Aoi Shrine Festival: A Journey Through Time and Tradition
Aoi Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Higashi-Nag沼, Inagi City, Tokyo, Japan. It is dedicated to the deities Aoi no Kami, Sarutahiko no Mikoto, and Ame no Uzume no Mikoto.
- Address: 1054 Higashi-Nag沼, Inagi City, Tokyo 206-080 Station on the JR Nambu Line or a 15-20 minute walk from Inagi Station on the Keio Sagamihara Line.
- Festival Days: First Sunday of October
Main Events and Attractions of the Festival
The Aoi Shrine Festival is an annual event that takes place on the first Sunday of October. It is a Shinto festival that celebrates the shrine’s dedication to the deities Aoi no Kami, Sarutahiko no Mikoto, and Ame no Uzume no Mikoto.
The highlight of the festival is the lion dance, which is performed by three lions and a group of musicians. The lions are made of paper and bamboo, and they are decorated with colorful cloth. The musicians play drums, flutes, and gongs, and they sing traditional songs.
- Content: A traditional lion dance performed by three lions and musicians
- Features: The lions are made of paper and bamboo and are decorated with colorful cloth. The musicians play drums, flutes, and gongs, and they sing traditional songs.
Another popular event at the festival is the mikoshi procession. A mikoshi is a portable shrine that is carried through the streets by a group of people. The mikoshi is believed to be the temporary dwelling place of a deity, and it is carried to various locations within the shrine grounds.
- Content: A procession of a mikoshi (portable shrine) through the streets
- Features: The mikoshi is carried by a group of people and is believed to be the temporary dwelling place of a deity.
Food and Games
In addition to the lion dance and the mikoshi procession, there are also a number of food and game stalls at the festival. Visitors can enjoy traditional Japanese food, such as yakitori (grilled chicken), takoyaki (octopus balls), and taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes). There are also a variety of games to play, such as ring toss and goldfish scooping.
- Content: Food and game stalls
- Features: Visitors can enjoy traditional Japanese food and play games.
Blessings and Deities
Aoi Shrine is dedicated to three deities: Aoi no Kami, Sarutahiko no Mikoto, and Ame no Uzume no Mikoto. Aoi no Kami is a water deity, Sarutahiko no Mikoto is a deity of roads and travel, and Ame no Uzume no Mikoto is a deity of performing arts and entertainment.
- Aoi no Kami: Water deity
- Sarutahiko no Mikoto: Deity of roads and travel
- Ame no Uzume no Mikoto: Deity of performing arts and entertainment
Origin and History
The exact date of Aoi Shrine’s founding is unknown, but it is believed to have been established during the Heian period (794-1185). The shrine is located in what was once a large blue swamp, and it is said that the shrine was built to enshrine the spirit of the swamp.
- Founded: Heian period (794-1185)
- Location: Former site of a large blue swamp
- Purpose: To enshrine the spirit of the swamp
Tips and Notes for Visitors
Here are some tips and notes for visitors to Aoi Shrine:
- The shrine is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
- Admission is free.
- The annual festival is held on the first Sunday of October.
- During the festival, there is a lion dance, a mikoshi procession, and food and game stalls.
- The shrine is a popular spot for weddings and other ceremonies.
There is no parking lot at Aoi Shrine. However, there are several public parking lots nearby.
- Inagi City Hall Parking Lot: 5-minute walk from the shrine
- Inagi Central Park Parking Lot: 10-minute walk from the shrine
- Inagi Station Parking Lot: 15-minute walk from the shrine
Popular Stalls and Food Carts in Recent Years
|Type of Stall
|A staple at Japanese festivals. Characterized by a crispy outside and a creamy inside.
|A simple yet popular snack of hot potatoes lavishly topped with melted butter.
|Small castella cakes, sweet and fluffy treats enjoyed by children and adults alike.
|Grilled Ayu with Salt
|Fresh ayu fish grilled whole with salt, a savory taste of Japanese summer.
|A unique gourmet item influenced by foreign cuisine, with a chewy skin wrapping the filling.
|A Japanese grilled dish where you often choose your own ingredients for a personalized flavor.
|A fluffy, sweet snack that’s extremely popular with children.
|A banana coated in chocolate, a fun and visually appealing dessert.
|Various types of ingredients skewered and grilled, an easy-to-enjoy snack.
|Fried noodles mixed with a special sauce, a fast food favorite in Japan.