Ainu ritual welcoming akisake salmon in Sapporo

The traditional Ainu ritual “Asir Cep Nomi” (organized by the executive committee) to welcome Akisake-salmon (chum salmon) swimming upstream in the river was held on September 13 at the Toyohira River riverside near Minami 7-jo Ohashi Bridge in Chuo-ku, Sapporo. Ainu indigenous people living in and around Sapporo gathered to give prayers of gratitude for the bounty of nature.
This year was the 39th ritual. When catching salmon was prohibited over 100 years ago, the ritual stopped taking place all over Hokkaido. But as part of the movement for the revival of Ainu rights in places like Sapporo, it was resumed in 1982.
On this day as well, attendees clad in traditional garb surrounded the hearth in front of the altar and prayed to the gods.


Minami 7-jo Ohashi Bridge