Aofushigaki Shinji : Mihonoseki’s esoteric Shinto rite mesmerised sightseers

On April 7th, a mystic Shinto rite took place at Mihonoseki, a small fishing hamlet in the eastern part of the Shimane peninsula, sandwiched between the Miho Bay and the hills. This event marks the continuation of Morotabune Shinji, which is held at the beginning of every December.


Mihonoseki is situated at the eastern end of the Shimane Peninsula, approximately three hours away from Tokyo (Haneda Airport) by public transport. The journey involves a 1.5-hour flight from Haneda Airport to Yonago Airport ALL NIPPON AIR (ANA), followed by a 20-minute ride on the JR Sakaiminato line or bus to Sakaiminato Station. From Sakaiminato Station, visitors can transfer to the Mihonoseki Community Bus, heading towards Ui Ferry Landing Stage, for a 10-minute journey. Finally, a 10-minute bus ride from Ui Ferry Landing Stage will bring visitors to Mihonoseki. Total roundtrip costs are around 70,000 yen (except for hotel charges).


This esoteric Shinto ritual is rooted in Japanese mythology and is known as Aofushigaki Shinji or the blue-purple fences ritual. According to the Record of Ancient Matters, a portion of Miho Bay turned blue-purple after the deity Ebisu, enshrined in Miho Shrine, jumped from a shore into the sea to conceal his appearance by constructing fences. This was in response to a demand from Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess enshrined in Ise through Ebisu’s father, Okuninushi, to relinquish the family’s land.

The ceremony process is too complex to explain fully, but it usually lasts ten days before and after April 7th. The leading figures, called Touya and Ondo, represent the masters of two Shinto parishioner families, along with their wives. Two Touya wore white attires with black headgear and were escorted through the approach to a sacred wharf from the time-honoured Miho Shrine by guards, and two Ondo wore red kimonos that covered their faces with Shinto burqas. These two couples become living deities worshipped by the local Shinto parishioners known as Ujiko during the ceremonial period. Hypnosis, achieved through fasting and seclusion in a dark room, puts them in a state of divine possession.

A Shinto priest at Miho Shrine bestowed blessings upon the mystical participants. Afterwards, they and their entourage boarded the two sacred wooden boats with turrets, surrounded by consort fishing boats hoisting fishermen’s flags under the blue sky.

Although the Shinto ritual was shrouded in secrecy, many sightseers gazed at the boats while listening to Shinto music. About an hour later, the divine couples emerged from the boat turrets and returned to the sanctuary of Miho Shrine.


Aofushigaki Shinji meets every April 7th.

(Words by Takashi Saito)


How to get to Mihonoseki

608 Mihonoseki, Mihonoseki-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane-Prefecture



By rental car(Recommend)

It takes 40 minutes from the JR Matsue Station to Mihonoseki through Rute 431 and prefectural road 2.


By Bus

then board the Ichibata Bus bound for the Mihonoseki Bus Terminal (45 minutes). Transfer to the Mihonoseki Community Bus Mihonoseki Line and get off at “Mihonoseki” bus stop (30 minutes).

Remark: You are required to understand Japanese if you choose this way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *