Yasurai festival

Yasurai festival

2nd Sunday in April

This is a traditional festival dedicated to good health. A parade is held in the local area and people yell, “Yasuraibana ya,” to get rid of the locals’ bad luck and illnesses.

In the parade, the red-haired and the black-haired Oni shake their hair loose and dance while others sing and play music.

When cherry blossoms are in bloom, a deity of good health tends to wander away and follow fairies that come from flowers. Since the deity is distracted by the fairies, the deity cannot protect the locals. This is the reason why illnesses spread.

The main attractions of this festival are big red umbrellas decorated with lots of flowers. The deity is attracted to these flowers and eventually lured back to Eyamisha in Imamiya shrine. The deity can now calm down and relax at Imamiya shrine for another year. With this, people are once again allowed to pray for their good health.

It is believed that people who walk under the umbrellas will not become ill for one year. So, it is common to see parade-goers walk a full circle under the umbrellas.

Deity of illness and good health

The deity stays at Eyamisha and gives people good health, peace, and happiness when they perform festivals to entertain the deity. However, when they neglect festivals, the deity gets mad, becomes malicious and spreads illnesses.

This festival is one of the most unique 3 festivals in Kyoto.

The others: the Kurama fire festival and the Uzumasa cow festival

This is a human effigy to pray for one’s good health. The shape of this human effigy was taken from Oni who dance in the Yasurai festival parade. An offered human effigy is purified and a priest prays for the good health of the people that offered it.

How to offer the Yasurai hitogata

1.Turn over the red paper of the human effigy and write the name of a person (yourself, family, a friend etc) you wish to be in good health.

2.Remove the slip of praying paper in the center with you before you place the human effigy into the white box in front of the main shrine.

3.Put the slip of praying paper on a wall at the entrance of the person’s house.

It is believed that the slip of the paper will protect the person from any illness that may pass by his of her house.

Yasurai hitogata (Yasarai human effigy)

Click スライドショーを再生 to see pictures

Click スライドショーを再生 to see pictures.

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Yasurai Festival