Shoreisai: The Last Yamabushi Celebration of the Year 松例祭

The Shoreisai (松例祭) festival is one of the most significant Yamabushi rituals of the year, held on the 31st of December annually. The ceremonies are open for everyone to witness.

This festival marks the conclusion of the “winter retreat” (冬の峰入り – fuyu no mine iri), one of the four seasonal Yamabushi training sessions. During the winter retreat, a chosen practitioner of Mt. Haguro, known as the Matsu-Hijiri (松聖), retreats for 100 days in the mountains, awaiting the spirit of the goddess of cereals, Ukanomitama, to inhabit their body. The Matsu-Hijiri’s role is to protect the holy spirits of the grains and pray for bountiful harvests in the coming year.

On the night of December 31st, the Matsu-Hijiri and other Yamabushi of Mt. Haguro participate in various purifying ceremonies that extend into the next day, with the aim of blessing the crops.

Due to the potential danger of using Haguro’s stairs under snowy conditions, it is recommended to disembark from the bus or park your car at Haguro Sancho (羽黒山頂).

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