Hibarumatsu 桧原マツ Oita (Apr.)
Hibaru Matsu, which is said to have started during the Kamakura period, is a festival of syncretized Shintoism and Buddhism that is held in order to pray for bumper crops. A Buddhist mass is held at the main hall of a Buddhist temple and a Triton’s trumpet is sounded, after which three portable shrines led by warrior monks clad in white and carrying halberds, are carried from a lower Shinto shrine to the main hall. A rice planting ceremony "Matsuyaku" is then started on the temple grounds, and believers from local villages perform dances related to rice cultivation that are filled with humor.
Hibarusan Shoheiji, Nakabata, Yabakei-machi, Nakatsu City, Oita
Approx. 45 min. by taxi from Nakatsu station, JR Nippo Main Line.
From Hita interchange of the Oita Expressway, take National Route 212, head in the direction of Nakatsu for approx. 30 km. Turn left at Tsutami-Iriguchi, then drive approx. 8 km.