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People taking a shouzan.

Shouzan (昇山, ascending the mountain)[1] is the term for the pilgrimages taken by people ascending Mount Hou to be chosen by the kirin as the new ruler of their kingdom when it has no monarch.

Most shouzan will begin when a kingdom's kirin is believed to have reached maturity and will continue until the kirin has chosen a new monarch or has left Mt. Hou to independently seek out the kingdom's would-be monarch. People in kingdoms suffering from great calamity without a ruler may begin approaching the kirin sooner, forcing a kirin such as the current Enki to mature at a younger age in order to select a new monarch.

A person may only ascend Mt. Hou and attempt a shouzan once in their lifetime. Pilgrims usually begin their journey by crossing on the four gates that lead to Mt. Hou. Each of the gates open once a year at a different time, either at one of the seasonal equinoxes or solstices, and are known as the Day of Safe Passage. Though a pilgrim does not have to ascend when a gate is open, ascending Mt. Hou through a gate is usually the easiest method.