Yadate Ritual

According to the old record, "In Mt. Niiyama, 8 km northwest of our shrine, there was a fierce kami (gods or deities) named Ura who was ferocious and tormented people. Prince Kibitsuhiko set up his battle camp in Mt. Nakayama in Kibi. He and Ura shot arrows at each other, but their arrows clashed with each other's in midair and they fell into the sea, where Yaguinomiya Shrine now stands. The central kami of Mt. Nakayama seized the arrows of the fierce kami in the air. This kami is enshrined as Yatori Myojin in our shrine's main sanctuary. Since Prince Kibitsuhiko placed his arrow on a rock in this battle, the rock is called Yaokiiwa, literally meaning a rock to place an arrow on.” It also says "Since ancient times, there have been arrow rituals in which wishers offer cherry-colored or white feathered arrows. The Shinto priest place the arrows on the rock, pray for peace and tranquility, and later submit them to Mikurayajinja Shrine." This ritual, the order of which has been preserved, had been discontinued for some time, but was revived in 1960 with the help of the Okayama Japanese Archery Federation, and is now held on the 3rd day of the New Year, including the purification of the four directions.

Seiden Ritual

Servants dressed appropriately all together proceed to the main shrine and sit down on allocated seats at Seiden Hall after undergoing purification rites at the worship hall. Ihaomi hands over sacred arrows to the priests who offer them to the central sanctuary. After dedicating offerings to the kami, the chief priest recites ritual prayer. Then, after dedicating sprigs of the sacred tree to the altar, being blessed by the kami, and removing the offerings from the altar, the chief priest hands the sacred arrows to Ihaomi. Then, after bowing to the kami once, the group including the chief priest makes a pilgrimage to the 4 Onzakigu shrines located in the 4 corners of the outer sanctuary, starting from Ushitoraonzakigu Shrine, and proceeds to the front of Yaokiiwa, led by the priest in charge.

The Order of Yaokiiwamae Ritual

1. Everyone will take their allocated seats.
2. The chief priest will bow to the kami once, standing in the center of the site, with others bowing to the kami while sitting on their seats.
3. The others will hand over the arrows to the chief priest after receiving them from the chief priest's assistant, Ihaomi, and drawing their feathers through their sleeves.
4. The chief priest will place the sacred arrows on the rock.
5. Following the call from Yaoome Ahaome and Ihaomi, the others will hand over the bows to the chief priest after addressing the center of the site with the bows held up.
6. The chief priest will place the bow against the rock and pray for world peace, national tranquility, the parishioners’ safety, and a bountiful harvest. He will conduct 3 sets of bowing 3 times and clapping 3 times to the kami and bow once again to the kami, with the others in a line to bow to the kami.
7. In response to the call from each Omi and Ihaomi, they receive arrows from the chief priest in turn and shoot them into each direction.
8. The chief priest will hand over the only 1 arrow left on the rock to Ihaomi, and return the bow to Yaoome and Ahaome.
9. After everyone shoots their arrows, they will all stand in a line and bow to Yaokiiwa, following the chief priest.
10. Everyone will leave the place, led by the priest in charge.

This Yadate Ritual is derived from the myth of Momotaro slaying the demon (Prince Kibitsuhiko defeating Ura), which has been preserved at this shrine. It is a purification ritual in which divine arrows are shot in four directions (to the east, west, south, and north) to prevent the fierce kami from entering.

Yadate Ritual Movie