Carried Off into Autumn…

If you have spent time in any major city in Japan toward the end of summer, you may have seen groups of people chanting hauling around something called a “Mikoshi”.

a cartoon depicting the mikoshi carrying during Japanese festivals

Or you may have just seen something like this in a Japanese movie…

At any rate, what these guys are doing is carrying the enshrined deity in that box to a sacred location.

This is basically a Shinto pilgrimage..

But they do like to have fun with it in the modern day.

hustle and bustle at a Japanese mikoshi festival

A perfect opportunity to have a day out with your family, and maybe even buy some food from the street vendors.

Sacred Mikoshi Design and Divine Purpose

Truly something to be appreciated. The traditional styles have been preserved, despite some slight modifications to the style of festivals involving Mikoshi.

a mikoshi glowing int he night, showing the intricate and artistic design

Here is an excerpt from Omotenashi TV’s blog:

The Mikoshi acts as a transport for objects imbued with divine spirits during “shinkou-sai”.
“shinkou” refers to the pilgrimage of enshrining those divine spi
rits in a distant location.
The carriers of the Mikoshi travel far and wide, so this is also an opportunity to give the deity a view of the landscape.
During the “shinkou” pilgrimage, the carriers actually make efforts to sway, rock, and shake the Mikoshi, so as to stir and excite the deity aboard. It is believed that this brings bountiful harvests and fish, and also dispels disease from the land.