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Hanaguri Festival (Cow nose ring festival)

April 3, 2010

If you’re near the Okayama area on April 18, or even if you’re not, don’t miss the Hanaguri Festival! This festival is held on the third Sunday of April every year. Hanaguri (鼻ぐり) means “nose ring.”

The festival takes place at the Hanaguri Shrine, called Fukudenkai Honbu (福田海本部) in Okayama. At this shrine, they have collected over 7 million nose rings from cows who have gone to slaughter. It is extremely sad, but also comforting to know that the cows have not been forgotten, even long after they have been digested and spat out the other end of the human body.

cow nose rings

A close up photo of the pile of over 7 million nose rings.

They do look rather fashionable, don’t they?

cow statue

A cow sculpture in front of the huge mound of nose rings.

The shugendo ceremony is to bless the souls of the cows who have given up their lives so humans can have beef, leather, and other bovine fancies.

Also, every Sunday they have a goma fire ceremony in front of the pile of nose rings (called a zuka) to pray for the repose of the cows’ souls.

Moooooo, mooooo, mooooo (lowing softly).

Read/listen in Japanese

Address:

福田海本部 (Fukudenkai)

岡山県岡山市北区吉備津795 (795 Kibitsu, Kita-ku, Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture)

Tel: 086-287-3008

Fukudenkai is located near Kibitsu Shrine, just off the Kibi jitensha dori (Kibi bicycle path). Make a day of  it by renting a bicycle at Okayama station (300 yen per day) and ride out to Fukudenkai (30-40 mins). The Kibi bicycle path passes many historic places.

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