Kyokusui-no-en at Dazaifu Shrine
The festival is held on the first Sunday of March. Kyokusui-no-en is a Japanese traditional
ceremony held at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine on the first Sunday of March, a purification
ceremony on a winding stream, is performed by ladies and gentlemen in a ceremonial court
robe under the plum blossoms in full-bloom.
After the Tobiume-no-mai dance by shrine maidens, Kyokusui-no-En Festival begins.
Vermilion-lacquered cups full of sake are set afloat down the stream.
Before the cups reach each of the participants sitting along the stream, they have to make up
a Japanese poem called waka, and write it down on a strip of fancy paper. When the cups
reach the participants, they drink the sake and hand the paper strip and cup over to an attendant.
The ceremony has its origin in a historical fact that Ono-no-Yoshifuru, an elder brother of a
noted-calligrapher Ono-no-Tofu, held a ceremony to appease the soul of Michizane Sugawara
and to beguile tedious hours in a rural life.
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