- 'Thanks' or 'Blessings' visits. It refers to mass pilgrimages to Ise jingu during the Tokugawa period which took place at irregular intervals, the largest—involving 2-5 million people each time—at approximately sixty-year intervals (1705, 1771 and 1830). There were many other nation-wide or smaller okage-mairi during this period. The early pilgrimages were relatively restrained, with pious travellers dressed in white, while later okage-mairi such as the largest in 1830 began spontaneously with rumours that Ise talismans were falling from the sky (o-fuda furi) and led to mass excitement as workers, men women and children left their homes with or without permission and converged on Ise, supported on their way by members of the communities through which they passed who were keen to gain merit and prevent too much disorder by helping the pilgrims along. The pilgrimages mingled religious devotion and adventure with manifold secular pleasures and a spirit of ritual rebellion which sought 'world-renewal' (yo-naoshi); readjustment of the inequalities between different classes of society. These outbreaks of popular devotion were deeply deplored by most kokugaku thinkers.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.