Autumn Festival in Arimatsu 2

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      We went to Temman Shrine. There were many stalls in the grounds and many people were enjoying foods or games.

     After going under the torii, or a gateway at the entrance to the shrine, the atmosphere changed. It was enveloped in awe-inspiring air and I thought I was in a sanctuary. Before going to the main shrine, visitors wash their hands and mouths to purify themselves.   

     When we starts going to the main shrine, a long stone steps were waiting for us. It was quite steep. It was really tough for me to climb up those steps, but there were many lanterns on the steps and they were so beautiful.

     There was a strange statue near the entrance of the main shrine. It seems to be used at a ritual called Uso-kae in February. It is said that people can change the lies they said last year to true in the event. 

     Generally Temman has to do with Sugawarano Michizane, the ancient scholar, poet and politician more than 1000 years ago. In his story, cows appeared often. That’s why there are many cow statues in the grounds of the shrine.

     He was regarded as a god of study after he died because he had been a scholar at that time. That’s why it is believed that you become clever when you touch those cows, or you can pass the exam when you visit the shrine.

     Cows are not only related to him, but also blossoms of ume, or Japanese apricots.  

     He loved blossoms of ume and made a poem when he was relegated by falling into his political enemy’s trap: kochi fukaba nioi okoseyo ume-no-hana aruji nashitote haruna wasureso. It means: My favorite ume, please send me your lovely scent on the east wind. Please never forget the spring even if you have no owner anymore. That’s why, the costumes of people who take part in the festival have blossoms of ume.

     Because Sugawarano Michizane was well-known for the great calligrapher those days, still now many people come and ask him for improving their lettering skills.

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