Procession of Demons
A procession of demons is a unique feature of Ueno Tenjin Festival that can be seen almost nowhere else in Japan. It is composed of the sections of En no Gyoja and Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo, both of whom are historical figures. The section of En no Gyoja is organized in collaboration among the three areas of Aioi-cho, Konya-machi and Sannonishi-machi, while that of Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo is organized by Tokui-cho. More than a hundred demons in the procession wear ancient costumes and masks with horrible expressions. There are only a few exceptions, which wear masks with calm expressions. Enjoy the difference in expression of each demon mask.
Many of the masks are very valuable, designated as Cultural Properties of Mie Prefecture or Iga City. In order to protect the originals, replicas are used in the festival. During the festival period, the original masks are on public display at the demon procession vaults or assembly halls of the four areas listed above.
The demon procession vaults or assembly halls
History of Demon Procession
The procession of En no Gyoja first appeared in the Ueno Tenjin Festival earlier than festival floats. A record in 1690 that is considered to show the appearance of En no Gyoja in the festival has been found. This procession depicts En no Gyoja visiting Mt. Omine, a holy place of mountain worship. Around one hundred years later in 1798, the procession of Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo is assumed to have appeared in the festival. This procession depicts Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo returning home in triumph after beating demons.
Shirushi and Drum on the Stand
Ahead of each of the two demon processions is "shirushi". Oh-gohei is the shirushi for the procession of En no Gyoja, while Kiokensaki is for the procession of Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo. At the end of each procession comes a large drum on the stand. As with Danjiri, a costume procession and a drum at the end delight the gods on the shirushi from behind, which is unique to the Ueno Tenjin Festival.