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27 Nov 2017
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Festival procession visits KU main campus (8 October 2017)

Kyoto University's main campus is located west of Yoshida Shrine, home to the local guardian deities and numerous massha, or "undershrines". Among these smaller shrines is Imamiya Shrine, which holds an annual festival called Shinko-sai on the second Sunday of October, featuring processions of mikoshi portal shrines to pray for the safety and prosperity of the local communities.

The KU main campus is one of the destinations of these processions. Each year, a group from Imamiya Shrine -- consisting of individuals in samurai and chigo (children) costumes, and teams carrying kenboko (spear-like poles) and a massive mikoshi -- marches into the campus, and performs a ritual in front of the symbolic camphor tree to the accompaniment of drum beats from a local taiko troupe. Mikoshi bearers include several KU students.

This year's procession arrived on 8 October to a warm welcome from Dr Shinsuke Kawazoe, executive vice-president for student affairs and library services. With kenboko held high -- their golden and silver ornaments sparkling against the clear autumn sky -- the mikoshi team hoisted the shrine up and down with yells to pray for the prosperity of the University.

The 2017 Shinko-sai provided the University community with an invaluable opportunity to celebrate its connections to local tradition.

Kenboko raised high into the sky

Mikoshi being hoisted