According to a local legend, the Oyamazumi Shrine used to be called "Yama no Kami", or Deity of the Mountains. The deity of the mountains was supposedly a goddess who wore make up, and so the locals took to grinding the first harvest of rice into powder, dissolving it in water, and painting the mixture they call Shitogi on their faces as a way to show appreciation for health and prosperity and a rich harvest, as well as praying for the harvest of next year. You won't find a festival quite like this anywhere else.
On the day of the festival, the Miyaza ritual where locals give thanks for the blessings of nature, starts in the afternoon. The top priest recites words and a service is held. After participants gather for a banquet, the person in charge takes out a large bowl full of Shitogi and paints everyone's faces, starting from the priest. The amount of Shitogi stuck to your face decides your harvest for the next year. You must leave the "make up" on your face until you reach home. Beware that putting the mixture into fire is dangerous, although mixing it into cattle and horse feed is said to bring good health and ward of disaster.
Surrounded by the beautiful nature of Hakioyama, the Oyamazumi Shrine's top priest performs a ritual thanking the local deity for nature's blessings. Don't miss it, and don't forget to wear warm clothes.
Festival-goers also have the chance to smear the Oshiroi paste on their faces. They say the more that clings on to your face, the better the harvest of next year. Not only is said to bring good fortune to your private life the coming year as well, but those who participate each year are said to live long lives with beautiful moisturized skin.
Please be quiet during the festival ritual.
Make sure to wear warm clothes.
Access to Asakura City
Amagi Station on the Amagi Railway
Address: Oyama, Haki, Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture
30min car ride from Amagi Station