Traditional boat launching - Ainu ceremony at Biratori

Participants enjoyed canoeing down the Saru River under a clear, blue sky

A traditional “Chipusanke” Ainu boat launching ceremony (“chipu” means dugout canoe and “sanke” means launch in the Ainu language) was held on August 23 in the Nibutani area of the town of Biratori.
A Kamuynomi Ceremony was also held as a prayer to the gods.
The ceremony was accompanied by other traditions, including a Kamuynomi Ceremony held as a prayer to the gods.

The Chipusanke is a ceremony in which a soul is embedded in boats that have been made using techniques passed down from days of old. The ceremony was sponsored by an action committee composed of groups like the Biratori Ainu Association, and this year marked the 51st installment. Tourists usually participate in normal years, but to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, this year only about one hundred local people with a connection to the event were allowed to participate.

Three dugout canoes of five to seven meters long and approximately one meter wide were set up at the boat launching site on the Saru River in the Nibutani Dam area. Participants drifted gently downstream for about 700 meters while enjoying the magnificent scenery.
The head of the action committee said, “I’m glad we were able to hold this event without incident during this corona pandemic. I want to inspire the community and continue practicing these traditions.”


Nibutani Dam