなわ

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Then we combed and put the soften straws on the blue sheet.

We sat on the floor and started making “Shimenawa”.

Combed straws.

Grabbed 5-6 pcs of straws and tied together.

Tied like this.

After tieing them, they divided into two.

Divided into two.
Rubbed divided straws on palms.

After divided tow parts of straws, rubbed them on palms and did it again and again.

Becoming a Sacred Rope
Made it tidy by cutting rough parts with scissors.
Combined and inserted a white paper.
Done! This is Shimenawa! but it’s pretty bad work.

My work was pretty bad but it was the first time so it’s ok!

When I looked at the local’s profession work, I thought it was easy but it wasn’t at all.

Especially adding a straw while rubbing them was really difficult.

Tips are here;
Making straws wet well and hit them well to make them soft.

“bisya” festival and making “Shimenawa” Part 2 is here.