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The Tohyama Shimotsuki Matsuri was designated as an important intangible folk cultural property in Japan in 1979.
Tohyama Shimotsuki Matsuri, which is presently held every December, had been held every eleventh month according to the old calendar during the Edo period (1603-1867).
The sunrise right after the Matsuri’s night meant the revival of the energy of the Sun.It can be said that a distinguishing characteristic of the Tohyama Shimotsuki Matsuri is the appearance of not only the Hachiman faith (a religious belief in Hachiman kami) but also the Goryo faith (a folk religious belief of avenging spirits).At the beginning, Tohyama Shimotsuki Matsuri was held in only *Hachiman-jinja shrines where Tohyama Hassha Gami are enshrined.As the season is turning to winter and hours of sunlight becomes shorter and shorter, all nature in Tohyama valley gradually changed – the leaves in the mountains fall from the trees, temperature drops down day by day, the tops of the mountains are covered with white snow and snow falls in the village. In such a harsh environment the ancient people thought it was the season of the decreasing energy of the Sun.At the same time, they understood that the energy of all living things also declined because the Sun was the source of all living things.
“Time” is very significant for Tohyama Shimotsuki Matsuri; it is usually held long into the night.