A picturesque insight into a culturally rich period of time, Horan-Enya is the stage of a splendid performance involving around 100 boats which takes place only once every 10 years.
Jozan Inari-Jinja Shikinen Shinkousai
The Jozan Inari-Jinja Shikinen Shinkousai Festival, commonly known as Horan-Enya, is centred on the Jozan Inari Shrine in the grounds of Matsue Castle. The Divine Spirit enshrined in the Inari Shrine is transferred 10km to Adakaya Shrine in Higashi Izumo via boat. After one week of praying for a good harvest and happiness for the people of Matsue, it is returned to the Inari Shrine.
Around 370 years ago, it was predicted that the fickle weather in the Izumo Province would cause a poor harvest in crops such as rice. The lord of the domain, Matsudaira Naomasa, was concerned about this and ordered prayer for a favourable harvest. The prayers were answered and it became a tradition to repeat this ceremony every 10 years.
The origin of the Kaidenma boats
During one of the festivals roughly 210 years ago, fishermen from Makata village came to support the shrine boat due to stormy conditions. They escorted the shrine boat to Adakaya Shrine and ever since it became a tradition for the festival to be held with the support of Kaidenma boats.
Later, boats from four other villages, Yada, Ooi, Fukutomi and Oomisaki, began to take part in the festival, as well.
Togyosai – Transfer Festival
The journey from Jozan Inari Shrine to Adakaya Shrine is known as the Togyosai.
A land parade takes the portable shrine (mikoshi) to the banks of the Ohashigawa River where it is transferred to a boat for sailing to Higashi Izumo. Between the four large bridges near Lake Shinji, 5 splendidly colourful Kaidenma boats lead a “Kaidenma Dance” performance, circling the main shrine boat. Roughly 100 ships, stretching for a kilometre, move in a large procession down the Ohashigawa River, turning at Nakaumi. When the procession reaches the Adakaebashi Bridge in the Iugawa River, there is another performance of the Kaidenma Dance. Then the Divine Spirit is delivered to Adakaya Shrine and a one hour prayer ceremony takes place.
Chuunichisai – Middle Day Festival
This ceremony is held inside the Adakaya Shrine on the spring equinox, which is also the middle day of the Shinkosai festival. The dancers from the Kaidenma board “land-boats” and perform the dances while edging closer to the Shrine and then once inside the Shrine grounds.
Kangyosai – Return Festival
This final festival is the return of the Divine Spirit from Adakaya Shrine to Jozan Inari Shrine. The Horan-Enya singing and Kaidenma dancing signals the end of this 9 day festival.