The biggest event in Toshogu Shrine is held on May 17th and the
18th. The Samurai style
1,000-person procession is carried out on the 18th.
Tourists will be impressed by this powerful procession.
Divine spirit of Ieyasu Tokugawa
was moved from Mt. Kuno to Nikko. The Samurai
style 1,000-person procession is a revival of festival
at that time. Also, Each ceremony has religious meaning.
First, the festival starts at 10
o'clock on the 17th, when family members of Tokugawa attend the
ceremony. Three portable shrines go for Futarasan Shrine after the
ceremony. Those shrines are put in Haiden oratory of Futarasan Shrine.
Festival of Yoina is carried out then, and the shrines stay overnight
there. Shinto priests of Futarasan and Toshogu are on night duty
on that day.
The shrines stay overnight in Futarasan
Shrine, which is located on the west of Toshogu Shrine. It means
that Ieyasu moves to the west pure land after he passed away. Shrines
move to Otabisho Shrine then, but the Otabisho is treated as the
Mt. Kuno, where Ieyasu was enshrined for the first year after his
Ceremony is carried out at 10 o'clock
on the 18th. That ceremony is to move divine spirit to the portable
shrine, and wait for the following festival of Togyosai.
The Togyosai starts at 11 o'clock.
1,200 members of parishioner gather in the precinct of Futarasan
Shrine, and move portable shrines to the Otabisho through the 1km
long road. Procession is divided into three groups such as "Three
sacred horses," "Shinken-mihata," and "Three
portable shrines." Each group goes forward as if they guard
The portable shrines are put in the main hall of the Otabisho after
they arrived. Also, foods are dedicated to the God in the Haiden
oratory. Special dish is prepared for that ceremony. The divine
dish is dedicated to the God after Shinto Priest shook holy stick
three times (For left, right, and left again.)
In addition to that, Yaotome maiden
dance, Azumaasobino-mai (Dance of Azumaasobi) are dedicated. After
that, the procession goes for the Toshogu Shrine around 1pm. The
ceremony ends when the procession comes back to Toshogu.
Also, Yabusame (Archery on horseback)
is performed on the front approach at 1pm on the 17th.
By the way, portable shrines move
accompanied by procession on October 17th in the Autumn Festival
also. Size of the procession is cut in the Autumn Festival. It is
and single portable shrine.