January 17, 2018
A unique shinto ritual to celebrate a new year in Oda City, western Shimane Prefecture
The first day of a year in the Japanese old calendar falls on around January 15th in the Gregorian solar calendar. January 15th is called 小正月/Ko-shougatsu (meaning small new year) and various traditional events are held to celebrate the old new year day across the country.
Here at Isotake Town in Oda City, western Shimane Prefecture, locals put up a corn-shaped temporary hut called グロ/Guro. It is mainly built with bamboo trees, and the diameter of its ground space is about 10 meters. Every year, they set up a Guro on January 11th at the fishing port of the Oura district of the town, and dismantle it on January 15th. The aim is to welcome the god of the New Year and pray for health of family members and getting good catches during the year. They get together in the hut at night, have chat and eat mochi rice cakes and other food surrounding hearths until midnight.
This event has been recognized as one of unique events in western Japan.
The Guro was built on January 11th this year as usual and will be dismantled at 8 o’clock in the morning on January 15th. After that, people burn the materials with new year decorations praying for safe and happiness of the year. You will find the unique hut at the fishing port in Oura district, Isotake town, Oda city, western Shimane prefecture.
Ota City is home to Iwami Silver Mine World Heritage Site.
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