- 'Rain-soliciting'. A ritual to pray for rain. Prayers for rain may be addressed to any kami and Inari as a kami of food is a popular choice. Certain shrines are good for rain requests, and the Shinano togakushi jinja in Nagano receives requests from all over the country asking for prayers to be offered and distributes sacred water to farmers to induce rain on their fields. Ryujin is often addressed in times of drought, as the god of thunder. There are also specific annual or occasional rituals devoted to rain-making. In Nagano at the Bessho jinja the take-no-nobori (climbing the peak) is carried out as an amagoi rite on July 15th. Participants climb the mountain before dawn and make banners which are then paraded round the village. In Saitama, a ritual called Suneori-no-amagoi-gyoji (literally: 'leg-breaking rain-petitioning rite') takes place on August 8th, but only every four or five years, at the Shirohige jinja. The name of the festival is explained by the two-ton, 36-metre long dragon made from straw and bamboo leaves which is carried on a bamboo frame from the shrine into the local lake. Amagoi-odori are ritual dances, in some cases elaborate and prolonged over several days, offered to the kami in petition for rain. A different means of provoking rain involves irritating the kami, either by waving burning torches lit by fire from a shrine such as the Akiba-san-hongu akiba-jinja or throwing polluting material such as cattle bones into waters usually regarded as sacred, such as lakes around Mt. Fuji. A festival of thanksgiving for the water supply is held at the Shirayama-hime jinja, Ishikawa, the mother shrine of the many Hakusan shrines, on August 15th.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.
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