Beliefs in Sainokami in Echigo Area (1) by Fumio KANEDA English Abstracts for Vol. 1, 2000 Bulletin of the Niigata Prefectural Museum

In many parts of Niigata prefecture, fire festivals called Sainokami or Dorukujin are held at 15th January. The same names are applied to the stone deities situated at the vilage entrances, 3-way crossings or beside bridges, and these stone figures include male-female figures. Also at the fire festivals, there are some regions where towers are assumed as a male and a female structure is built or a male-female figure is made. This article attempts an insight into the origins of these beliefs in Sainokami, Dorukujin or Dosojin.

For a photo of such a dojin pair of stone deities see the ojisanblog’s Shimenawa

Sainokami Festival

See the straw effigy of the Sainokami of the “Sainokami” festival, held in Tookamachi city. “Sainokami” is said to be a god that is protecting the community against the devil and also protecting the babies from the disease.

Sainokami Shrine, Izumoji

Sainokami in Aizu

According to oral tradition in Aizu, last year’s New Year decorations are burned as offerings to the straw effigy representing the God of Age (Sai-no-kami also means God of Age) and prayers for a disease-free year or good health are made to it.  Again according to oral tradition, the higher the ashes go, the more likely it will be that you will not catch a cold, or that your “cow/buffalo” will stay strong or that your writing skills will improve…

If you will not catch a cold if it hits this fire, or a cow will burn the first writing of the year which becomes strong if ashes are put into a hut, and those ashes go up highly, there is a legend, like writing becomes skillful

Sainokami, Nagaoka city (for access to event see this page)

Various dosojin or sainokami seen in ancient rural paths of Shimodafuji (see Shimodafuji kaidou6, Konabe-Kitanosawa, near Nanadaru, Izu-Shizuoka (one of recommended 100 top rural walking routes of Japan)

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