Category Archives: Mikasafumi

Tanabata Matsuri — A Star Festival of Ancient Hinomoto

In this post, we discuss the popular Tanabata Festival in terms of its origin.  This star festival of the Weaver was traditionally held on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. It is held in July or August in modern times.

While many think erroneously that the Tanabata Festival is of Continental origin, this post by Julian Way shows that it was known in the ancient land of Hinomoto Japan long before Continental contact:

     “Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Hotsuma times.”

Tanahata is a loom for ori weaving.  Tanahata matsuri is indigenous to the early people of Japan and is described in the Wosite documents Mikasafumi and Hotsuma Tsutae. This passage is from the Mikasafumi document.

From Namekoto no Aya in Mikasafumi,  as presented in Julian-Way:

afumi matsu     /     fume ni yawashite

kaze to nasu     /     yumi hari ni umu

iu to asa     /     woto tanahata no

hoshi matsuri     /     mochi ha miwoya to

iki tama ni     /     yena no hasuke no

me-wo a-e ha     /     a-ogi odori te

i o ukuru

Mikasafumi Namekoto no aya

Afumi  is the 7th month of the luni-solar calendar of the old days. Fume ni yawashite, the heat of summer is softening.

Yumi-hari is the first quarter of the moon, the seventh day, so the night sky is dark and stars can be seen. At the end of the seven days, a ceremony is held. Cotton and asa (hemp) are spun in the ceremony called woto tanahata no hoshi matsuri.  [Hoshi matsuri, star festival, where hoshi means star and matsuri is translated festival, although it meant an observance in the olden days.]  This is the star festival of Tanahata.

From time immemorial, weaving was sacred work that has been entrusted to women. The ceremony of tanahata, too, was considered sacred.

The special Wosite letter  wo  seen in the third line of the verse has a vertical line indicating the unseen connection to the stars. Stars are honored as ancestors. The other  wo  in  me-wo  refers to male and  me  to female.

Amemiwoya and Universe

The origin of Universe can be understood through Amemiwoya as the Great Origin. Amemiwoya is the Cosmic Parent. Amemiwoya is like the pole star, and Kunitokotachi and the eight Kunisatsuchi sons are like the stars rotating around the pole star.


In short, weaving is precious work that makes Ame-no-nori the Law of the Cosmos visible in form. So, both the order of the world and governing were taught by likening to hataori weaving with a loom.

Tanahata is a festival already ancient in Hotsuma times.

Odori, dance

なんと、(祖先を)仰ぎ、 踊って アメ のエネルギーを受ける・・・元気になる。

Our ancestors looked up, danced, and received the energy of Universe and  –good health.


It was our tradition from Jomon times.

Long ago, when thinking of the beginning of the world and the beginning of people while looking up at the beautiful stars in the night sky, our hearts communed with our precious ancestors and started this ceremony dedicated to stars.


Image above: Woodblock print, Tanabata Matsuri in Edo by Hiroshige

Photo: Sky and Telescope


Note added:  2022.06.16.  This post was prepared in 2017.06.08 and not published. Since Tanabata season is about to begin, we are publishing this post for all to learn about the origin of Tanabata and the Obon Odori in Jomon/Wosite times. For more about Wosite, please see our other site, WoshiteWorld.


Ōharano Jinja  大原野神社

DSC06110 OharanoJinja.JPG

Ōharano Jinja  大原野神社

Ōharano Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nishikyō-ku, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Ōharano is dedicated to Amenokoyane, who composed the Mikasahumi document in Wosite.


Amenokoyane was a great-great-grandson of Toyoke Kami. He was named the first Kagami Tomi by Amateru Amakami. His responsibility was to discern light (ka) from dark (ga) and to keep society on the Amenaru Path. Amenokoyane received the honor name, Kasuga Kami. He was buried at the ancient Hiraoka Jinja in Osaka. Later in 768, he was enshrined at the Kasuga Taisha in Heijō-kyo (Nara) by his descendants, the Fujiwara. The capital was at Heijō-kyo from 710–40 and from 745–84. 

DSC06112 Oharano

DSC06113 Oharano altar

Emperor Kanmu transfered the capital from Heijō-kyo to Nagaoka-kyo (784-794). Nagaoka-kyo was located in the current Mukō  City and Nishikyō-ku which is part of Kyoto City. Kanmu enshrined Kasuga Myojin here at Ōharano Jinja. The main shrine building was constructed in the year 850 in the style of the Kasuga Taisha. There are four handsome honden behind the haiden prayer hall. We can only see the tips of two sets of chigi. The four enshrined kami are (1) Takemikazuchi, (2) Futsunushi, (3) Amenokoyane (Kasuga Kami) and (4) his wife, Hime Kasuga.



The Koisawa-ike Pond was built as a facsimile of the Kasuga Taisha’s Sarusawa-ike. It is a famous spot for viewing colored leaves. Overlooking the pond is Wakamiya auxiliary shrine which honors Ameno-oshi-kumone-no-mikoto, son of Amenokoyane. 

DSC06117 Wakamiya Sha

DSC06118 Koisawa-ike


Ōharano Jinja is a lovely spot for autumn colors and for feeling a connection with the spirit of the wise Amenokoyane.





Notes from Hotsuma Tsutae and Mikasafumi


Subjects of aya 28 include:

Koyomi calendar, Isanagi-Isanami, Twelve wives plus one, Seoritsu is Okisaki, Governing Ohiyamato, Hatare, 3 sons, Hohodemi, Taga no miya. [Note: Aya 28 is not available on HT by JTC.]

Sarutahiko makes a tomb for Amateru at Manai near Asahimiya. Amateru says his kamuri headdress connected him to kami in heaven, his robes and sashes connected him to people and land.

Isawa no miya, Amateru’s palace, is inland from Ise Naigu. Now called Izougu. Ikeda’s book describes his visit. ‘Amateru decided that the new capital would be at Isawa (now the Isomiya Shrine in Isobe, Shiki-gun, Mie Prefecture)’ [aya 6, HT by JTC].


The very first wedding, that of Ubichini-Subichini, took place at Hi no Jinja in Fukui ken. It was 3 years after Ubichini planted a momo tree and it flowered. Momo no sekku is 3-3 girls day. Here is Hino Jinja 福井県越前市日野神社拝殿 []

MIKASAFUMI by Ikeda Mitsuru

Ikeda’s Jomon Book, Ch. 2 is about Mikasafumi ayas. Omotaru and Kashikone gave to Isanami-Isanagi  two kantakara treasures: To no woshite (constitution), hoko (police power), for governing people. Omotaru and Kashikone were the first rulers to go around the country of Yamato. Later, Isanami-Isanagi  went around the country (Hitakami, Kyushu, etc.) to make it better using waka and Awa no uta,

The first miki (sake). Subichini lived in Shiga before she married. I-no-kuchi omiya, an unknown place. In the bamboo forest, she saw a sparrow eating rice in water inside a bamboo stalk. It tasted sweet and good. It was called sasake, sasa bamboo and keji foodstuff. Now we call it sake.

The Eight ayas of Mikasafumi:

1   Kitsuyoji no aya;  2  Sakanori, making sake;  3  Koe, 12 wives;  4             Harumiya, Oshihomimi’s Koutaigu shrine, Harumi meaning East;  5             Takamanaru aya;   6  Namekoto nenchu gyoji almanac;   7   Hani (earth) matsuri no aya;   8  Toshi uchi ni nasu koto (matters to do before year’s end).

1st aya Kitsuyoji.  Kitsu (east-west) yoji (4 threads). A teaching, using a weaving analogy, about Michi given by Amanokoyane (Lord Kasuga) at different places to nobles and people. Kitsu is blessing from sun and moon, coming and going. The country enjoys well-being when administrators and people follow the Michi.

Kunitokotachi’s era was beginning of moji. Then the 48 sounds.

Awa-no-uta was sung by Izanagi-Izanami. A-no-uta is Izanagi’s half, Wa-no-uta is Isanami’s half. They gave birth to the country and went around singing this song that clears up language.


Wakahime, Hiruko, Amateru’s sister, was born on Tsukubayama. It was yakudoshi for Isanagi and Isanami who were 42 and 33, respectively. She was fostered by Lord Kanasaki and his wife Oshinazu. Both were waka poets and they ruled Kinki from Nishinomiya. 廣田神社兵庫県西宮市   Hirota Shrine (Hirota-jinja was the original name for Nishinomiya) in NishinomiyaHyogo prefectureJapan.

From    Japan’s oldest national historical document “NIHONSYOKI” states that tha Hirota Shrine was established in the HIrota region in Muko country when Empress Jinguu came back from Korea in 201AD. Since then, many historical documents have mentioned the Hirota Shrine, saying that the great deity of Hirota protects its country, controls nature, and provides prosperity… The name Nishinomiya appeared in history as the shrine grew.  [NOTE:  This region of Hirota is in MUKO country. Muko is Mukatsuhime’s name.]

Oshinazu played awa, a child’s play with Hiruko. As we know Hiruko/Wakahime became a waka master. In her fifth winter she started studying akahanama, singing with instruments. She grew up healthy due to these vibrations.

Ikura, five houses of the soul. People are made up of the seen and unseen. We have ikura, five kura, in our kokoro. We receive 3 kura from heaven/universe, called the tama; 2 kura from our parents, called shi. We are connected to our tama by the tama-no-wo cord. When we die, the wo is undone and returns the tama to heaven and shi to earth. Baby receives tama in the 5th month; it already has shi which becomes the organs.

Tama consists of Miyabi (compassion, empathy for other people), Kokoroba, and Tama.

Shi consists of Shi (ne, shizumaru, going down), and Ha (hiraku, widening).

Editor’s Note: The above information comes from various of the books by Ikeda Mitsuru, in Japanese.