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[Ebisuko Festival: PDF]
Ebisuko is a festival of Nishinomiya, a Shinto Shrine. It takes place every year on November 19th and 20th. Nishinomiya Shrine was established in Kiryu in 1901 from Nishinomiya Shrine in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture. The festival began in Kiryu in that same year.

The shrine is consecrated to the Shinto god, Ebisu, the god of commerce and prosperity. The people of Kiryu, a city where the textile industry has prospered, greatly revere this god.

Nishinomiya Shrine, located near Kita Elementary School, celebrates this lively festival called Ebisuko every year. Many stalls are set up near the shrine selling otakara (from the Japanese word for treasure or riches) and kumade (from the Japanese word for bear's paw), amulets for good fortune. These amulets are very popular among shop owners and people in commerce and are displayed in the shop or home near the kamidana, a shelf where Shinto gods are enshrined.

Many people ascend the steps of Nishinomiya Shrine during the festival to make an offering to Ebisu-sama to pray for good fortune in the coming year.

There are also many stalls selling plants and traditional treats characteristic of festivals like yakimanju (grilled buns basted with sweetened soy sauce), okonomiyaki (vegetable-filled pancakes), yakisoba (fried noodles and vegetables seasoned with a spicy sauce) and takoyaki (octopus-filled fried balls, somewhat like doughnut holes).

The lively atmosphere and beautiful autumn leaves of the gingko trees surrounding the shrine make Ebisuko a most exciting cultural affair.
 



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