Akita/Iwate: Day Three

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Day three included the Oga Namahage Museum and the Nyudozaki Cape.

The Namahage Museum and experience was very…interesting, to say the least. The tale of the Namahage festival is one that begins with the strange deity known as Oni.

“On New Year’s Eve, a group of 2 or 3 village youths disguised as a rather grotesque deity called Namahage, wearing large masks, straw raincoats and waist-bands, holding wooden knives and pails, go around visiting the houses at night, dancing along as they give out strange cries. They shout out menacing cries such as: “Any children crying?” “Any children disobeying their parents?” or “Any lazy daughters-in-law neglecting their work?”

The Namahage deities are received by the head of the family in formal dress, who offers sake and mochi rice cakes. Appeased by the warm hospitality, they take leave of that house, promising that the family will be blessed with good health, a large catch and a rich crop in the New Year, and then set off to visit the next home.

The Namahage event is derived from the belief that a deity bringing good fortune makes a visit to the village from elsewhere in the New Year, and similar events are found in other regions of Japan. The red mask represents a male ogre while the blue mask is symbolic of a female ogre.”

To start off the day, we visited the information center for the museum, mainly to see the two giant Namahage statues. Everyone wanted a photo!

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Then we moved on to the actual museum.

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Some people got to dress up in the Namahage outfits. We were also able to watch the Namahage masks being hand-carved by a very skilled worker.

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They also had many past Namahage outfits that were made on display.

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There was also an outdoors area with a small shrine.

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Heading down to board the bus for the next part of the day! Nyudozaki Cape! Again, another beautiful nature experience.

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Climbing on the rocks by the sea was a popular occurrence with us.

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There was also a lot of carefree frolicking through the tall grass around the cliff.

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The sunset marked the end of our day, and we headed to our very last hostel stay of the trip. The last day was coming so fast, what a shame!

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