The term matsuri, a shortened form of matsuri awaseru (to balance one with the other), represents a sense of "harmony" or "togetherness."

You gain this sense of harmony or togetherness by waking up to the faith and mediating between the Kami and mankind. This constitutes the basic and integral part of matsuri.


The altar of the Aizen-en where youth priests are performing the Grand Miroku
(Maitreya) Festival (April, 2003)




There are two major types of matsuri: kensai and yusai.

Kensai is the kind of matsuri where you worship the Divine through tangible forms. This involves rituals, liturgical instruments, worship halls, household shrines, offerings of food and drink, norito prayers and the like--all used to give thanks to the Kami.

Yusai, meanwhile, emphasizes the inner, spiritual aspects of matsuri. It is a way of revering and praying to the Soul of the Universe with your own.

Manners of communal celebration, saishiki, falls into the kensai category.




The family altar usually consists of three shrines. One is for the Great Deity Kamususanowo no Okami (Okami-sama), another, for the family's ancestral spirits (Sorei-sama), and the other, for the deities in charge of purification (Haraedo-sama). (The shrine for Haraedo-sama may be omitted, however.)

Ritual manners, norito prayers and other liturgical styles differ, depending on which shrine you offer prayers to.





1. Shrine for the Great Kami (center).

2. Daily offerings of pure water and rinsed rice.

3.Mizutama pitchers of pure water and kawarake dishes with rinsed rice on the sambo stands.


4. Bow lightly.


5.Bow deeply twice.


6.Clap hands four times.


7.Make a deep bow, and when you rise, you begin reciting the Amatsu Norito prayer.
Pray aloud to the Great Deity Kamususanowo no Okami ('Kamususanowo no Okami, mamori tamae sakihae tamae') twice.
Chant 'kamunagara tamachi haemase' (akin to "Amen") twice.

 • Click here for Onisaburo
   reciting the Amatsu Norito
   prayer.

8.Clap hands four times.


9. Make a deep bow, and when you rise, you begin reciting the Kamigoto prayer in the morning, and the Miyabi no Kotoba prayer in the evening alternately.



10.Clap hands four times, make a deep bow, and bow lightly.


11.Chant the hymn.

12.Clap hands four times, make a deep bow, and bow lightly.







1.Bow lightly, bow deeply, and clap hands twice.




2. Make a deep bow, and when you rise, you begin reciting the Sosen Haishi prayer.
Chant 'kamunagara tamachi haemase' twice.


3.Clap hands twice, bow deeply, and bow lightly.




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