Onda matsuri celebrates fertility of rice field and marital partners

Onda Matsuri: a Quaint Festival of the Asuka-ni-imasu Shrine

A quaint festival of Yamato, the Onda Matsuri, is celebrated on the first Sunday in February.


This shrine dates from ancient times, though its date of founding is unknown. It is recorded in the chronicle Nihon giryaku that in 829 during the Heian period, the shrine was moved as commanded by an oracle to its present location from Mount Kannabi (literally, a “mountain where a deity dwells”) in Asuka. But while there are several theories about where this original location was, nothing is clear.
Every year, on the first Sunday in February a quaint festival of Yamato (Nara) called the Onda Matsuri is held. A rice planting rite, it consists of humorous mimicking of rice planting by a tengu (long-nosed goblin) and a cow, after which a masked woman joins the tengu in miming marital intimacy. This was probably to pray for a good harvest and being blessed with children.

Visit the shrine at 708 Asuka asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara see http://www.city.kashihara.nara.jp/ataka/keniki/kankou_e/asuka_e/ondamatsuri_e.html


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