Mihonoseki is a district of Matsue City that is situated on a peninsula along the Japan Sea coast. This area is famous for its, lighthouse, shrine and slate-covered lanes. The town harbor faces lovely Miho Bay and is a natural gathering place for celebrations.
This annual boat race ritual is held on December 3rd and depicts an episode of Shinto mythology where messengers from the heavens were sent on a special task by the sun goddess.
The men in the boats represent the messengers on their way to see the smiling god Ebisu, patron of fortune and bounty. According to the myth, his father, the Shinto god of land, wanted him to relinquish some of his territory.
Ebisu, who is one of the few Shinto gods considered to be of Japanese origin, was thought to reside in Mihonoseki. To this day, Miho Shrine is regarded as his principal home.
The event, which takes place in Mihonoseki Harbor, is undertaken by eighteen participants dressed in ceremonial clothing. They row two boats through the water side by side with the rowers sometimes lifting their oars to splash water on members of the rival vessel. Due to the fact that the vessels sit so low in the water, there are occasions when they come close to overturning in all the excitement.
About the Area
Matsue is the vibrant capital city of Shimane Prefecture that has been shaped by its feudal heritage as a castle town and its unique location on Lake Shinji, Lake Nakaumi and the Japan Sea. The city center is dominated by the presence of Matsue Castle and its surrounding canals. This area is also a cultural zone as it is home to museums and historic quarters. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the city is from the water and there are several cruise companies that make this possible.
Access: Take the Yakumo Super Express train from JR Okayama Station to JR Yonago Station. Take the JR Sakai line from JR Yonago Station to JR Sakaiminato Station. Take the bus from Sakaiminato Station to Miho Shrine-Mae bus stop.
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