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Nov 30, 2017
Koga Chouchin Saomomi Matsuri (Paper Lantern with long Banboo Stick), Ibaragi
2nd December, 2017 | at Koga JR Station, Koga City, Ibaragi Pref.
During the Chouchin Saomomi Festival (literally “Paper Lantern Bamboo Pole Festival”), groups from Koga city each hoist a lantern on top of a bamboo pole nearly 20m high and jostle to extinguish other groups’ lanterns.
The festival is believed to have originated in the Edo period in the Koga domain (present day Nogi in Tochigi Prefecture), where the Shinto priest of Nogi Shrine would ride around the seven villages that were part of the shrine’s territory on horseback, proudly bearing a kamihoko spear, one of Nogi Shrine’s goshintai (an object of worship believed to contain a deity).
When he returned to the shrine in the early morning on December 3, his welcoming party, who carried lanterns, would ward off the cold until the priest arrived by tussling with each other. It is said that the original name of the festival was Okaeri, or ‘welcome back’.
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