Sagicyo Shinji comes back to Koura Fishing Hamlet

Koura Fishing Hamlet rings in the New Year with traditional Sagicyo Shinji; despite Inclement weather, enthusiastic celebrations mark the occasion


Kashima – Koura Fishing Hamlet, where the headquarters of The Deities is located and boasts its beautiful Koura Beach, situated along the scenic coast of the Shimane Peninsula, ushered in the new year on January 3rd, 2024, with the time-honoured Sagicyo Shinji ceremony. Renowned for its pristine beach, the hamlet has observed this Shinto rite for over 250 years, with only occasional interruptions during World War II and the pandemic periods.



Japan’s efficient transportation system makes getting to Koura convenient and straightforward. For those who want to savour the journey, the Sunrise Izumo ,sleeper train, offers a delightful 12-hour ride from Tokyo to Matsue Station. With private cabins and scenic views, it’s a luxurious option for travellers. The roundtrip ticket costs approximately 50,000 yen ($450), and a more budget-friendly bunk bed option is also available. At Matsue Station, travellers must transfer the bus to Etomo; it takes 15 minutes to walk to Koura Bech.


If speed and comfort are your priorities, the bullet train is an excellent choice. The trip takes about eight hours, and you’ll need to transfer from Okayama Station to the local limited express Yakumo, which goes directly to Izumo Station., but travellers need to drop off at Matsue Sation, requiring the need to transfer the bus to Etomo. It takes 15 minutes to walk to Koura Bech. The roundtrip fare for this option is below 40,000 yen, making it an affordable and convenient choice.


For travellers who prefer the flexibility of a car, renting one near the station is also an option. Matsue’s transportation options ensure that tourists have various choices to suit their preferences and budget, making the journey not only to Koura Fishing Hamlet but also to the beautiful places in Shimane Prefecture a pleasant and accessible experience.


In defiance of heavy rain and 7℃ temperatures, parishioners of the Koura Tenmanguu Shrine, wearing happi coats featuring the shrine’s emblem of the Japanese plum, carried a Dragon-shaped object through the hamlet. Accompanied by the rhythmic beats of a taiko drum, they sang the traditional, indigenous Shinto hymnal Wakamatsu-sama. The Dragon holds special significance as it symbolizes the zodiac animal for the year 2024.



The climax of the celebration occurred on the Minato-bashi bridge, marking the border with Koura’s rival, the Etomo Fishing Hamlet. Traditionally, both hamlets participate in the Sagicyo Shinji together, but this year, Etomo chose to abstain, so Koura displayed its performance to the residents of its rival.



Koura maintained a respectful and festive atmosphere, signalling a sacred commencement to the new year. Sagicyo Shinji meets on January 3rd of every year.


( Words by Takashi Saito )


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