Kakunodate's fall festival, Yama Buttsuke is being held from September 7th-9th. There are mainly 3 things to be accomplished by the Yama float group during the traditional event.
The very first thing is a visit to the Shinmeisha Shrine (神明社).
The floats needs to be brought to the Shinmeisha Shrine to be performed a prayer for the member's safety during the 3 days and the family's health and business prosperity. It is not until 16 p.m. that the participants are allowed to walk through the torii gate and enter the precinct of the shrine.
Here are some videos to show you how it's done!
1: Arriving at the Shinmeisha Shrine
The floate is dragged to the front of Shinmeisha and turned upfront. A massive 2-ton float has to be moved with a great care;otherwise, injuries would occur. The members lead by the young man on the float are in sync to move it.
2: Purified and Entering the Shinmeisha Shrine
The group will first recieve a purification by the shinto priest -- with water and a branch of evergreen-- then enter the precinct. The main shrine is up the stairs, so that the whole group except for the dancers and the band would follow.
3: Purification and a Prayer at the Main Shrine.
The members will receive a ceremony performed by a shinto priests. It is done for purification and a prayer for the participants' safety during the 3-days event as well as the family's health and business prosperity. After the ceremony they will run down the stairs to re-join the float.
4: Performance Before the Shinto Deity on the Yama Float.
While the members are receiving a ceremony at the main shrine, the dancers and musical bands, teodori and ohayashi, stay to perform before the torii gate. There is a routine of songs performed before the deity. Look how beautiful the dancers are. It is truly an enjoyable moment for all of us.
After that is simply moving along so the next group can do the same thing. There are 18 floats every year, so you can imagine, this would take almost like all night.
Day 2 is a honorary visit to the descedant of the Satake Family, who governed Akita in the Edo period. The current head of the Satake family is, believe it or not, our own prefectural gorvener, Mr. Satake! After a visit to him, the float shifts its destination to the Yakushi-do Shrine, both on Day 2 and 3.