Loosely translated "Mikoshi" means the waking of the gods. The word originates from the ancient Shinto religion, which is one of the most preveilant religions across the rural areas of Japan. The parade begins at the local shrine, then proceeds windingly and noisily through the village streets, only for the participants to return to where they began. The parade, and preceeding festival, are to apease the gods of prosperity and good fortune, in hopes of bringing luck to the local business men and plentiful harvests to the farmers. The parading of the Mikoshi, an elaborate and very weighty temporary home to the honoured deity, is the culmination and highlight of the Mikoshi Festival. The Mikoshi shrine is carried staggeringly upon the shoulders of a small army of somewhat intoxicated celebrants, this is not by any means intended to be a solemn procession. The uninhibited and excsatic beating of cerimonial drums, chanting, cheering and the jostling of the Mikoshi are thought to be extremely pleasing to the gods. Although the Mikoshi is a very heavy burden to bear thoughout the streets of the village, the priviledge of the task is thought by the villagers to be of the highest honour. The Mikoshi shrine is handcrafted and maintained by only the most skilled of crafts people in the surrounding area. The use of the finest materials, crafted and placed by the most skilled of hands is readily evident. All the bearers of the Mikoshi, on it's celebrated ride through the village, are donned in garments weaved of the finest silk and tailored by the handiest of seamstresses. The bright vivid colors and continued use of traditional cerimonial styles make the entire procession a feast for the eyes.