Kyoto Shimbun 2013.12.9 News

Magnificent Sacred Straw Ropes with Hikonyan's Help
At Hikone Castle

On December 9, an annual year-end event to make "Shimenawa," or sacred straw ropes, for decorating Hikone Castle over the New Year, was held within Hikone Castle in Konki-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture. The popular city mascot "Hikonyan" also gave a helping hand, and a huge "Shimenawa" rope that reaches a length of 6 meters and weighs 50 kilograms was completed for decorating the Important Cultural Property, "Tenbinyagura" turret.

Workers in red Happi coats joined hands and twisted three bundles of rice straw to complete a thick straw rope approximately 45 centimeters in circumference. Hikonyan assisted them with holding and carrying the straw rope while a crowd of female fans observed.

Approximately 100 kilograms of glutinous rice straw, received from farmers in the city, were used for the straw ropes in the castle. A total of 10 ropes, ranging in size from 60 centimeters to 6 meters depending on the location they were to be hung, were made over a period of a month or so. On December 26, these straw ropes will be hung at the caste tower's entrance, Tenbinyagura turret, Genkyu-en garden and other places in order to welcome visitors for the New Year.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Hikonyan helps to twist huge straw ropes for New Year's decorations (Within Hikone Castle, Konki-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture)