Saigū Gyōretsu斎宮行列

Summary

The Saigū and other participants praying during the Saigū Gyōretsu at Nonomiya Shrine.

Located in the famous bamboo forest of Arashiyama, Nonomiya Shrine was once a small shrine used for purification rituals undergone by women known as saigū, women from the imperial family who were appointed as emissary priestesses to the grand shrine at Ise where the sun goddess Amaterasu, said to be the progenitor of the imperial line, is worshipped.

The participants during the Saigū Gyōretsu at Nonomiya Shrine.

In honor of this ancient tradition, Nonomiya Shrine holds a reenactment of the priestess' departure for Ise called the Saigū Gyōretsu each year in October, where visitors to the Arashiyama area can watch a procession of people in court regalia make their way from the shrine down to the river where purification rituals take place.

Though the "star" of the procession is naturally the woman representing the Saigū, riding alternatively in an ox cart or carried in a palanquin, many other women wear the Heian period clothing of noble attendants and handmaidens, accompanied by priests, men dressed as soldiers and servants, as well as performers.

The Saigū performs a purification ritual at the riverbank during the Saigū Gyōretsu at Nonomiya Shrine.

At the purification site priestesses of the shrine perform a dance before a priest reads aloud prayers and the Saigū makes her way to the water's edge to release a paper doll in an Omisogi no Gi ceremony.  Those observing are invited to participate in prayers made towards Ise Shrine, and traditional court music (gagaku) and dance (bugaku) are performed as an offering. 

If you're looking to make your trip to the Arashiyama area even more memorable, time your visit to coincide with a procession that seems to have stepped straight out of the Heian Period, the Saigū Gyōretsu!

Things to See/Do

  • Kagura Dance

  • Bugaku

  • Shinto Ritual

  • Period Costume

  • Gagaku

  • Parade

  • Mikoshi

Schedule

2019 Schedule

October 20th:  Departure from Nonomiya Shrine, 12:00

                       Arrival at Northern Arashiyama Pier, 13:30

                       Omisogi no Gi, 14:00

Access

Nonomiya Jinja

Address

〒616-8393 京都市右京区嵯峨野宮町1

TEL 075-871-1972
FAX 075-871-0796
WEB http://www.nonomiya.com/eng.html

Admission

  • General Admission: Free

Hours

  • General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Closed: No closing days

Transportation

  • From Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line ⇒ Arashiyama Station ⇒ Walk 5 minutes to Tenryū-ji
  • From JR Sagano Line ⇒ Saga Arashiyama Station ⇒ Walk 13 minutes to Tenryū-ji
  • From Hankyū Line ⇒ Arashiyama Station ⇒ Walk 15 minutes to Tenryū-ji
  • By City Bus Route 11, 28, or 93 ⇒ Arashiyama Tenryū-ji-mae Bus Stop
  • By Kyoto Bus Route 61, 72, or 83 ⇒ Arashiyama Tenryū-ji-mae Bus Stop