Dogeza Matsuri （procession of portable shrine with weapons）
Important Intangible Cultural Property in Niimi City
This festival originated, by Nagaharu Seki, from the procession of portable shrine guarded with weapons at annual autumn festival of Funakawa Shrine. The festival begins in the evening of October 14 with “Yutate-no-Shinji” （Shinto ritual in which a Shinto priest soaks bamboo grass in boiling water and sprinkles the water on worshippers), and the next day of October 15, the festival procession takes place. At the front of the procession, two people clear the way holding bamboos in their hands and shouting out “bow down, bow down”, and 64 people in their Samurai uniform follow carrying weapons; swords, guns, bows, arrows, and so forth. They leave the shrine and proceed to their destination, Miyaji-chou, and soon after return to the shrine. Along the streets, local parishioners have their houses decorated with drapes as well as purified by cone-shaped sand with salt on the top. During the procession men are kneeling down on the ground, while women and children remain inside their houses.
Funakawa Hachimangu Shrine
Funakawa Hachimjangu is said to be divided to Niimi, Imaichi, from Otokoyama Hachimangu in Yamashiro Province during Ten-ei era under the emperor Toba, 1110 to 1113. Having been destroyed by fire in 1410 （Ou-ei 17), the shrine was rebuilt by Tairano Shinano Nyudo. Later in the period of warring states, the religious Lord of Tobigasu Catstle, Tokumitsu Hyogonokami, who opened water transport along the river to Bitchu Matsuyama, was inspired by a divine revelation in his dream. It resulted in receiving its official name of Funakawa, literally Boat River, and since then the shrine is called Funakawa Hachimangu. The lord Nagaharu relocated the shrine to the current site in 1715 （Seitoku 6).