Thanks giving festival in shrine (Takemizuwake-shrine/武水別神社)

Have you ever heard of Thanks giving festival in Japan?

At the end of November and beginning of December, there are Thanks giving festival held at shrines in Japan. It is called "Kinen-sai (祈念祭)", which means "Festival which prays for harvest", and "Niiname-sai (新嘗祭)", which means "Festival to thank god for the harvest".

In the beginning of December last year, I went to shrine named Takemizuwake-shrine in Chikuma city, Nagano prefecture.

This shrine was built 1150 years ago.
As the fire occur in year 1860, the most building left now is built about 150 years ago.

Thanks giving festival was started more than 400 years ago in this shrine.
5 leaders proceeds the festival every year.

In this shrine, old note books called "Go tou chou (御頭帳)" had taken over since year 1592, and whole leader's names are written in them.

The men wearing white clothes are the leaders.
Their names are also written in the notes.

At the beginning  of the festival, the leaders starts walking from quite far place from the shrine.
People are waiting the leaders go through, with burning fire along the street.

Something like a pushing cart came as a top of the line.
On the wood, the word "Ouma-jisrushi (御馬印)" written.
I have searched in the Internet, and knew that the famous General in Japan, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (豊臣秀吉) had also used when he shows his power at the war field.

After the cart, the people with flags came.

After the people with flags, the leaders came.

Going through the gate, called "Tori-i (鳥居)" in Japan, they went inside of the shrine.

This gate was quite large, felt like as same height as forth or fifth floor building.

Walking through the snack shops, the parade goes on.

Going through the small Tori-i gate, they goes to the main building of the shrine.

Please see the man who walks in front of the leaders.
He holds a box which filled with white things.

The leaders reaches to the main shrine, and passes the box to the priests and prays god.

After the pray of leaders had ended people gets in line, and given the white things which were in the box.

I also got one.

Opened at home and new there were rice and a coin was in the paper wrapping.

To get the harvest, I ate the rice and used the coin.
I have to go the shrine next year, too!

Even after the parade had gone, the festival went on.
People seemed happy.

It's getting so cold and snow storms are coming to Japan in this few days.
I will go outside this weekend and take picture of the city.

Thank you for reading!
Have a nice weeknd!