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Seven Japanese Gods of Luck Festival (Shichifukujin) - Hatsu Konpira

Seven Japanese Gods of Luck Festival (Shichifukujin) - Hatsu Konpira


At Kotohiragu Shrine a small shrine in Tokyo, they have a small festival with a small parade of the Shichifukujin, the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. Hatsu Konpira is the shrine's first fair of the new year so the parade of the seven lucky gods is to ensure good luck, good health, and prosperity in the coming year.

It's a very short parade only within the grounds of the shrines but the costumes and masks of the seven gods are really great. It was a good look into how important it is in Japan to pray for good luck and health at the beginning of the year. The seven gods walk about dispensing their blessings on the people. There are quite a number of these Shichifukujin type festivals around New Year's.

Daikoku Ten

Daikoku Ten 大黒天
The Shinto version is written with a different character
大国 Okuninushi

DAIKOKU, DAIKOKU-TEN (Sanskrit = Mahakala)
Name literally means "Great Black Deva"

One of the Seven Gods of Good Luck.

sanmen Daikoku 三面大黒 Daikoku with three faces and six arms

The left face is of Bishamonten 毘沙門天 (Vaisravana),
the right face is of Benzaiten 弁才天 (Sarasvati).

He is often seen in combination with Ebisu, Deity of the Fishermen

kigo for the New Year

hatsu Daikoku 初大黒(はつだいこく)
first Daikoku ceremony

hatsu ki no e ne, hatsu kinoene 初甲子 (はつきのえね)
first day of the rat and the element water
. hatsu kasshi 初甲子(はつかっし)

The rat (mouse) is closely related to Daikoku.
She is the zodiac sign of midnight and the north, and on the day of the rat a ritual offering of 100 black beans is given to Daikoku.
. Rat and Water day .  
Rituals for Sun Waiting

observance kigo for mid-winter

Daikoku matsuri 大黒祭(だいこくまつり)
Daikoku festival
nematsuri, ne matsuri 子祭 (ねまつり) Rat/Mouse festival

futamata daikon 二股大根(ふたまただいこん)
bifurcated radish
yome daikon 嫁大根(よめだいこん)"radish like a bride"

tooshin uri 燈心売(とうしんうり)vendors of wicks
netooshin 子燈心(ねとうしん) wick sold on th day of the rat

Festival in the month of the rat (lunar 11th month) on the day of the rat, esp. kinoe ne rat.
Many people used tofu and bifurcated radish as an offering.
If you bought a wick for an oil lamp on this day, you will become rich during the year.

Some regions in Kyushu celebrate Daikoku on the next day, day of the ox and the day of the rat is the day of "Daikoku taking a bride".

Sometimes Daikoku is shown with a large radish mikoshi, pulled by mice.

Daikoku represents the male, the bifurcated radish the female body and both are depicted together in prayers for fertility, having many children and keep the family line going.
Simple ema votive tablets were also offered at temples of Daikoku sama.

Otoshime 乙しめ Pricess Otohime, played by 坂東三津五郎 Bandō Mitsugorō, and
Issun'boshi Daikoku 一寸ほし大黒 One-Inch Boy Daikoku played by 市川小団次 Ichikawa Kodanji, 1864.
Utagawa Kunisada II

Mizusashi 水滴 water dripper

two-pronged radish 大黒天 二股大根

ema 大黒天 絵馬 votive tablets with Daikoku

Daikoku dorei 大黒天  土鈴 clay bell

Daikoku hariko 大黒天 張子 papermachee dolls

Click the photos for more illustrations.

He is one of the
Seven Gods of Good Luck (shichi fukujin)
Daruma Museum: 七福神

Daikoku is considered to be the god of wealth, or of the household, particularly the kitchen. He is recognised by his wide face, smile, and a flat black hat. He is often portrayed holding a golden mallet, seated on bales of rice, with mice nearby (mice signify plentiful food).

The strongest pillar in a home is called the "Pillar of Daikoku", daikokubashira 大黒柱.
The wife of a priest also is called "Daikoku sama" 大黒さま.

Papermachee Daruma Dolls from Tama

Made by Kamehachi 亀八 from Shuuchi gun Mori choo 周智郡森町 (Aichi)
His real name was Muramatsu Shin-ichi 村松新一.
Daikoku stands on two rice barrels and has rather large ears.
Therefore it is also called
mimitsuki Daruma 耳つきだるま Daruma Daikoku with large ears

Often also listed as a figure from Shizuoka.
Kamehachi also made figures of Mori no Ishimatsu.

by Tosa Mitsufumi (Mitsubumi)

uchide no kozuchi 打ち出の小槌 hammer of Daikoku.
the mallet of good luck
fuku kozuchi 福小槌 lucky hammer, mallet of Daikoku

Little Daruma and Little Daikoku

More books about Daruma and his little friends.

だるまちゃんとかみなりちゃん Kaminari-chan, the Thunder Boy
だるまちゃんととらのこちゃん Tora, the little Tiger
だるまちゃんとだいこくちゃん Daikoku, the God of Good Luck
加古 里子 Kako Satoshi

Okuni-Nushi no Mikoto (ookuninushi) 大国主命
was the most important deity, revered at the grand shrine of Izumo, Izumo Taisha 出雲大社.
Okuni-Nushi is also known as the god of happiness and marriage. In this respect, he is equivalent to the Buddhist Deity of Daikoku-Sama 大黒、大国.

aburakake Daikoku, abura kake  油掛大黒 / 油かけ大黒天
if you pour oil over this Daikokuten, he will bring you good luck.

source : hundred390.rssing.com
at the temple 身延別院 Minobu Betsuin in Tokyo
Nihombashi Kodemmacho 3-2,Chuo-ku,

There are other statues of this type in Japan.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Daikokuten (Mahaakaala, Mahakala)

Wahrscheinlich japanische Version der hinduistischen Gottheit Shiva.
Andere Bezeichnung: Kara-Ten, Maha Kara-Ten. Kara bedeutet schwarz, daher in Japan Daikoku "Großer Schwarzer Ten". Älteste Statuen mit furchterregendem Gesichtsausdruck als Schutzgottheit der Religion. Später als Gott für Essen und Trinken wurde er in der Küche über dem Herd plaziert und immer schwarz vom Ruß, daher vieleicht auch "Großer Schwarzer Ten."

Auch als Gott für Kriegsglück sowie Glück und Tugend verehrt. In Lagerhallen und in der Küche von Tempeln verehrt, daher auch die Bezeichnung "Daikoku-Säule" (daikokubashira) für die tragende Säule eines Hauses. In der Muromachi-Zeit wurden mehr Felder angelegt und mehr Reis angebaut, daher auch ein freundlich lächelnder Daikoku auf Reisballen stehend und einen Hammer schwingend. Mit dem Hammer wird das Stroh geklopft, um daraus Sandalen und allerlei nützliche Gegenstände zu flechten. Viele Sandalen, gutes Geschäft, also Gott des Reichtums und eines blühenden Geschäftes.
Seit der Muromachi-Zeit wurden Daikoku, Bishamon und Benten als drei Inkarnationen der gleichen Gottheit angesehen. Steinfiguren in den Feldern, denen heute noch lange gegabelte Rettiche geopfert werden.


Trägt eine Entenmuschel-Mütze (eboshi).
Ursprünglich als Kriegsgott mit schwarzer Hautfarbe drei Köpfe und sechs Arme, mit furchterregendem Gesichtsausdruck. Steht auf einem Lotusblätter-Sockel.

Später seit der Heian-Zeit mit einem oder drei Köpfen und zwei Armen. Wenn die Köpfe nebeneinander nach vorne gerichtet angeordnet sind, wirkt die Statue besonders breit und untersetzt. [gesehen im Mampukuji, Kamakura]. In dieser Form seit der Muromachi-Zeit einer der sieben Glücksgötter. Steht auf zwei Reisballen. Trägt Reisbündel oder Glückshorn, aus dem er Wohlstand spendet. In der erhobenen Hand einen Hammer. Trägt einen Sack auf dem Rücken. Manchmal Mäuse neben der Statue.

Japanische Gottheit Ookuninushi no Mikoto entspricht Daikokuten (Daikokujin). (Ookuninushi brachte den Reisanbau nach Japan.)
Oder sitzende Figur, mit einem Geldsack auf dem Schoß. Ein Bein herunterhängend.

Zusammen mit Ebisu als Doppelfigur.
Gruppe mit Daikokuten in der Mitte und den anderen sechs Glücksgöttern drumherum: Daikoku Mandala 大黒曼陀羅, 大黒曼荼羅.

ishibiri 石びり someone stingy, stinginess

xx-biri (hiru ひる) means to loose excrements and dribble urine.
Once upon a time, someone asked Daikoku sama to HIRU some gold and silver for him. But Daikoku only dribbled stones to the man.

. hashiri Daikoku 走り大黒 / 波之利大黒天 .
running Daikoku Ten / walking Daikoku at Nikko


Sennin eight Chinese immortals

China - The Eight Immortals 八仙 Pa Hsien

He Xian Gu (何仙姑 pinyin: Hé Xiān Gū) - 何仙姑(かせんこ)Kasenko
The Immortal Woman
He Xian Gu’s immortality is due to a consistent diet of powdered mother-of-pearl and moonbeams. While swallowing it, she vowed to remain a virgin.
According to a different version, He Xian Gu, daughter of a 7th-century shopkeeper, ate a magic peach and became immortal. Since than she is flying about.
She is attributed by the lotus/lotus pond, which can cultivate people through meditation.
Occasionally she is attributed with a peach, the divine fruit of Gods, associated with immortality or a music instrument or a ladle to dispense wisdom, meditation and purity.

Cao Gou Jiu (曹國舅 pinyin: Cáo Guó Jiù) - 曹国舅(そうこっきゅう)Sokokkiyu
The Royal Uncle Cao
Cao Gou Jiu is reputed to have been the brother of a 10th century Song Empress, the uncle to the Emperor of the Song Dynasty and the son of a military commander. His attribute, the castanets, are thought to be derived from the pass that gave him free access to the palace, a benefit of his rank.
He is also attributed with a jade tablet, which can purify the air.
According to another version, Cao Guo Jiu's younger brother Cao Jingzhi was a bully, but no one dared to prosecute him because of his powerful connections, not even after he killed a person. Royal Uncle Cao was so overwhelmed by sadness and shame on his brother that he resigned his office and left home.
He is represented by wearing formal court dress, always the finest dress among all Eight Immortals, and carrying castanets.
Cao Gou Jiu is the patron deity of actors.

Li Tie Guai (李鐵拐 pinyin: Lĭ Tiĕ Guăi) Li Tieguai. - 李鉄拐 / 鉄拐李(りてっかい)Ri Tekkai
Gama Sennin 蝦蟇仙人 "Toad Immortal"
The Iron-Crutch Li
Because of his great skill at magic, Li Tie Guai, was able to free his soul from his body and aid and meet others in the celestial realm. Li Tie Guai, a good looking man used his skill frequently. Once, while his spirit was gone from his body, a disciple decided that Li Tie Guai was dead and burned his body as was traditional. When Li Tie Guai’s soul returned from its travels, he was forced to enter the body of a beggar.
He is represented as a lame beggar carrying a double gourd. The gourd, symbolising longevity and the ability to ward off evil, has a cloud emanating from it. The cloud represents the soul, depicted as a formless shape.
The gourd represents also helping the needy and relieve the distressed.
Sometimes Li Tie Guai is pictured riding the qilin.
Li Tie Guai is the emblem of the sick.
. Gama Sennin 蝦蟇仙人 "Toad Immortal" - 劉海 Liu Hai .

Lan Cai (蓝采和 pinyin: Lán Cǎihé) - 藍采和(らんさいか)Ransaika
The Immortal Hermaphrodite
Lan Cai is said to have wandered the streets as a beggar while singing a song about the brevity of mortal life. Her/his attribute is a basket of flowers associated with longevity, which she/he carries to remind viewers of the transience of life and with which she/he can communicate with gods.
She/he is variously portrayed as a youth, an aged man, or a girl in modern pictures generally as a young boy.
She/he is represented by wearing a tattered blue gown and only one shoe.
Lan Cai is the patron deity of florists.

Lü Dongbin (呂洞賓 pinyin: Lǚ Dòngbīn) - 呂洞賓(りょどうひん)Ryodohin
The Chief leader

Lü Dongbin was an 8th-century scholar, who learned the secrets of Taoism from Zhuang Lin Quan. Dressed as a scholar, he is honoured as such. His attribute, the sword, which can subdue the evil, allowed him to travel the earth slaying dragons and fighting evil.
He is represented with a sword on his back and a fly brush in his hand.
Lü Dongbin is also the patron deity of barbers.

Han Xiang Zi (韓湘子 pinyin: Hán Xiāng Zi) - 韓湘子(かんしょうし)Kanshoshi
The Philosopher Han Xiang
Han Xiang Zi is said to have been the nephew of Han Yü, a famous scholar of the 9th century. Among his special skills was the ability to make flowers bloom instantaneously and smooth wild animals. His attribute is the flute, which can cause growth.
He is represented as a Happy Man.
Han Xiang Zi is the patron saint of musicians.

Zhang Guo Lao (張果老 pinyin: Zhāng Guǒ Lǎo) - 張果老(ちょうかろう)Chokaro
The Elder Zhang Guo
Zhang Guo Lao is reputed to have been a recluse of the 7th or 8th century. He travelled with a white mule that could go incredible distances and then be folded up and placed in a wallet. Zhang Guo Lao had only to sprinkle water to the mule to reconstitute it for further use.
Zhang Guo Lao's attribute is a drum made of a bamboo tube with two rods with which to strike it. The drum can cure life.
He is represented as an old man riding the mule, at times riding backwards.
Zhang Guo Lao is the emblem of old men.

Zhongli Quan (鐘离權 Pinyin: Zhōnglí Quán) - 漢鍾離(かんしょうり)Kanshori または鍾離権(しょうりけん)
Zhongli Quan was reputed to have lived during the Zhou dynasty (1122-256 BC). Among his many powers were transmutation and the knowledge of the elixir of life. His attribute is a fan, which can bring the dead back to life.
He is represented as a Fat Man with his bare belly showing.
Zhongli Quan represents the military man.

- quote -
The Eight Immortals 八仙 are a group of legendary xian ("immortals") in Chinese mythology.
Each immortal's power can be transferred to a power tool (法器) that can bestow life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called the "Covert Eight Immortals" (暗八仙). Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang or Song dynasty. They are revered by the Taoists and are also a popular element in the secular Chinese culture. They are said to live on a group of five islands in the Bohai Sea, which includes Penglai Mountain-Island.

- - - - - The Immortals are:

He Xian'gu
Cao Guojiu
Li Tieguai
Lan Caihe
Lü Dongbin
Han Xiangzi
Zhang Guolao
Zhongli Quan

In literature before the 1970s, they were sometimes translated as the Eight Genies.
First described in the Yuan Dynasty, they were probably named after the Eight Immortal Scholars of the Han.
- In art
- In literature
- In qigong and martial art
- Reverence
- Depictions in popular culture
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Bashiko, Taoist immortal,
considered by the Japanese to be the first veterinary surgeon. He supposedly lived in China in the years 2697-2597 B.C. and cured a dying dragon by operating on its throat. Bashiko is rarely depicted in art, while another Taoist sage, Chinnan, is more popularly shown with dragons.

Kinko - Qin Gao (Kinkô sennin) 琴高仙人 Kinko Sennin
Kinko, who lived beside a river and was a painter of fish.
One day a giant carp offered to take him for a ride into the realm of the immortals. He returned after a month, telling his followers never to kill another fish. He then jumped into the river, where he was transformed into a carp himself. Kinko is usually shown reading a Taoist scroll while riding on the back of the magical fish.

Sennin Koshohei with a short stick in his hand leaning slightly over a small rock that turns into a goat. Koshohei led a herd of goats to the mountains and stayed there for 40 years in meditation. His brother found him after all that this time and was wondering where the goat were. Koshohei touched the boulders around him with a stick, and they turned into goats.

- another name for Chokaro / Chang Kuo-lao

Seven Japanese Gods of Luck Festival (Shichifukujin) - Hatsu Konpira - History

Each year, Keihan Bus provides a special tour service, called Kyoto Winter Travel. Their Kyoto Regular Tour Buses visit famous Kyoto locations not normally accessible. For details, refer to the Keihan Bus website.

Access: Buses leave from the Kyoto Regular Tour Bus loading area next to JR Kyoto Station, located outside the Karasuma exit.

Toka Ebisu

The main day of the festivals celebrating Ebisu, god of merchant prosperity, falls on January 10, with festivities on the days before and after that as well. Toka Ebisu is a popular festival, with many people buying good luck bamboo branches and praying to Ebisu for prosperity in the new year. The shrines are open all night long for praying on the nights of the 9 and 10.

Kyoto Ebisu Shrine: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamato Oji-dori 4-jo Sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto > Map

Horikawa Ebisu Shrine, Osaka: Nishi Tenma 5-4-7, Kita-ku, Osaka > Map

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine: Ebisu Nishi 1-6-10, Naniwa-ku, Osaka > Map

Horikawa Ebisu Shrine, Osaka: +81-(0)6-6311-8626

  • Kyoto Ebisu Shrine:
    • It is a six-minute walk from Gion Shijo Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
    • Alternatively, it is an eight-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Horikawa Ebisu Shrine, Osaka:
    From Tenma or Kitahama Station on Keihan Electric Railway, transfer to the subway to Minami-morimachi Station. It is a five-minute walk.
  • Imamiya Ebisu Shrine:
    From Yodayabashi Station on Keihan Electric Railway, transfer to the subway to Daikokucho Station. It is a five-minute walk.

Fushimi Gofuku Meguri

Originally the town outside Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s castle in the sixteenth century, Fushimi is a popular location to visit during the new year. Visitors perform hatsumode (new year visit to a shrine or temple) to five well-known “good luck” temples and shrines in Fushimi. Fushimi is also popular for taking strolls and enjoying the views of the sake breweries, an outing providing a different feeling from Kyoto’s city center.
Choken-ji Temple – god of improving luck, merchant prosperity, accomplishment and proficiency
Daikoku-ji Temple – god of success, improving luck, financial prosperity
Go-Kogu Shrine – god of safe childbirth, improving luck, protection from misfortune
Nogi Shrine – god of academic performance, winning
Fujinomori Shrine – god of winning, improving luck

Choken-ji Temple: 511 Higashi Yanagi-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto > Map

Daikoku-ji Temple: Takajo-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto > Map

Go-Kogu Shrine: 174 Gokogu Monzen-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto > Map

Nogi Shrine: 32-2 Itakurasuo, Momoyama-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto > Map

Fujinomori Shrine: 609 Fukakusa Toriizaki-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto > Map

Fushimi Gofuku Meguri: +81-(0)75-611-0559 (Rakunan Hoshokai)

  • Choken-ji Temple:
    It is a five-minute walk from Chushojima Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Daikoku-ji Temple:
    It is a 10-minute walk from Tambabashi Station on either Keihan Electric Railway or Kintetsu.
  • Go-Kogu Shrine:
    It is a five-minute walk from Fushimi-Momoyama Station on Keihan Electric Railway, from Momoyamagoryo-mae Station on Kintetsu, or Momoyama Station on the JR Nara Line.
  • Nogi Shrine:
    It is a 15-minute walk from Fushimi-momoyama Station or Momoyama-Minamiguchi Station on Keihan Electric Railway, or from Momoyamagoryo-mae Station on Kintetsu. Alternatively, it is a 10-minute walk from Momoyama Station on the JR Nara Line.
  • Fujinomori Shrine:
    It is a 10-minute walk from Sumizome Station on Keihan Electric Railway, or a five-minute walk from Fujinomori Station on JR.

Miyako Shichifukujin Mairi – Visiting Seven Gods and Goddesses

Belief in the Seven Gods of Fortune first began in Japan in Kyoto around six hundred years ago and then spread throughout the country. Named Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Daikokuten, Ebisu, Fukurokuju, Hotei and Jurojin, these gods and goddesses of Japan, China and India are said to bring people good fortune. Tradition holds that if a picture of a treasure boat bearing the Seven Gods of Fortune is placed under your pillow when you go to bed on January 2, it will bring you good luck. During the new year, many people pray at the temples and shrines for the Seven Gods of Fortune for the Seven Fortunes and ward off the Seven Misfortunes. Pilgrimage is made at other times of the year as well.
Ebisu Shrines – Ebisu – merchant prosperity
Myoen-ji Temple (Matsugasaki Daikokuten) – Daikokuten – improved fortune
To-ji Temple – Bishamonten – the Seven Fortunes
Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple – Benzaiten
Sekizan Zen-in Temple – Fukurokuju – longevity and happiness
Kodo (Gyogan-ji Temple) – Jurojin – immortality and longevity
Manpuku-ji Temple – Hotei – destiny and good omens

Kyoto Ebisu Shrine: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamato Oji-dori 4-jo Sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto > Map

Myoen-ji Temple (Matsugasaki Daikokuten): 31 Matsugasaki Higashi-machi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

To-ji Temple: 1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto > Map

Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple: 81-1 Rokuro-cho, Matsubara-dori Yamato Oji Higashiiru 2-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto > Map

Sekizan Zen-in Temple: 18 Shugaku Inkai Konbo-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Kodo (Gyogan-ji Temple): 17 Teramachi-dori Takeyamachi Agaru Gyoganji Monzen-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Manpuku-ji Temple: 34 Gokasho Sanban-wari, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture > Map

Myoen-ji Temple (Matsugasaki Daikokuten): +81-(0)75-781-5067

  • Kyoto Ebisu Shrine:
    It is a six-minute walk from Gionshijo Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Myoen-ji Temple (Matsugasaki Daikokuten):
    It is a seven-minute walk from Shugakuin Station on Eizan Electric Railway or a 15-minute walk from Matsugasaki Station on the Kyoto Karasuma subway line.
  • To-ji Temple:
    It is a 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station on JR, or a 10-minute walk from Toji Station on Kintetsu.
  • Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple:
    It is an eight-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Sekizan Zen-in Temple:
    It is a 20-minute walk from Shugakuin Station on Eizan Electric Railway.
  • Kodo (Gyogan-ji Temple): It is a 10-minute walk from Jingu-Marutamachi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Manpuku-ji Temple: It is a five-minute walk from Obaku Station on the Uji Line on Keihan Electric Railway or from Obaku Station on the JR Nara Line.

Yumihikizome, Toshiya – New Year Archery

From one end to the other of Sanjusangen-do Temple, the distance is about 60 meters. Competing in archery to shoot arrows along the length is said to date back to the sixteenth century. Archery aficionados from throughout Japan gather in an impressive display, wearing traditional hakama. Young men having just turned adults at the age of 20 are particularly common. The invigorating winter air is filled with solemnity as the archers focus their attention on their target on this day, the first day of the lunar new year.

Hatsu Kobo at To-ji Temple

A festival day for Kobo Daishi (Kukai) is held on the 21 of each month in memory of his passing on the 21 of March. The word "hatsu" refers to the first festival of the new year. Some 1200 street stalls set up on the grounds of To-ji Temple, selling antiques, local specialty products, potted plants, gardening products, ceramics and more.

  • • It is a 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station on JR
  • • It is a 10-minute walk from Toji Station on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line.

Hatsu Tenjin at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

The 25th of the month is celebrated in memory of the death anniversary of Sugawara no Michizane, a famous scholar of ancient times also known as Tenjin (sky deity). Similar to the celebration for Kobo, the Hatsu Tenjin on the grounds of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine is a grand day-long celebration. The festival days vie with each other, and according to one popular saying, if it rains on Kobo's day, the skies will be clear for the Tenjin festival. More than 1000 stalls are set up for the lively event, and there is an exhibit of new year wishes, showing the calligraphy work of visitors. Also, January 25 is the only day of the year when treasures of the shrine's repository are on view to the public.


Setsubun Festival

Setsubun marks the last day of winter according to the lunar calendar. It is thought that the change of seasons may give rise to evil spirits, and many of the temples and shrines in Kyoto perform a variety of events to ward away the evil. Most homes also observe the Setsubun ritual of tossing soybeans while intoning, "Evil outside, good fortune inside!" Another practice commonly followed is to eat the same number of soybeans as your age, believed to bring about a strong constitution and long life. Among the many Setsubun festivals, those held at Yoshida Shrine, Rozan-ji Temple, Mibu-dera Temple and Narita-san Osaka Betsuin Myoo-in Temple are particularly popular.

Yoshida Shrine: 30 Yoshida Kaguraoka-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Rozan-ji Temple: Teramachi-dori Hirokoji Agaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Mibu-dera Temple: Bojo-dori Bukko-ji Kita Iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Narita-san Osaka Betsuin Myoo-in Temple: 10-1 Narita Nishi-machi, Neyagawa > Map

Narita-san Osaka Betsuin Myoo-in Temple: +81-(0)72-833-8881

  • Yoshida Shrine: It is a 20-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Rozan-ji Temple: It is a 20-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station or Jingu-Marutamachi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Mibu-dera Temple: From Gion-Shijo Station on Keihan Electric Railway take Kyoto city bus 11/203 to the Mibu-dera bus stop. It is a 5-minute walk.
  • Narita-san Osaka Betsuin Myoo-in Temple: From Korien Station on Keihan Electric Railway, take Keihan Bus 22/24B/25/25B to Narita-san Fudo-son-zen.

Godai Rikison Ninnoe

Every year on February 23, Daigo-ji Temple holds its Godai Rikison Ninnoe, commonly called "Godai Riki-san." Godai Rikison Ninnoe is a ritual in which prayers are offered to the bodhisattva Godairiki, who embodies the power of Fudo Myo-o (Acala) and the other Five Wisdom Kings, for national peace and good fortune for the people. The history of the ritual goes back to the year 907 during the reign of Emperor Daigo. Special Buddhist images are given out only on February 23 for protection from fire and theft. These can be seen placed not only at the entrances to stores but homes as well. To receive these talismans, people wait from morning till night, forming an endless line. More than 100,000 people from throughout Japan come to see Godai Rikison Ninnoe, known as the largest event held at Daigo-ji Temple.
In recent years, it has become popular for men and women to vie to see who can lift and hold giant rice cake stacks known as Godairiki mochi the longest. The men's contest is with 150 kilograms of weight and the women's with 90. With their strength as offerings, they pray for good health and physical strength. As a prize, the winners receive a portion of the giant mochi. If you think you have what it takes, turn out and see how long you can last! There is no charge to enter the contest.



In Japan, March 3 is Hinamatsuri or Doll Festival, a day when traditional dolls are displayed on a special tiered doll stand. This custom comes from a ritual in which the dolls are sent down the river, carrying bad spirits with them. One of the oldest shrines in Japan, Shimogamo Shrine holds a ceremony in which male and female dolls made of washi paper are placed on plaited straw and floated down the Mitarashi River, which flows through the shrine compound, to pray for the good health of children. On the day of the ceremony, the first 250 visitors are given a nagashi-hina or doll for floating.
Young women dressed in Heian-style 12-layer kimonos send the dolls down the river with prayer with great grace. It is a sight that should not be missed. It is also the time when the blossoms on the ume trees in the compound are in bloom. To be invited to drink some amazake, a sweet low-alcohol drink while enjoying the deep pink of the blossoms is a particularly wonderful treat.

Kyoto Higashiyama Hana Toro – Flowers and Lanterns

From Shoren-in Temple and Maruyama Park in the north, a narrow flagstone roadway winds its way for about five kilometers, passing through Yasaka Shrine before coming to Kiyomizu Temple. Surrounded by whitewashed and earthen walls, the path is lined with Japanese lights and flowers. Faintly lighting the way forward are some 2500 lanterns, created using such traditional crafts as Kyoyaki and Kiyomizuyaki pottery, Japanese cedar craft, Kyomei bamboo craft and lacquering. Ikebana flower arrangements adorn the way in large vases, created by the heads of the various flower arrangement schools, creating such a dreamlike sensation of ornate beauty that it is called "the road you can't stop walking down." Daring works by young flower arrangement artists unfold before your eyes at a venue in Maruyama Park, and Kyoto schoolchildren put on street performances for an enhanced level of entertainment along the flowery way of lights.

Shoren-in Temple: 69-1 Awadaguchi Sanjobo-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto > Map

Kiyomizu Temple: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto > Map

  • Shoren-in Temple: It is a five-minute walk from the Higashiyama subway station.
  • Kiyomizu Temple: It is a 25- minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station on Keihan Electric Railway.

Kitano Odori

Kitano Odori is a dance performance by geisha and maiko (geisha in training) associated with Kamishichiken. The season begins on March 25 each year and is a harbinger of spring in Kyoto, opening before the other spring dances in hanamachi such as Miyako Odori, Kyo Odori and Kamogawa Odori. Kamishichiken began as a series of seven tea houses, built near Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine around six hundred years ago. Among the five hanamachi or geisha districts of Kyoto, Kamishiken is the oldest. Of particular note is the refined movements of the geisha and maiko, cultivated over Kamishichiken's long history. A characteristic of this show is the use of spoken lines. The finale is "Kamishichiken Yakyoku" (Evening Song of Kamishichiken), a marvelous spectacle in which all of the geisha and maiko come onto stage and dance in gorgeous kimonos tailored in a fashion so as to trail on the floor. Somewhat smaller than many other shows, Kitano Odori has a special elegance of its own worth seeing.


Miyako Odori

Miyako Odori is a dance performance in which about 20 geisha and maiko (geisha in training) appear, making a spectacular show. A special spring attraction in Kyoto, the show's performers are from Gion Kobu. In 1872, soon after Japan's capital was moved to Tokyo, Miyako Odori was created as a special exhibit planned to maintain the historical pride of Kyoto as the traditional home of the emperor. Miyako Odori, or "Capital Dance," is characterized by a sliding movement of the feet unique to the traditional Kyoto Inoueryu style of dancing. Written by Yachiyo Inoue, the shows are selected to match the Chinese zodiac and the season.

Kyo Odori

A special event for spring in Kyoto, Kyo Odori is a dancing performance by geisha and maiko (geisha in training) of the Miyagawa-cho Dance Association. The first performance was held in 1950. Incorporating popular places and products of Kyoto in dance, the performance has been well received. In the fifth season, the stage was moved to the Minami-za kabuki theater until 1969 when it returned to the newly completed Miyagawa-cho Dance Hall.
With a large cast numbering about 80 geisha and maiko, the performance's main themes are places and products of Kyoto. The refined performers and creative genius of this production make it an event that lives up to its reputation as a tradition.

Kamogawa Odori

Coloring Kyoto with the invigorating new green growth of spring, Kamogawa Odori is a dance performance by geisha and maiko (geisha in training) of Ponto-cho. The first show was put on in 1872, a tradition carried on for more than a century. An innovative dance drama, Kamogawa Odori is choreographed in the Onoe style, and the stage provides a magnificent venue with picture scrolls that move as talented geisha dance about.

Kibune no Kawadoko – Dining Over the Kibune Stream

A summer retreat from urban Kyoto, Kibune provides about 20 high-end restaurants with seating over the Kibune Stream. The narrow Kibune Stream runs quickly under restaurant-goers, who sit only a bit more than a foot above the water surface as to enjoy the refreshing breeze, nature's air conditioning. Meals are eaten surrounded by the green beauty of trees near the stream, a luxurious way to pass the time away during the extreme hot weather of Kyoto's summer. In the evening, the light of lanterns create a wondrous atmosphere, making Kibune a completely different place from the daytime.

Kamogawa no Yuka – River Dining

Sitting near the Kamo River in the evening is a popular summer activity in Kyoto, beginning in May when the first signs of warmer days appear. From Nijo to Gojo on the west bank of the Kamo River, there are about 100 restaurants and inns that provide seating along the river for enjoying the cool of evening while eating. This practice along the Kamo River has a long history, said to have begun around the end of the sixteenth century. In addition to high-class restaurants, cafes and pub-like izakaya have riverside seating, a pleasant way to enjoy the townscape of Kyoto. As the evening comes on, the restaurants gradually turn on their lights, making a pleasant atmosphere.

Aoi Festival – Hollyhock Festival

The Aoi Festival (also known as the Kamo Festival) is one of the three great festivals of Kyoto. An annual festival of Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines, it was started by Emperor Kinmei in response to a famine that occurred in the middle of the sixth century. The procession of courtly elegance begins with a bamboo screen for the shrine of the imperial palace, followed by an ox-drawn court carriage, an imperial messenger, traditional formal court attire of attendants, and oxen and horses. With everything decorated with hollyhock leaves, the line marches from the imperial palace to Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine.
The star of the Aoi Festival procession is a woman designated as the saio. In former times, an unmarried re lative of the emperor was selected for the role, but today, an unmarried female residing in Kyoto is chosen. Wearing a twelve-layer kimono, the saio sits in a palanquin with the bamboo screens open in all directions.
Visitors are asked to refrain from taking photographs with a flash to avoid frightening the horses. Also, those seated are asked to not use parasols as a courtesy to those sitting further back. Make sure to bring your hat and suntan lotion!

Kyoto Imperial Palace: 3 Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Shimogamo Shrine: 59 Shimogamo Izumigawa-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Kamigamo Shrine: 339 Kamigamo Motoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto > Map

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden Office, Ministry of the Environment: +81-(0)75-211-6348

  • Kyoto Imperial Palace:
    It is a 10-minute walk from Jingu-Marutamachi or Demachiyanagi Station on Keihan Electric Railway, or a five-minute walk from Marutamachi Station on the subway.
  • Shimogamo Shrine:
    It is a 10-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Kamigamo Shrine:
    Take Kyoto city bus 4/46 to Kamigamo Jinja-mae, Kyoto city bus 9 to Kamigamo Misonobashi, or Kyoto bus 30/32/34/35/36 to Kamigamo Jinja-mae.

Takigi Noh

Kyoto Takigi Noh was started in 1950 as a cooperative project by the City of Kyoto and the Kyoto Noh Association. The Noh performance is held on a Noh stage set up on the grounds of Heian Shrine just for the event. Iron baskets with fire light up the vermillion lacquered shrine building, creating a magnificent venue for the Noh performance. Competition among the talented Noh performers from the Kanze, Kongo and Okura schools entice the audience into the quiet, elegant world of Noh. Each day has different works performed. A fee is charged for admission. In the case of rain, the performances are held in the Kyoto Concert Hall.

  • • 15-minute walk from Jingu-Marutamachi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • • 10-minute walk from Higashiyama Station on the Tozai subway line.

Kyoto Five Hanamachi Joint Performance

The geisha and maiko (geisha in training) of Kyoto's five hanamachi (geisha districts) come together in a single venue to demonstrate the traditional and historical dance style of each hanamachi. The "Maiko no Nigiwai" is a particularly popular performance with 20 maiko performing simultaneously. The Kyoto Five Hanamachi Joint Performance was begun in 1994 in commemoration of the 1200th-year anniversary since Kyoto's founding as the capital of Japan. The five hanamachi of Kyoto are: Gion Kobu, Ponto-cho, Miyagawa-cho, Gion Higashi and Kamishichiken. Each has maintained and passed down fine styles of Kyoto dancing, which are performed at this unique event.

Kyoto Kaikan: 13 Okazaki Saishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Minami-za: Shijo Ohashi Higashizume, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto > Map

  • Kyoto Kaikan:
    It is a 15-minute walk from Jingu-Marutamachi Station on Keihan Electric Railway or a 10-minute walk from Higashiyama Station on the subway.
  • Minami-za: Located next to Gion-Shijo Station on Keihan Electric Railway.

Cormorant Fishing on the Uji River

When the summer sun sets, cormorant fishing begins on the Uji River, one of Kyoto's summer attractions. The usho, or cormorant masters, work in the river around the passenger boat as their cormorants catch ayu or sweetfish. From the boat, tourists can watch the blue eyes and sharp bills that the cormorants use to partially swallow ayu from the river. The usho quickly picks up the cormorant and dislodges the fish. It is a very exciting experience. In all of Japan, there are only four female usho, and two of them work on the Uji River. Cormorant fishing is not conducted when there is flooding or bad weather.

Uji City Tourist Association: +81-(0)774-23-3334

  • • 10-minute walk from Uji Station on the Uji Line of Keihan Electric Railway.
  • • 15-minute walk from JR Uji Station.

Cormorant Fishing at Arashiyama

Cormorant fishing is a traditional method of catching ayu, or sweetfish, and other fish. Fishers wear a traditional kazaore cap and koshimino grass skirt while handling the ropes of about 10 cormorants. Cormorant fishing has a tradition of about one thousand years at Arashiyama. Watch the fishing action from the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, or board a boat and watch the cormorants up close, a unique experience that is highly recommended. Arashiyama is known as one of the most scenic areas of Kyoto, and the torchlight used for cormorant fishing will entice you into a world of swaying currents when times were simpler.

Gion Festival: Yoiyama

One of the three great festivals of Japan, Gion Festival ranks among the greatest festivals in the world for its grand scale and long history. The festival has its beginnings in 869, when an epidemic hit Kyoto. Sixty-six halberds were erected, one for each of the provinces, and prayers were offered up in supplication for an end to the calamity. For the entire month of July each year, central Kyoto and Yasaka Jinja Shrine are busy, engaged in preparations and a variety of festivals and activities. The most popular event of Gion Festival is Yoiyama. At night, Kyoto’s commercial center, Shijo Street, is closed to cars so pedestrians can better enjoy the festivities. Visitors view the festival yama and hoko floats in each district, set up to ward away possession and sickness, and enjoy the many night festival stalls. Alternatively, the festival is called “Byobu Matsuri,” for the byobu (folding screens) and other family heirlooms that are put on display, sometimes with an offering of tea. Some ways to enjoy the festival are to look at the floats and halberds in each district while listening to the Gion bayashi musicians performing nearby, and to buy charms and chimaki rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves (for warding off evil, not for eating). Also considered correct behavior are viewing the folding screens and enjoying a pleasant stroll. People of all ages enjoy the atmosphere of the festivities, many dressed in their cotton yukata robes. It is also a delight to take in all the different yukata patterns as well, ranging from classic patterns to smart contemporary designs.

  • • 15-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway
  • • Take the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line to Shijo or Karasuma Oike Station.
  • • Take Hankyu Railway to Karasuma Station. Note: Buses may run on revised schedules and routes during Yoiyama. We recommend using trains instead.

Gion Festival: Procession of the Floats

When yoiyama is over, then it’s on to the procession of the yama and hoko floats, the climax of Gion Festival. The floats assemble at Shijo Karasuma at 9 o’clock in the morning. The Naginata-boko float leads the procession to the accompaniment of Gion bayashi musicians. When the parade reaches Fuya-cho, there is a shimenawa rope strung on green bamboo (imitake) between the north and south corners, symbolizing the separation between the world of the kami (gods) and the world of humans. Ahead of 31 other floats, the Naginata-boko float passes through the barrier and enters into the world of the kami. Dressed in holy garments, a young boy chosen for the festival lowers a sword onto the shimenawa so that it falls, cut in two. This event is considered to be one of the great highlights of the festival. The floats start moving again, and then comes the next big event: tsuji-mawashi, the turning of the floats at Shijo Kawaramachi. At 12 tons and 25 meters in length, these floats make turning no easy task. The haulers rotate these mammoth structures a full ninety degrees, an incredible feat. Following cues from the leader, who uses a fan to set the pace, the float haulers slide the wheels on bamboo to change their direction. Of the 32 magnificent floats, 29 are important tangible folk cultural properties, and the floats, whose decorations include the likes of a Gobelins tapestry, are referred to as “an art museum on wheels.” In spite of the fact that the festival is held in the middle of summer when the heat is so extreme there are onlookers every year who suffer from heatstroke, the earnest prayers of people hoping for peace and tranquility have supported the festival for over a thousand years. If you can go to Kyoto only once in the year, the Gion Festival’s Procession of the Floats is the event to see.

Gion Festival Float Association: +81-(0)75-223-6040

Paid seating: +81-(0)75-752-7070 – Kyoto City Tourism Association

  • Intersection of Shijo-dori and Karasuma-dori Streets:
    Take Hankyu Railway to Karasuma Station.
  • Shijo-dori Street in Kawaramachi:
    • Three-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway.
    • Take Hankyu Railway to Kawaramachi Station.
  • Kawaramachi Oike:
    • Six-minute walk from Sanjo Station on the Keihan Electric Railway.
    • Take the Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line to Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station.
  • Shinmachi Oike:
    Take the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line to Karasuma Oike Station.

It is a five-minute walk from the last station. During the parade, buses may run on revised schedules and routes. We recommend using trains instead.


Gojo-zaka Pottery Festival

Along the slope of Gojo Street leading up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple is the birthplace of Kiyomizu-yaki pottery. With its rows of the stalls and shops of pottery artists, pottery producers, and pottery wholesalers and retailers, Gojo Street is well-known around the country for its production of Kyo-yaki and Kiyomizu-yaki pottery. The Gojo-zaka Pottery Festival began in 1920 when the potters set up shops along Gojo Street during Obon to sell pieces that can’t be billed as their finest work. Obon is when people pay a visit to their family graves, and Gojo Street is especially filled with people walking to the cemeteries at Rokudo Chinno-ji Temple and Otani Hombyo (Nishi Otani). More recently, this custom has developed into the largest pottery festival in Japan with some 400 shops opening their doors to the crowds who gather from all over the country in search of lucky finds and great bargains. In recent years, ambitious young ceramic artists have opened shops on the southern side of Gojo Street, creating a new attraction. They stay open till about 11 o’clock at night. Come and join in the pottery festival! You never know what you might find.

Gozan no Okuribi: the Five Bonfires of Kyoto

On the 16th of August each year, a traditional festival known as Gozan no Okuribi, or Guiding Fires of Five Mountains, is held, signaling the end of summer. An essential summer Kyoto event, these fires help guide the spirits of dead ancestors back to the spirit world after their Obon visit. There are many different explanations for how this custom began, but in any case, the people of Kyoto have been fond of the annual bonfires for a long, long time. At 8 o’clock in the evening, the fire beds prepared on the slopes of five different mountains facing Kyoto from three different directions are lit, setting aflame the character for dai, or “great.” This is then followed by the characters for myo and ho (meaning “wondrous” and “dharma,” respectively). Next, the shape of a boat, another dai (called the dai on the left to distinguish it from the first) and then the shape of a torii shrine gate. For about 30 minutes, the night sky is filled with the flicker of the red bonfire flames. Standing out in sharp contrast against the pitch-black night sky, the guiding fires entice onlookers to the mystical fiery world they create. It is believed that when a person’s name and ailment are written on the wood to be used in the sacred fire, the disease will be healed. It is also said that if the ashes of the burned word are crushed into powder, they can be used as a medicine for curing chronic illnesses. Gozan no Okuribi is considered one of the four great Kyoto events, along with the three great festivals of Kyoto.

Guiding Fire Dai (great): Jodoji Nanamawari-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Guiding Fire Myoho (wondrous dharma) at Matsugasaki: Nishi-Yama (myo) and Higashi-yama (ho) in Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Guiding Fire Funagata, the shape of a boat: Nishigamo, Funa-Yama in Kita-ku, Kyoto > Map

Guiding Fire Dai (on the left): Okita-yama Kagamiishi-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto > Map

Guiding Fire Toriigata, the shape of a torii gate: Saga Torii-moto Ikkahyo-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto > Map

Phone: Kyoto Tourist Information Center: +81-(0)75-343-0548 Access:

The Guiding Fires are an event to guide the spirits of ancestors and more recently deceased, and those not officially involved with the fires are not allowed in any of the fire areas on the day of the event. Here are some recommended locations for viewing the great fires and directions on how to get there.

  • Guiding Fire Dai (great):
    [West bank of the Kamo-gawa River – Marutamachi-bashi Bridge to Misono-bashi Bridge]
    Take Keihan Electric Railway to Demachiyanagi Station or Jingu-Marutamachi Station.
  • Guiding Fire Myoho (wondrous dharma) at Matsugasaki:
    • Myo [Kitayama-dori Street near Kyoto Notre Dame University]
    20-minute walk from Shugakuin Station on Eizan Electric Railway.
    • Ho [The banks of Takano-gawa River near the north side of Takano-bashi Bridge]
    15-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
  • Guiding Fire Funagata, the shape of a boat:
    [From Kitayama Ohashi Bridge on the Kamo-gawa River to the northwest]
    Take Kyoto city bus Kita 3 to the Kamigamo Misonobashi bus stop.
  • Guiding Fire Dai (on the left):
    [Nishioji-dori Street from the north side of Shijo-dori Street to Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)]
    Take Kyoto city bus 205 to the Senbon Kitaoji bus stop.
  • Guiding Fire Toriigata, the shape of a torii gate:
    [Hirosawa no Ike Pond]
    Take Kyoto city bus 10/26/59 to the Yamagoe bus stop or the 11/91/93/Toku 93 to the Hirosawa Gosho no Uchi-cho bus stop.

Floating of the Lanterns at Arashiyama

Originally started in 1949 to soothe the spirits of those lost in the war, Arashiyama’s Toro Nagashi, or Floating of Lanterns, has become established as an annual event to guide the spirits of the dead back to the Pure Land after their visit to the world of the living during Obon. Buddhist priests and monks from nearby temples gather to perform a Buddhist service in which some 7,000 lanterns are floated down the river from the east end of Togetsu-kyo Bridge. The spectacle of the lanterns slowly, quietly floating along the night river to carry people’s wishes and feelings is magical and beautiful, evoking just a tinge of sadness. Performed on the same day as Gozan no Okuribi, the Togetsu-kyo Bridge area is a popular destination from which visitors can see both the lanterns and the torii-shaped mountain bonfire as they say farewell to summer in Kyoto.

  • • Five-minute walk from Arashiyama Station on Keifuku Electric Railroad (Arashiyama Electric Tram Railway)
  • • Six-minute walk from Arashiyama Station on the Hankyu Railway Arashiyama Line
  • • 15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station on the JR San’in Main Line (Sagano Line)


Kangetsu no Yube (Moon Viewing)

Since days of yore, the timing of the eighth moon (Aug. 15) according to the lunar calendar has been held as the finest time of year for moon-viewing because of the bright harvest moon. It is also known in some regions as the famous potato moon because of the custom of offering freshly harvested satoimo potatoes to the moon. Daikaku-ji Temple is one of the three great moon-viewing locations in Japan for its Kangetsu no Yube, and Osawa Ike Pond is a particularly important part of the occasion. The moon reflects on the pond beautifully, which may even be enjoyed from a passenger boat such as Dragon Head Boat or Geki Neck Boat. Events such as moon appreciation concerts and koto performances are held on the temple grounds, where well-known Kyoto establishments set up nighttime booths to offer a variety of entertainment and fun. Besides Daikaku-ji Temple, great moon-viewing events are held for the harvest moon at such locations as Ishiyama-dera Temple, Matsuo Grand Shrine, Shimogamo Jinja Shrine and Yasaka Shrine.

  • • 20-minute walk from Randen Saga Station on Keifuku Electric Railroad (Arashiyama Electric Tram Railway)
  • • 15-minute walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station on the JR San’in Main Line (Sagano Line)


Jidai Matsuri – Festival of the Ages

An event to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the move of Japan’s capital to Kyoto, Jidai Matsuri was begun in 1895 in conjunction with the establishment of Heian Jingu Shrine. Representing the times and customs of the past until the capital was moved to Tokyo in 1868, the festival is filled with 2,000 people dressed in costumes from each era who parade from the old Kyoto imperial palace to Heian Jingu Shrine in 20 different groups. Although merely admiring the procession is fun, if you can identify the farmer who rose to become Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a ruler of feudal Japan, or Murasaki Shikibu, the famous author from a thousand years ago, this event offers a special level of depth and interest. The thing most worthy of attention at the festival is the clothing. People take great care in making sure the tiniest details are accurate for the time represented, even replicating the material and dye colors where possible. The clothing of the higher classes in each period of time in particular is noteworthy as it encapsulates not only the technologies available at the time, but also the aesthetic sensibilities of these groups. The people participating in the procession are all Kyoto citizens, and even geisha and maiko (geisha in training) from Kyoto’s five hanamachi, or geisha districts, take part, taking turns in dressing up as famous women throughout the ages. Anyone who wishes to take pictures should refrain from using a flash because of the danger of scaring the horses and cows in the parade. Make sure you are facing in a direction that will keep light from interfering when taking a photo.

Paid seating: +81-(0)75-752-7070 (Kyoto City Tourism Association)

  • Kyoto Imperial Palace:
    • 10-minute walk from either Jingu-Marutamachi or Demachiyanagi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
    • Five-minute walk from Marutamachi Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line.
  • Heian Jingu Shrine:
    • 15-minute walk from Jingu-Marutamachi Station on Keihan Electric Railway.
    • 10-minute walk from Higashiyama Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line.

Kurama Fire Festival

Held on October 22, the same day as the Festival of the Ages, the Kurama Fire Festival is counted as one of the three great unusual festivals of Kyoto. Held in Kurama, a small town in northern Kyoto, the Kurama Fire Festival is filled with lit torches and iron baskets holding fire. The danger of so much fire so close at hand and the incredible spectacle of it all may just make you a permanent enthusiast once you experience it. The youths bearing these torches are clothed only in loincloths as they parade about the town shouting spirited chants. The festival reaches its climax when one or two hundred of the torches are gathered on the stone steps in front of the main gate of the temple and everyone begins chanting "saireyaa, sairyo" in unison. The great number of people who gather for the Kurama Fire Festival overwhelms Eizan Electric Railway, the sole means of transportation, resulting in a long wait for the train. Departing in the early afternoon to visit Kurama-dera Temple beforehand to take in the tranquil rural scenery is highly recommended. Also, be sure to bring warm clothing, as Kurama becomes somewhat chilly at night.

Kiyomizu-yaki no Sato Matsuri

In the industrial Kiyomizu-yaki pottery district and Kiyomizu-yaki danchi, located in Yamashina-ku of Kyoto, there are about 70 establishments involved in pottery, including pottery artists, pottery producers, wholesalers and clay suppliers. The great pottery festival known as Kiyomizu-yaki no Sato Matsuri has been held annually since 1975. The goods for sale include dishes, teaware, vases and other items for the home, primarily in Kyoto’s traditional Kyo-yaki and Kiyomizu-yaki pottery styles. With special areas set up for great bargains and great finds, attendees will find half a million rare, exclusive, hand-made and other pieces of pottery at 30 to 50 percent off. Another great feature of the festival is the opportunity to talk to the producers, who are not normally available. With the chance to try unique things like making the one-and-only raku-yaki, sitting at a potter’s wheel and joining a tea ceremony, this is an event the whole family will enjoy.


Gion Odori

Gion Odori is said to decorate autumn in Kyoto like a silk brocade. Put on by the Gion Higashi Song and Dance Association, it is the only performance of the hanamachi (geisha districts) in autumn. The event is held in great style at the Gion Kaikan from November 1 to 10 each year. Formerly the dance recital hall for Gion East, the Gion Kaikan (Hall) is normally used as a movie theater. Including choreography and direction by dance artist Monjuro Fujima, acts are splendid performances that celebrate famous locations of Kyoto, and the final act is a Gion Higashi kouta song that brings the house down. Even after half a century of performing, Gion Odori continues to attract visitors from across Japan and around the world to see the unique program and organization.

Kyokusui no Utage – Meandering Stream Banquet

The ancient banquet game of composing a poem as alcohol is floated down a stream originally came to Japan from China, and such banquets were held throughout the year in the Nara and Heian periods inside the imperial palace. Called Kyokusui no Utage, or the Meandering Stream Banquet, this tradition has been re-created at Jonan-gu Shrine. The Heian-style garden is bathed in soft sunlight filtered through the trees while the nearby brook gently flows along. When seven poets—clothed in the colorful courtly garments of Heian period nobles—take their seats alongside the brook, a child dressed in a suikan garment pours sacred sake into a cup made of cinnabar lacquer and floats it down the stream on the back of a small sparrow-shaped vessel known as an usho. Amid the sounds of the koto, the poets compose poems in the classical waka style on a theme selected for the day and write them down on a tanzaku poetry card. When the usho comes by, each poet takes up the cup and partakes in the sake. Shirabyoshi dancers perform during the banquet for a graceful time that recreates the refined air of the ancient court. Kyokusui no Utage is held once in spring and once in fall.

Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo – Kabuki Actor Debut

During the Edo period (1603 to 1868), contracts for kabuki actors lasted for one year. A performance would be held each year to show off the actors newly signed in November. Known as the Kaomise (Face Showing), the vestiges of that practice continue to this day. The December Kaomise show at Kyoto’s Minami-za—the birthplace of kabuki—is the oldest such event, and popular kabuki actors from all around come together for an annual show of magnificence that becomes the talk of the town and draws great interest for days. Outside the front of the theater, wooden boards are displayed. Called maneki, they list the names of the actors in bold brushstrokes, and also signal that the end of the year is coming to Kyoto.


Kyoto Arashiyama Hana Toro – Flowers and Lanterns

Kyoto Arashiyama Hana Toro is a five-kilometer walk that features a natural setting, waterside spaces, bamboo groves, historical and cultural treasures and views of the Saga and Arashiyama areas. Filled with the illumination from some 2,500 lanterns and lavish ikebana pieces along the way, the path is so inviting, people find themselves taking the entire route. The illumination near Togetsu-kyo Bridge lights up the bridge, the base of the mountain and the riverside, creating a sublime night view of nature. Another one of the endless attractions is the path through a bamboo groove from Nonomiya Shrine to Okochi Sanso, a mystical nighttime wonderland. Along the route, temples, shrines and cultural facilities have special exhibits, hours and lighting. For a truly romantic evening to feel the abundance and depth of Kyoto’s nature and history, this is an event to experience.

  • • Take Keifuku Electric Railroad to Arashiyama Station.
  • • Take the Hankyu Railway Arashiyama Line to Arashiyama Station.
  • • Take the JR San’in Main line (Sagano Line) to Saga-Arashiyama Station.

Final Kobo

It was on the 21st day of the month that the founder of the Buddhist Shingon sect, Kobo Daishi (774-835), died. On that day each month, street stalls are set up, a custom said to have started in the middle of the Edo period (1200s) . The last of those festivals of the year is called “Shimai Kobo,” or Final Kobo, and is the most lively of the Kobo markets, when people express their gratitude for their good health over the past year. Carrying everything from good luck charms and daily necessities to plants and antiques, the street stalls pack the large temple grounds. Crowds of tourists come, making for great fun at this flea market. The great southern gate opens at 5 o'clock in the morning for those hunting for that great find among the antiques and lucky talismans.

  • • 15-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station.
  • • 10-minute walk from Toji Station on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line.

Final Tenjin

It is said that Sugawara no Michizane (845-903) was born, received his dishonorable transfer to Dazaifu in Kyushu and died all on the same day of the month, and a festival is held in his honor on that day (the 25th) of each month. December 25, in particular, the last of these festival days of the year, is filled with a great number of street stalls from early in the morning. Considered to be the last Shinto ritual of the year, wrapping up events in Kyoto, this celebration to the enshrined Sugawara no Michizane draws a great number of visitors from the greater Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe area, as well as people from around the country. Stalls selling goods such as herring roe, round chopsticks (used for festive occasions), bonsai with the auspicious triad of pine, bamboo and ume plum and other New Year’s goods are particularly noticeable, and the turnout is typically twice the normal crowd. A great number of food carts—known as yatai in Japan—are also lined up, providing visitors with Japan’s traditional version of fast food to eat as they admire the night view.

Seven Japanese Gods of Luck Festival (Shichifukujin) - Hatsu Konpira - History

Closeup. Click to Enlarge.
Kami of Day 1 Atsuta Daimyōjin
Kami of Day 2 Suwa Daimyōjin
Photo Kyoto Nat'l Museum

Closeup. Click to Enlarge.
Kami of Day 15, 16, 17
Ō-Hiei Gongen 大比叡権現
also known as Ōbie no kami
Photo this J-site

Sanjūbanshin, Wood Statues.
No date given. Ryū Jinja Shrine 龍神社, Tomakomai City 苫小牧市, Hokkaido.
Now at 勇払恵比須神社.
Photo: Yūfutsu Ebisu Jinja Shrine

Sanjūbanjin dolls at Shōkakuji Temple
成覚寺 (Ōita Pref). Date unknown. The temple's highly improbably legend says, during the great fires that ravaged the area in 1883, Shōkakuji was the only structure left standing because the 30 deities appeared on the rooftop of the temple's main hall (Hondō 本堂).
Photo this J-site.

Sanjūbanjin Wooden Statues at Sanjūbanjingū Shrine 三十番神宮

Located in Tebiro 手広 (near Kamakura), this shrine is associated with the Nichiren sect, and holds an annual festival on October 9 dedicated to the Sanjūbanshin. The statues are enshired in a zushi (tabernacle) within the shrine's inner sanctuary. Photo from Kamakura Citizens Net (Japanese language only).

Kasuga Jinja Shrine (Warabi, Saitama)
Mid-Edo Era (carved between
1717-1736) Warabi City 蕨市,
Saitama Pref. Photo this J-site.

Says JAANUS (Japanese Architecture
and Art Net Users System)
Read Sanjūbanshin or Sanjūbanjin (Sanjubanjin, Sanjuubanjn). Various sets of thirty kami 神 who protect the nation's peace and people's happiness during the thirty days of the month. The origins of this concept are obscure, but are commonly traced to a story concerning the abbot Ennin 円仁 (794-864) in which he invited thirty principal Shintō deities (kami) to Mt. Hiei 比叡 in order to protect the copy of Lotus Sutra (HOKEKYŌ 法華経) which he had made under special ritual conditions and had enshrined at the Nyohōdō 如法堂 hall of Yokawa 横川 on the mountain. The earliest records of the Sanjūbanshin, however, date from the late 11th century and their cult is not prominent until the Muromachi period (14-15c). The Sanjūbanshin are shown in both groupings of sculptures and in paintings of the thirty deities arranged in rows. Most extant depictions show the set of protectors of the Lotus Sutra, and were hung as protective talismans especially during Tendai 天台 or Nichiren 日蓮 ceremonies. Early paintings tend to show the deities standing, while later paintings show them seated. There is a panel painting of the Sanjūbanshin dated 1433 in the Shirahige Jinja 白髭神社 in Moriyama 守山, Shiga prefecture. The kami and the day they serve vary according to the set, but include deities of Sannō 山王 (the shrine associated with Enryakuji 延暦寺 on Mt Hiei), others from near Lake Biwa 琵琶 and Kyoto, and famous deities from elsewhere in the country. A set of deities could protect the power of texts other than the Lotus Sutra, and more purely Shintō sets could protect the directions (although these could number 32 they were still called Sanjūbanshin). The significance of the cult was the general protection by powerful kami. The cult of the Sanjūbanshin of the Lotus Sutra was adopted in the Nichirenshū 日蓮宗, and within that sect it was connected with the cult of the ten daughters of the Rasetsu (Jūrasetsunyo 十羅刹女) who appear in the 26th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Dharani (Jp:Daranibon 陀羅尼品), where they swear to protect those who practice the sutra and preach the Buddhist Law or Dharma.

Says Kokugakuin University,
Encyclopedia of Shinto
The Thirty Tutelaries, a cultic belief in thirty tutelary kami that alternate each day of the month to protect the Lotus Sutra and the Japanese nation. The cult is especially prevalent within the Nichiren sect. The conceptual ground for the cult originated in the Tendai sect on Mt. Hiei, based on the Lotus Sutra's nineteenth chapter, "The Benefits of the Teacher of the Law," and in the theory of tutelary deities found in the sutra Bussetsu Kanjō-kyō 仏説灌頂経 (Skt. = Abhiseka sutra translated into Chinese in the early 4th century). Several traditions exist regarding the cult's origins. One states that the priest Jikaku Taishi 慈覚大師 (aka Ennin 円仁, 794-864) first invoked the deities at the time of the construction of the temple Shuryōgon'in 首楞厳院 in 829 (ref. late 11th-century Konjaku Monogatari 今昔物語, V11 and the Kamakura-era Genpei Seisuiki 源平盛衰記). Other traditions suggest that Ryōshō 良正, superintendent (chōri長吏) of Shuryōgon'in, invoked the deities as tutelaries of sutra copying in 1073 (ref. 13th-century Eigaku Yōki 叡岳要記 Important Records of Mt. Hiei, and the mid-14th century Suwa Daimyōjin Ekotoba 諏訪大明神絵詞 Pictorial Account of the Great Deity of Suwa). Still others state that Ennin invoked twelve of the kami while Ryōshō later set the number at thirty (ref. 15th-century Jingi Seisō 神祇正宗). The composition of the thirty deities thus appears to have varied depending on the teller of the story.

From the medieval period, the cult of thirty kami was adopted within the Nichiren sect, where they were called "the thirty tutelaries of the Lotus Sutra" in time they came to hold an even more important place than they had held in Tendai. During a 1497 debate regarding the cult of thirty tutelaries, Yoshida Kanetomo 吉田兼倶 (1435-1511) of the medieval school of Yoshida Shintō claimed that the thirty tutelaries of the Nichiren Sect had originally been introduced to Nichiren by Kanetomo's distant ancestor Kanemasu. The Nichiren Sect made no clear response, and from that time, the Shinto theories accepted within the sect (called Hokke Shintō or "Lotus Shinto") came to be influenced by the then-current trends of the Yoshida school. The cult of thirty tutelaries continued to be observed within the Nichiren sect and came to occupy an important place within the group's views of Shinto. In contrast to the thirty tutelary kami of the Tendai and Nichiren sects, the Yoshida Shintō school developed its own cultic beliefs in various groups of thirty kami. These included the "thirty tutelaries of heaven and earth (天地擁護の三十番神)," the "thirty tutelaries of the naishidokoro (the inner sanctum of the imperial palace 内侍所の三十番神)," the "thirty tutelaries of the imperial capital (王城守護の三十番神)," the "thirty tutelaries of the nation (吾が国守護の三十番神)," and the "thirty tutelaries of the imperial palace (Kinketsu Shugo Sanjū Banshin 禁闕守護三十番神)." Of these various groupings, the thirty tutelaries of the imperial palace were the same kami as those found in earlier cultic groupings, while those in the others were entirely different, and based on theories unique to Yoshida Shintō. <quote by Itō Satoshi, Kokugakuin University, 2005/3/31>

Says A-to-Z Dictionary (this site)
Hokke Shintō 法華神道. Literally "Lotus Shintō," a syncretic form that sprang from the Nichiren Sect 日蓮宗 of Buddhism. The Nichiren sect originated in the Kamakura era (1185 to 1332) and preaches that unmitigated faith in the Lotus Sutra is the sole means of liberation and salvation. Lotus Shintō did not appear until the subsequent Muromachi period (1392 to 1568). It includes worship of the Sanjūbanshin 三十番神 (30 Tutelary Deities of the Lotus Sutra) and belief that the deities will protect or abandon the nation based on the people's practice (or neglect) of the teachings in the Lotus Sutra. The development of Lotus Shintō was strongly influenced by Yoshida Shintō.

Says Lucia Dolce in Buddhas & Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm (pp. 225-226)
Tendai Rituals and the Sanjūbanjin. A set of thirty kami is first mentioned in relation to a specific ritual developed in the Tendai school: the practice of "copying the Lotus Sutra according to the prescribed method" (nyohōkyō 如法経). This copying involved a series of procedures focusing on the purity of the body and the material used to copy the scripture devotion to the sutra was expressed by bowing three times for each character one copied. Preparations occupied most of the time spent on the ritual, subsidiary scriptures were also recited and copied, and the main sutra, the Lotus Sutra, was copied at the end, on an auspicious day. The practice was started by Ennin (792-862) and was later associated, in particular, with the Yokawa area of Mount Hiei. It is said that the sanjūbanjin manifested themselves to Ennin while he was performing this ritual, and thus became the tutelary deities of the practice. Records, however, indicate that Ennin venerated only twelve kami, associated to the twelve signs of the hours of the day (nijūshi), and that the sanjūbanjin were systematized and identified each with one day of the month only in the eleventh century. Small shrines dedicated to these kami were built in Yokawa [at Mt. Hiei], and statues of the thirty gods were placed in these shrines and in buildings surrounding the main hall. The worship of the sanjūbanjin continued in the Tendai school throughout the Heian and medieval periods, and also spread out from Mount Hiei to other sites where ritual copying of the Lotus Sutra took place. A medieval collection of rituals, the Mon'yōki 門葉記 [14th century], describes a number of assemblies for the performance of this practice (nyohōkyō no hōe 如法経の法会). The liturgical prescriptions include displaying a piece of paper with the names of the sanjūbanjin (jinmyōchō 神名帳) in one case this register is hung from the horizontal timber of the wall in front of the entrance to the practice hall, either the eastern wall or the northern wall, in other cases, the paper is stamped on the wall. Lists of the thirty kami are supplied, and the practitioners are also instructed to write down the names of the sanjūbanjin, to concentrate on the kami of that day and to read one fascicle of the sutra "to make the kami rejoice in the Dharma" (hōraku 法楽).

What was the origin of this fixed set of tutelary deities, and how did they become thirty? To have a fixed number of deities was not uncommon in Buddhism. The Guàndǐng jīng 灌頂經 [ca 5th century] , for instance, mentions thirty-six "good gods" who protect men and women who rely on the Three Treasures. There also existed examples of banjin 番神, that is, deities assembled in a certain order and allocated to specific slots of time. In China in the tenth century thirty "secret buddhas" (mìfó 秘佛) were thought to protect the days of the month, and this belief spread to Japan in the medieval period, where the thirty deities were also known as "the buddha-names of the thirty days [of the month]" (sanjūnichi butsumyō). The Tendai school also used distinctive sets: "the five kami protecting Mt. Hiei," Ōbie, Obie (Ninomiya), Shōshinji, Marōdo (Hakusan) and Hachiōji, were venerated each for six days, in this order four of these, together with Mikami, Ebumi, Naeka, Amaterasu, Hachiman, Gion, Kitano, and Hirano, formed the "twelve tutelary deities of Hiei," who were said to protect the devotee of the Lotus Sutra during the twelve hours of the day. These sets may be regarded as prototypes for the sanjūbanjin. <end quote, pp. 225-226>

Dolce, Lucia (2003) Hokke Shinto. Kami in the Nichiren Tradition. In: Teeuwen, M. and Rambelli, F., (eds.), Buddhas and Kami in Japan. Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm. Curzon Routledge, pp. 222-54

  • Three 三 (san) signifies the threefold truth (sandai 三諦, i.e., emptiness, conventional existence and middle way), which is identical (soku 卽) with the wonderful Dharma (myōhō 妙法)
  • Ten 十(jū) indicates the ten worlds (jikkai 十界, i.e., the ten destinies of transmigration)
  • Order 番 (ban) means that the ten worlds and the threefold truth are mutually encompassing (gogu 互具) and harmonious, and yet are not one
  • Kami 神 (jin or shin) indicates that the original portion of the single mind (isshin honbun 一心) is the nature of the myriad dharmas (manpō jishō 萬法自性). This is what is called Sanjūbanjin. This is the wonderful essence of the Lotus and the body and mind (shikishin 識身) of the [Lotus] practitioner. The deities who protect and the sutra that is protected are one with the body and the mind of the [Lotus] practitioner.
  • Butsuzō zui 仏像図彙 (Illustrated Compendium of Buddhist Images). Published in 1690 (Genroku 元禄 3). A major Japanese dictionary of Buddhist iconography. Hundreds of black-and-white drawings, with deities classified into categories based on function and attributes. For an extant copy from 1690, visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library. An expanded version, known as the Zōho Shoshū Butsuzō-zui 増補諸宗仏像図彙 (Enlarged Edition Encompassing Various Sects of the Illustrated Compendium of Buddhist Images), was published in 1783. View a digitized version (1796 reprint of the 1783 edition) at the Ehime University Library. Modern-day reprints of the expanded 1886 Meiji-era version, with commentary by Ito Takemi (b. 1927), are also available at this online store (J-site). In addition, see Buddhist Iconography in the Butsuzō-zui of Hidenobu (1783 enlarged version), translated into English by Anita Khanna, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2010.
  • Centers of Consecration in Japan. By Meg Gentes, PhD.
  • Daihōji Temple 大法寺, Takaoka City, Toyama Pref. PHOTO.
  • Dolce, Lucia (2003) Hokke Shinto. Kami in the Nichiren Tradition. In: Teeuwen, M. and Rambelli, F., (eds.), Buddhas and Kami in Japan. Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm. Curzon Routledge, pp. 222-54. Also see:
    • Book Review: Paradigm Regained: Taking Syncretism Seriously, by D. Max Moerman. Reviewed work(s): Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm by Mark Teeuwen Fabio Rambelli. Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter, 2004), pp. 525-533


      Panel painting of Sanjuubanshin 板絵著色三十番神像, dated 1433, at Shirahige Jinja Shrine 白髭神社, Moriyama 守山, Shiga Prefecture. Made from one piece of cedar. Shows 30 kami sitting in six-column, five-row format. Unable to find photo.

    Dolce, Lucia (2003) Hokke Shinto. Kami in the Nichiren Tradition. In: Teeuwen, M. and Rambelli, F., (eds.), Buddhas and Kami in Japan. Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm. Curzon Routledge, pp. 229, footnote 20.

    Copyright 1995 - 2013. Mark Schumacher. Email Mark.
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    Distance Working

    Distance coven workings are a completely different matter for us because these are being set-up on different channels. These are usually implemented when members move away but wish to remain part of the mother-coven, or to include members who have completed the formality of the foundation course and live in a different part of the world – even in a different hemisphere. The basic intention or focus of a Sabbat working, however, remains the same and any Coven member worth their salt can extract the salient points of the group ritual and adapt them for solitary working proving they understand that the reason for the working is …

    • To re-charge the ‘group-mind’
    • To empower individual members
    • To re-charge pouches and personal ritual equipment
    • To focus the members on being part of a working group
    • To reinforce the meaning of a particular Sabbat
    • As an affirmation of loyalty to the Tradition by the sharing of bread and salt
    • And as an affirmation of faith and trust in the Ancestors.

    All members of the Coven are welcome to attend the Sabbat both in person and at a distance but once again this requires a great deal of effort on the part of the Dame and Magister to get things organised. We’ve often set up a distance working and wondered if we’re playing to an empty theatre, since there’s nothing coming back on the astral! This is doubly annoying because we’ve taken the time to prepare the ritual/pathworking/exercise aimed at members of all levels (which ain’t easy) and no one’s bothering to come to the party – because if we were being left to our own devices, then rest assured we’d much rather be going for something with a lot more ooomph! and pushing own magical boundaries on a personal level.

    It is possible to sychronise a ‘live’ Sabbat with those far, far away but again this takes a lot of physical, mental and magical organisiation. The ‘script’ has to be compiled and circulated with time allowed for any points to be clarified because, despite many years of study, there are those who still don’t get it. Like the regular excuse: ‘I couldn’t do [time and/or date] so I waited until the next Saturday, is that okay?’ NO! it bloody isn’t! If the Sabbat had been arranged for a certain date, time and location at your local working site and you’d missed it … would you expect to turn up a week later and still expect us to be there.

    If we’ve arranged with the Dame-Magister to sychronise our working with that of the Coven, we will propably be working to a pre-set time-table so that power-raising can be co-ordinated with a view to contributing to the re-charging of the group mind-set. Be assured that it may take some time before we notice any tangible results but records should be kept in our magical journal and provide regular feed-back or we may find ourselves out of the loop.

    It is possible to adapt group rituals for solitary workings if we know our Craft – and members should try as near as possible to emulate the Sabbat working by repeating the Dame’s Compass-casting, the Magister’s invocation and the Invoking (and Banishing) Pentagrams, followed by the Dance/Chant in order to raise energy within the personal Compass … if there is room. In order to transfer any surplus energy to the group at the end of the ritual, hold up both hands facing North (in the direction as the Coven Stang) and visualize pushing the energy in that direction. The Compass should be closed down in the normal way by saying …

    Kinship to kinship blood to blood,

    May there be peace and honour between us now and forever.

    … followed by the customary ‘cakes and ale’ or whatever you choose to use to earth yourself after the rite.

    This is an extract from our limited edition publication Round About the Cauldron Go …


    Prior to the Meiji period, the date of the Japanese New Year had been based on Japanese versions of lunisolar calendar (the last of which was the Tenpō calendar) and, prior to Jōkyō calendar, the Chinese version. However, in 1873, five years after the Meiji Restoration, Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar and the first day of January became the official and cultural New Year's Day in Japan.

    Japanese people eat a selection of dishes during the New Year celebration called osechi-ryōri , typically shortened to osechi. Many of these dishes are sweet, sour, or dried, so they can keep without refrigeration—the culinary traditions date to a time before households had refrigerators, when most stores closed for the holidays. There are many variations of osechi, and some foods eaten in one region are not eaten in other places (or are considered inauspicious or even banned) on New Year's Day. Another popular dish is ozōni , a soup with mochi rice cake and other ingredients that differ based on various regions of Japan. Today, sashimi and sushi are often eaten, as well as non-Japanese foods. To let the overworked stomach rest, seven-herb rice soup ( 七草粥 , nanakusa-gayu) is prepared on the seventh day of January, a day known as jinjitsu .

    Another custom is to create and eat rice cakes (mochi ) . Steamed sticky rice (mochigome) is put into a wooden container usu and patted with water by one person while another person hits it with a large wooden mallet. Mashing the rice, it forms a sticky white dumpling. This is made before New Year's Day and eaten during the beginning of January.

    Mochi is made into a New Year's decoration called kagami mochi , formed from two round cakes of mochi with a tangerine (daidai ) placed on top. The name daidai is supposed to be auspicious since it means "several generations."

    At midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times (joyanokane [ja] ( 除夜の鐘 ) ) to symbolize the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen. A major attraction is The Watched Night bell, in Tokyo. Japanese believe that the ringing of bells can rid their sins during the previous year. The bell is rung 107 times on the 31st and once past midnight. It is also very common to eat buckwheat noodles called toshikoshi soba on ōmisoka (New Year's Eve).

    The end of December and the beginning of January are the busiest times for the Japanese post offices. The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year's Day postcards ( 年賀状 , nengajō) to their friends and relatives, similar to the Western custom of sending Christmas cards. Their original purpose was to give your faraway friends and relatives tidings of yourself and your immediate family. In other words, this custom existed for people to tell others whom they did not often meet that they were alive and well.

    Japanese people send these postcards so that they arrive on 1 January. The post office guarantees to deliver the greeting postcards on 1 January if they are posted within a time limit, from mid-December to near the end of the month and are marked with the word nengajō. To deliver these cards on time, the post office usually hires students part-time to help deliver the letters.

    It is customary not to send these postcards when one has had a death in the family during the year. In this case, a family member sends a simple mourning postcard ( 喪中葉書 , mochū hagaki ) to inform friends and relatives they should not send New Year's cards, out of respect for the deceased.

    People get their nengajō from many sources. Stationers sell preprinted cards. Most of these have the Chinese zodiac sign of the New Year as their design, or conventional greetings, or both. The Chinese zodiac has a cycle of 12 years. Each year is represented by an animal. The animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2008 was the year of the Rat, 2009 Ox, 2010 Tiger, 2011 Rabbit, 2012 Dragon, and 2013 Snake. 2020 will be Rat again. Famous characters like Snoopy, (2006) and other cartoon characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, (2008) have been especially popular in their celebrated years.

    Addressing is generally done by hand, and is an opportunity to demonstrate one's handwriting (see shodō). The postcards may have spaces for the sender to write a personal message. Blank cards are available, so people can hand-write or draw their own. Rubber stamps with conventional messages and with the annual animal are on sale at department stores and other outlets, and many people buy ink brushes for personal greetings. Special printing devices are popular, especially among people who practice crafts. Software also lets artists create their own designs and output them using their computer's color printer. Because a gregarious individual might have hundreds to write, print shops offer a wide variety of sample postcards with short messages so that the sender has only to write addresses. Even with the rise in popularity of email, the nengajō remains very popular in Japan, although the younger generation hardly send any cards, preferring to exchange digital greetings using their mobile phones. In recent years this digital greeting preference is gradually accepted among the society.

    Conventional greetings include:

    • kotoshi mo yoroshiku o-negai-shimasu ( 今年もよろしくお願いします , 'I hope for your favour again in the coming year')
    • (shinnen) akemashite o-medetō-gozaimasu ( (新年)あけましておめでとうございます , 'Happiness to you on the dawn [of a New Year]')
    • kinga shinnen ( 謹賀新年 , 'Happy New Year')
    • gashō ( 賀正 , to celebrate January)
    • shoshun/hatsuharu ( 初春 , 'early spring' in the traditional lunar calendar a year begins in early spring)
    • geishun ( 迎春 , to welcome spring)

    On New Year's Day, Japanese people have a custom known as otoshidama [ja] where adult relatives give money to children. It is handed out in small decorated envelopes called pochibukuro, similar to Shūgi-bukuro or Chinese hóngbāo and to the Scottish handsel. In the Edo period, large stores and wealthy families would give out a small bag of mochi and a Mandarin orange to spread happiness all around. The amount of money given depends on the age of the child but is usually the same if there is more than one child so that no one feels slighted. It is not uncommon for amounts greater than ¥5,000 (approximately US$50) to be given.

    The New Year traditions are also a part of Japanese poetry, including haiku (poems with 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven and five) and renga (linked poetry). All of the traditions above would be appropriate to include in haiku as kigo (season words). There are also haiku that celebrate many of the "first" of the New Year, such as the "first sun" (hatsuhi) or "first sunrise", "first laughter" (waraizome—starting the New Year with a smile is considered a good sign), and first dream (hatsuyume). Since the traditional New Year was later in the year than the current date, many of these mention the beginning of spring.

    Along with the New Year's Day postcard, haiku might mention "first letter" (hatsudayori—meaning the first exchange of letters), "first calligraphy" (kakizome), and "first brush" (fude hajime).

    It was also customary to play many New Year's games. These include hanetsuki, takoage (kite flying), koma (spinning top), sugoroku, fukuwarai (whereby a blindfolded person places paper parts of a face, such as eyes, eyebrows, a nose and a mouth, on a paper face), and karuta (Japanese playing cards).

    There are many shows created as the end-of-year, and beginning-of-year entertainment, and some being a special edition of the regular shows. For many decades, it has been customary to watch the TV show Kōhaku Uta Gassen aired on NHK on New Year's Eve. The show features two teams, red and white, of popular music artists competing against each other.

    The final of the Emperor's Cup, the national association football elimination tournament in Japan, takes place on New Year's Day. The final has taken place on New Year's Day since 1969 and is usually aired on NHK.

    Mixed martial arts in Japan organizations such as Pride FC and Dream (mixed martial arts) have held events on New Year's Eve and Rizin Fighting Federation has held New Year's Eve events since its founding in 2015.

    Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with accompanying chorus, is traditionally performed throughout Japan during the New Year's season. In December 2009, for example, there were 55 performances of the symphony by various major orchestras and choirs in Japan. [1]

    The Ninth was introduced to Japan during World War I by German prisoners held at the Bandō prisoner-of-war camp. [2] Japanese orchestras, notably the NHK Symphony Orchestra, began performing the symphony in 1925. During World War II, the Imperial government promoted performances of the symphony, including on New Year's Eve, to encourage allegiance to Japanese nationalism. After the war, orchestras and choruses, undergoing economic hard times during the reconstruction of Japan, promoted performances of the piece around New Years because of the popularity of the music with the public. In the 1960s, performances of the symphony at New Years became more widespread, including participation by local choirs and orchestras, and established the tradition which continues to this day. [3]

    There is also an associated festival of Little New Year ( 小正月 , koshōgatsu) , traditionally celebrating the first full moon of the new year, on the 15th day of the first lunar month (approximately mid-February). This is now sometimes celebrated on January 15, in various respects. The main events of Koshōgatsu are rites and practices praying for a bountiful harvest rice gruel with adzuki beans ( 小豆粥 , azukigayu) is traditionally eaten in the morning and is involved in the rice gruel divination ceremony. Further, New Year decorations are taken down around this date, and some temples hold events, such as at Tōrin-in.

    Seven Japanese Gods of Luck Festival (Shichifukujin) - Hatsu Konpira - History

    Higashiyama Ward is one of the 11 wards that make up Kyoto City. There are many famous shrines and temples such as Kiyomizu-dera, a world cultural heritage, historic sites, scenic spots, national treasures, important cultural properties, etc., and the Sanningzaka district and Gion Shinbashi district are designated as traditional buildings preservation districts. The beautiful townscape that has passed through history is preserved, and many tourists visit Higashiyama Ward throughout the four seasons.

    There are downtown areas such as Gion and Sanjo Keihan area in the ward. The plains on the left bank of the Kamo River have been urbanized from early on, but large-scale temples and shrines stand at the western foot of Higashiyama. Due to the relatively strict regulations such as landscape regulations, housing development in mountainous areas as seen in other wards has not been carried out.

    Higashiyama Ward is sandwiched between the Higashiyama Mountain Range and the Kamo River in the east and west, and covers the area from Sanjo Dori in the north and Jujo Dori to the north foot of Mt. Inari in the south. It has various regional characteristics such as a commercial area between the river and the Kamo River, and a semi-industrial area along the Kamo River in the south.

    Kyo-yaki and Kiyomizu-yaki, which are made mainly from Gojozaka to the vicinity of Sennyuji Temple, are highly evaluated for their arts and crafts, and are known throughout the country as a traditional industry of Kyoto along with Kyoto folding fans and Kyoto lacquerware.

    In Gion and Miyagawa-cho, which are the representative flower districts of the city, traditional culture and performing arts are inherited in a moist and gorgeous atmosphere, and every year, “Miyako Odori”, “Kyo Odori”, and “Gion Odori” are held. It would be held.

    In a calm natural environment, the Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto Women’s University, Kacho Junior College, etc. are scattered around the foot of Mt. Higashiyama, and female students add brilliance to the town with academic colors.

    Currently, Higashiyama Ward is working toward the realization of the Higashiyama Ward Basic Plan “Higashiyama / Machi / Mirai Plan 2010”, which was formulated in January 2001 and indicates the direction of future town development.

    Kiyomizu Temple
    Kiyomizu Temple is a temple located in Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The mountain number is Otowayama. Originally belonged to the Hosso sect, but now independently calls himself the main mountain of the Hosso sect. Saigoku 33rd place 16th bill place. The principal image is the Eleven-faced Senju Kanzeon Bosatsu. Kiyomizu-dera is a temple of the Hosso sect (one of the six sects of Nanto), and along with Goryu-ji and Kurama-dera, is one of the few temples in Kyoto that has a history from before the relocation of Heiankyo. In addition, along with Ishiyama-dera (Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture) and Hase-dera (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture), it is one of the leading Kannon sacred sites in Japan, and is famous as one of the leading tourist destinations in Kyoto City along with Kaen-ji (Kinkaku-ji) and Arashiyama. Therefore, many worshipers visit regardless of the season. In addition, many students visit on school trips. It is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a cultural property of the ancient capital of Kyoto.

    The sect of Kiyomizu-dera was originally the Hosso sect, and from the middle of the Heian period it was also the Shingon sect. It belonged to the Shingon sect Daigo sect at the beginning of the Meiji era, but returned to the Hosso sect in 1885 (Meiji 18). In 1965 (Showa 40), the then chief priest Ryokei Onishi established the Kita Hosso sect and became independent from the Hosso sect.

    Shoren-in Temple
    Seiren-in is a temple of the Tendai sect located in Awataguchi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. Also known as the Shoren-in Gate Ruins. There is no mountain number. Kaisan is Saicho Daishi, and the principal image is Saicho Nyorai. The current priest (priest) is Jiko Higashifushimi from the Higashifushimi family (former count family).

    Seiren-in Temple, along with Kajii (currently Sanzen-in Temple) and Myoho-in Temple, is the Sanmonzeki Temple of the Tendai sect (Tendai Sanzen-in Temple). The “monzeki temple” is a temple where the children of the royal family and the customs family enter the temple, and many Hosshinno and Nyudo Shiki (priests from the royal family who have been given the title of prince) are the priests (priests). Has served as a priest and has been proud of its prestige. Since it was a temporary palace in the Edo period, it is also called “Awata Imperial Palace”. It is also known as a temple with “Ao Fudo”, one of the three immovable temples in Japan.

    Along with Kajii and Myohoin, Seirenin also originated from a small temple called Boso on Mt. Hiei. The origin of Seiren-in is Seiren-bo, which was built by Saicho in the south valley of the east tower of Mt. Hiei (currently Enryakuji Third Parking Lot). Seirenbo became the residence of prominent monks such as Ennin, Yasue, and Osamu, and was the mainstream of the east tower.

    Chion-in is a temple of the head temple of the Jodo sect in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The mountain number is Mt. Kachō. The detailed name is Otani-ji Temple at Chion-in Temple. The principal image is Honen Shonin (main hall) and Amida Nyorai (Amidado), and Kaisan (founder) is Honen. Honen, the founder of the Jodo sect, spent the latter half of his life in a temple built in a place related to his death, and it was not until the Edo period that the current large-scale cathedral was erected. It has gained widespread worship from the Tokugawa Shogunate to the common people, and is still familiarly called “Chiyoin-san” and “Chioin-san” by the people of Kyoto.

    The origin of Chion-in is the Soan, which was run by Honen, the founder of the Jodo sect, near Higashiyama Yoshimizu and the current Chion-in Seishi-do. Honen was born in Mimasaka Province (Okayama Prefecture) in the second year of Chosho (1133) at the end of the Heian period. At the age of 13, he climbed Mt. Hiei, and at the age of 15, he gained a degree (priesthood) under the monk Genmitsu. At the age of 18, he studied under the west tower Kuroya, which is located in the deep mountains of Mt. Hiei, and changed the name to Honenbo Genku by taking one letter each of the names of Genkou and Eku.

    Honen read the work of Shandao, a high priest of the Tang dynasty, and opened his eyes to the idea of ​​”Senryakuji Buddha”, and decided to open the Jodo sect and went down Mt. Hiei. It was the 5th year of Jōan (1175), when he was 43 years old. The “specialized Buddha” is the idea that anyone can go to paradise if they keep chanting the name of Amida (Amitabha). This idea was severely denounced by the former Buddhist side and became the target of attacks. Honen was exiled to Sanuki Province (Kagawa Prefecture) in Kenei 2 (1207), and was allowed to return to the capital in the first year of Kenryaku (1211) four years later, but in January of the following year, 80 Died at the age of.

    Honen’s residence is located near the current Chion-in Seishi-do, and was called “Yoshimizu Gobo” or “Otani Zenbo” after the place name at that time. Honen’s missionary activities here became the center of the Jodo sect for a long time, from the age of 43 when he founded the Jodo sect to the age of 80 when he died, except for the last few years when he was exiled. A mausoleum of Honen was built here and was protected by his disciples, but in the 3rd year of Karoku (1227), it was destroyed by the people of Enryakuji Temple (Karoku’s law). In the first year of the Bunryaku calendar (1234), Genchi Seikanbo, a disciple of Honen, was revived, and Emperor Shijo gave him the temple name of “Chion-in Temple of Kachoyama”. It became a base for the disciples.

    Chorakuji Temple
    Chorakuji is a temple of the Tokisou Yuko school in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The mountain number is Mt. Huangdai. Rakuyo 33 Kannon Sacred Ground No. 7 Fudasho. Located in the southeastern part of Maruyama Park. The precincts of the past were vast, including most of Maruyama Park and the precincts of Otani Sobyo (Higashi-Otani). According to one theory, Chorakuji Temple was founded by Saicho as an annex of Enryakuji Temple in the 24th year of Enryaku (805).

    According to “The Tale of the Heike” and “The Tale of the Heike”, in the first year of Bunji (1185), Emperor Antoku’s mother, Taira no Tokuko, was born at the temple after the Battle of Dannoura. Be done. Ryukan, a disciple of Honen, lived in this temple and advocated a lot of thoughts. The genealogy of Takahiro was later called the Chorakuji Yoshi, Chorakuji style, and Chorakuji school after taking the name of the temple. In the 2nd year of Shitoku (1385), Ji-shu monk Kunia entered this temple and was changed to Ji-shu temple. In the 3rd year of Enkyo (1746), when the precincts were ceded to the Otani Sobyo by the order of the Edo Shogunate, it began to decline. Convert. However, in 1870 (Meiji 2), it was changed to the Ji-shu Yuko school.

    In 1906 (Meiji 39), the Shichijo Dojo Kinkoji Temple, which is a leading temple of the Tokimune Yuko school, was integrated. The 7 statues of Ji-shu ancestors (made by Kei school Buddhist priests) in the Chorakuji temple were moved from Konkoji. In 2008 (Heisei 20), the storage room containing cultural properties was almost completely destroyed by a fire. At this time, all cultural properties, including the Ippen tree statue (important cultural property), were carried out by the chief priests immediately after the fire, so they escaped the difficulty.

    Gion is a typical downtown area and entertainment district in Kyoto, located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. Before the Meiji era, the current Yasaka Shrine was called Gion Shrine, and it owned a vast precinct up to the Kamogawa area, so this area is called Gion (Gion Seiya is the etymology of “Gion”. reference). The town of Toriimae originally faced Shijo-dori, but after the Meiji era, it developed north and south of Shijo-dori from Kamogawa to Higashioji-dori and Yasaka Shrine.

    It is one of Kyoto’s leading hanamachi, which is also famous for its maiko, and there are Minamiza (Kabuki Theater), Gion Kobu Kabukijo, and Gion Kaikan in the area. Nowadays, there are many bars in addition to teahouses and restaurants, and the old-fashioned atmosphere is faint, but the houses with latticed doors are reminiscent of the elegance of the past. The area along Shirakawa from Shimbashi-dori in the north has been selected as an important traditional buildings preservation area of ​​the country, and the area across Hanamikoji in the south has been designated as a historical landscape conservation scenic area in Kyoto City, protecting the traditional townscape. Utilization is progressing.

    The intersection of Shijo-dori and Higashioji is the “Gion” intersection (often also called “Gion Ishidanshita”). There is a Keihan Bus Gion bus stop near the intersection. Originally around Yasaka, Yasaka-go, Otagi-gun, Yamashiro, and around Yasaka, Shimogyo-ku (until 1929). In addition, Gion Shrine (Kanjin-in), which is the origin of the name, got this name because Gozu-Tennou, the deity of the ritual, was regarded as the guardian deity of Gion Seisha.

    Yasaka Shrine
    Yasaka Shrine is a shrine located on the north side of Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. One of the 22 companies (Shimohachi). The old shrine was a large shrine, and now it is a separate shrine of the Association of Shinto Shrines. It claims to be the head office of Yasaka Shrine and related shrines (about 2,300 companies) whose deities are Susanoo-no-Son. Also known as Gion-san. It is also known as the body of the Gion Festival (Gion-kai).

    Settled at the eastern end of Shijo-dori in the eastern part of the Kyoto basin. Maruyama Park, which is famous for weeping cherry blossoms, is adjacent to the eastern side of the precincts, and many people visit it as a tourist destination as well as gathering faith as a local Ujigami (production area). In recent years, the number of worshipers at the first shrine on New Year’s Day is about 1 million, which is second only to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto Prefecture. In addition, since people can enter and exit from the north, south, east, and west, the tower gate is not closed and you can worship at night just like Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine.

    Kenninji Temple
    Kenninji Temple is the head temple of the Rinzai sect Kenninji Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The mountain number is called Higashiyama. The principal image is Shaka Nyorai, Kaisan (founder) is Minamoto no Yoriie, and Kaisan is Eisai. It is ranked third in Kyoto Gozan. It conveys a wealth of cultural assets such as Tawaraya Sotatsu’s “Fujin and Raijinzu” and Kaihoku Tomomatsu’s fusuma paintings. Yamauchi’s tower is famous for its Ikezumi strolling garden during the Momoyama period, and there is Ryosokuin, which is known for holding a large number of valuable ancient books, Chinese books, Korean books, and other cultural properties. Kodaiji Temple, which enshrines Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Hokanji Temple, which has the “Yasaka Tower,” are the last temples of Kenninji Temple. The temple name is read as “Kenninji”, but it is known locally as “Kennin-san”. It is often said that it is the first Zen temple in Japan, but this is wrong and Shofukuji in Hakata is the first Zen temple. Also known as “Kenninji’s academic side”.

    It is said that it was Eisai who officially introduced the Rinzai sect to Japan. Eisai was born in Bitchū in the first year of Eiji (1141). At the age of 13, he climbed Mt. Hiei and gained the next year (priesthood). He traveled to the Southern Song Dynasty twice, in Nin’an 3 (1168) and Bunji 3 (1187). The first time he went to Song was only half a year, but when he went to Song for the second time, he attended the meditation of the Rinzai sect Huanglong sect.

    Yasui Konpiragu
    Yasui Konpiragu is a shrine located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is also known as “Konpira Shrine”. In the era of Emperor Tenji, Fujiwara no Kamatari built a Buddhist temple here to pray for the prosperity of the Fujiwara family, planted wisteria and named it Fujiji. During the Heian period, Emperor Takanori loved the wisteria of Toji Temple and made his beloved Awauchi samurai live there. Fortunately, he repaired the temple tower in Hisayasu 2 (1146). When the Emperor was exiled to Sanuki Province after being defeated by the Hogen rebellion, he gave the samurai Awauchi his autograph. When the Emperor died in Sanuki Province, the grieving Samurai Awauchi left the house and became a nun. He dedicated the self-written image of Emperor Takanori to the Toji Kannon-do Temple, built a mound, buried his hair, and worked day and night.

    In the first year of the Jisho era (1177), when the great circle priest worshiped at the Toji Kannon-do, where the reverence of Emperor Go-Shirakawa was dedicated, the spirit of the emperor appeared, so the decree of Emperor Go-Shirakawa (1275) 1277), the Komeiin Kanshoji Temple, which enshrines Emperor Shirakawa, was erected. This is what happened to us. The mound built by the Awauchi samurai was improved and the Mikagedo (currently the Mausoleum of Emperor Chongde) was built.

    Miyagawa Town is located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, and Miyagawasuji 2-chome to 6-chome is a hanamachi. It started in the Kabuki era of Izumo no Okuni, and at first it was a hanamachi where prostitutes were entertaining, and young Kabuki huts and teahouses were lined up and teenage boys (Kagema) were entertaining. Around the Edo period, young people’s teahouses (Yinma teahouses) specializing in selling colors also gathered. After that, Wakashū Kabuki and Yinma Chaya were also hit by repeated crackdowns on customs due to the three major reforms in Edo.

    Until the Meiji and Taisho eras and the enforcement of the Prostitution Prevention Law in 1958 (Showa 33), it was a Yukaku, and the buildings of the Yukaku era still remain. As of 2017, it is a geisha-style hanamachi, and every spring, “Kyo Odori” is performed. Following Gion Kobu, the number of maiko is as large as 20 or more. Before the Meiji era, the dance school was the Shinozuka style, and until about 30 years ago, it was the Ushimoto style, but now the Wakayanagi style is the mainstream.

    Hokanji Temple
    Hokan-ji is a temple of the Rinzai sect Kenninji school located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. Located near Kiyomizu Temple. The five-storied pagoda that rises in the city is commonly known as the “Yasaka Tower” and is a landmark in the surrounding area. Since the precincts are small and there are no outstanding buildings other than the tower, “Yasaka Tower” is also a common name for the temple itself. According to folklore, the five-storied pagoda was built by Prince Shotoku in the 5th year of Emperor Sushun (592) according to the dream of Nyoirin Kannon, and at that time, it was called Hokanji Temple with three Buddhist temples.

    The theory of the opening of Prince Shotoku is found in “Higashiyama Hokanzenji Buddhist stupa in Yamashiroshu” (1338), and modern geographies follow this. It is believed that the sangharama at the time of its construction was the Shitennoji style sangharama or the Horyuji style sangharama. Although the tradition of the founding of Prince Shotoku is doubtful, it is certain that it is an old temple that existed before the transfer of capital to Heiankyo, and it is believed that it was built as a temple of the Korean Peninsula’s migrant clan, Yasaka. Is influential. The tiles excavated from the precincts suggest that the building dates back to the 7th century. The existing five-storied pagoda was rebuilt in the 15th century, but it was built on the site of the tower at the time of its construction, and the underground foundation stone (foundation stone of the pillar) peculiar to ancient temples remains. The temple name was originally called Yasaka-ji, and the first appearance in the literature of Yasaka-ji was the 4th year of Jōwa (837) in “Shoku Nihon Koki”.

    Ryozenkannon is a statue of Kannon in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, and was erected in 1955 by the founder of the Teisan Group, Hirosuke Ishikawa, to commemorate the war dead and victims of World War II. Height 24m, weight about 500t, steel-framed concrete construction. It is operated by the religious corporation Ryozenkannon Church. Below the Kannon statue is the Chancel, where the eleven-faced Kannon of the principal image is enshrined. There is a monument to the world unknown warriors in the memorial hall, and the memorial service is held four times a day.

    Kodaiji Temple
    Kodaiji Temple and Kodaiji Temple are temples of the Rinzai sect Kenjinji school located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The mountain name is Mt. Jubu, and the temple name is called Kodaiju Seizenji. This temple was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s regular room, Kodai-in, to pray for Hideyoshi’s soul, and the temple name is named after Kodai-in, which is the name of the temple after the decoration of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (entering the Buddhist gate). It is a Zen Buddhist temple whose principal image is Shaka Nyorai, and also has the character of a mausoleum dedicated to Hideyoshi and Kodai-in. Momoyama style lacquer work is used for the interior decoration of the sacred house, and this is called “Kodaiji lacquer work”. In addition, it is commonly known as the “Maki-e Temple” because it houses a large number of lacquer furnishings that are said to be possessed by the Kita government.

    Hideyoshi Toyotomi died of illness in the 3rd year of Keicho (1598). Hideyoshi’s regular room, Hokuseisho (Nene, Kodaiin Kogetsushinnen after leaving the house) applied for the construction of a temple to mourn Hideyoshi’s bodhisattva, and initially Koutokuji, where Hideyoshi’s mother, Asahi Bureau, sleeps. I tried to devote it to it (in Teramachi, Kyoto), but because it was too small, I decided to build a new temple at the current location of Higashiyama. Ieyasu Tokugawa, who became an influential person after Hideyoshi’s death, treated the Kita government office with great care and appointed the samurai under his control to the general contractor of Kodaiji Temple.

    Among them, Naomasa Hori, who is a general contractor, seems to have played a major role, and a wooden statue of Naomasa is enshrined in Kaisando of Kodaiji Temple. Kodaiji Temple was founded in 1606, and was originally a temple of the Soto sect. In July 1624, Kodaiji Temple invited Kenninji Mie Shomei, the head temple of the Rinzai sect Kenninji school, to Kaisan. At this time, Kodaiji Temple was converted from the Soto sect to the Rinzai sect.

    Entoku-in is one of the towers of the Rinzai sect Kenninji school, Kodaiji, located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The principal image is Shaka Nyorai. Kaisan is Shomei Mie. It is known that Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Seishitsu Kitaseisho (Kodai-in) became his home in the last 19 years, and one theory is that it is the end of it.

    The enshrined three-sided Daikokuten is said to be Hideyoshi’s memorial Buddha. In addition, the north garden prepared by Kobori Enshu has been designated as a national scenic spot as the former Entoku-in garden, and the 32 fusuma paintings by Tohaku Hasegawa have been designated as an important cultural property of the country.

    Sannen-zaka is a slope in Kyoto. Also known as Sannenzaka. It is famous as a tourist destination in Higashiyama. In a narrow sense, it refers to a slope that descends from Kiyomizu-zaka, which is the approach to Otowayama Kiyomizu-dera, to the north with stone steps, but officially includes a gently undulating cobblestone road to Ninenzaka to the north. Tourists are incessant because it connects Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Kodaiji Temple, Hokanji Temple (Yasaka Tower) in the north and Kiyomizu Temple in the south via Ninenzaka. The roadside is lined with souvenir shops, ceramic shops, and restaurants. It has been selected as an important traditional buildings preservation area based on the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. It is the stage of the Akebonotei incident at the end of the Edo period.

    Sanningzaka as an important traditional buildings preservation area is wider than the street, and is located on the south side of Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Shimizu 2-chome, Shimizu 3-chome, Shimokawara-cho, Minami-cho, Washio-cho, Kinen-cho, Yasaka-kami-cho, Masaya-cho And each part of Hoshino Town. In 1976, about 5.3 hectares were selected as an important traditional buildings preservation district under the name of “Kyoto City Sannen-zaka Traditional Buildings Preservation District”. After that, in 1996, the so-called “Stone Wall Alley” area was additionally selected, and the area of ​​the preservation area is about 8.2 hectares.

    Rokuharamitsuji Temple
    Rokuharamitsuji is a temple of the Shingon sect of Chiyama in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The mountain number is Mt. Potalaka. The principal image is the Eleven-faced Kanzeon Bosatsu (Eleven-faced Kannon). The founder is Kuya Kamito. Saigoku 33rd place 17th bill place. It was originally called Saikou-ji Temple because it originated from the dojo whose principal image is the eleven-faced Kannon, which was built in the middle of the Heian period in the 5th year of the Tenryaku era (951) by Kuya Ichi, who is known for his dance memorial Buddha.

    It is said that Soraya saved many people by walking while pulling this Kannon statue in a car, chanting Nembutsu, and serving tea to the sick in Kyoto at the time when the plague was widespread. Kuya gathered 600 monks on the banks of the Kamogawa River in 963 to hold a large-scale memorial service for the Great Prajnaparamita, and there is a theory that Saikouji was built at this time. At that time, the bank of Kamogawa was a dumping ground for bodies and a funeral procession.

    After Kuya’s death, in the second year of Sadamoto (977), Chuo Shinkin, a priest of Hieizan Enryakuji Temple, changed his name to Rokuharamitsuji Temple and became a Tendai Betsuin, belonging to the Tendai sect. The origin of the name comes from the Buddhist doctrine “Rokubarami”, but it is also thought to be derived from the ancient name of this place “Rokuhara”. In addition, although the notation of Rokuharamitsuji is often seen in ancient times, it is a typographical error.

    Rokudouchinnouji Temple
    Rokudouchinnouji is a temple of the Rinzai sect Kenninji school in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The mountain number is Mt. Otsubaki. The principal image is Yakushi Nyorai. August 7-10, “Rokudo pilgrimage”, known for the well where Ono no Takamura is said to have gone to the underworld. Known as “Rokudou-san”. This area is said to be “Rokudo Tsuji”. The vicinity of the location of this temple is the entrance to Toribeno (Toribeno), which was the cremation site of Heiankyo, and is thought to be the border between this world and the other world, and was called “Rokudo no Tsuji”. “Rokudou no Tsuji” is said to be in front of Rokudouchinnouji Temple along Gojo Dori (currently Matsubara Dori) and near Saifukuji Temple to the west.

    It was founded during the Enryaku era (782-805), and was founded by Keitoshi, the priest of Daianji Temple in Nara and the teacher of Kobo Daishi. In addition to theories such as Kukai (“Eiyama Record” and others) and Ono no Takamura (“Irohajisho” and “Konjaku Monogatari Shu”), the temple of the great family Toribe who once lived in this area (Toribeji) , Hokoji Temple) is also said to be its predecessor. Furthermore, according to the Toji Yuri document “Yamashiro Kokuchinnouji Temple territory attachment plan” (Choho 4th year, 1002), Yamashiro Tankai was founded in Jōwa 3rd year (836).

    Toyokuni Shrine
    Toyokuni Shrine is a shrine located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. It enshrines Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was given the deity “Toyokuni Daimyojin”. It was abolished by the order of Ieyasu Tokugawa with the destruction of the Toyotomi clan, but was later revived by the order of Emperor Meiji.

    Toyokuni Shrine, which enshrines Toyotomi Hideyoshi, exists in Osaka Castle Park in Chuo Ward, Osaka City, where the main festival deity was located, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture, and Nakamura Ward, Nagoya City, where he was born.

    Hokoji Temple
    Hokoji is a temple of the Tendai sect in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. Known as “Great Buddha” or “Great Buddha Hall”. It was built by Mokujiki Oto as a temple to enshrine the Great Buddha (Rohsha Nabutsu), which was proposed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi applied for the construction of a large Buddha in place of the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple, which was burnt down by Matsunaga Hisahide in 1586. Initially, it was planned to be built near the Kenkoin Temple in the south of Tofukuji Temple in Higashiyama, with Takakage Kobayakawa as the Fushin Bugyo and Kokei Sochen of Daitokuji Temple invited to open the mountain. The construction of the Great Buddha and the Great Buddha Hall was temporarily suspended, and the relocation of the Kenkoin was also canceled halfway (thanks to the fact that the Kenkoin was divided into north and south).

    Later, in 1588, the location was changed to the site of the Jodo Shinshu / Bukkoji sect Motoyama Bukkoji Temple on the north side of the Renka Ouin Temple (Bukkoji Temple is the current location of Hideyoshi’s villa “Ryu Wojo”. Moved to). Hideyoshi assigned the wood eclipse of Mt. Koya, who was skillful in large-scale construction, to the construction. The Daibutsuden was built facing the west on Yamatooji, which runs north-south through the eastern bank of the Kamo River, and Hideyoshi also built the Fushimi Kaido on the west side of Yamatooji. Hideyoshi moved Gojo Ohashi to Rokujobomon and went outside Kyoto. It was used as an exit and a flight to visit the Great Buddha.

    Imahie Shrine
    Imahie Shrine is a shrine located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The old shrine is a prefectural shrine. Currently, it is a stand-alone shrine that does not belong to the Association of Shinto Shrines. The old name was Imahie Shrine, and after the Meiji era, Imahie Shrine.

    In the first year of the Eiryaku calendar (1160), Emperor Go-Shirakawa solicited Sanno Seven Shrines (Kami Seven Shrines) from Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine as the guardian shrine of the temple’s Imperial Palace, Hoju-ji Temple, and Shin-Hiyoshi Shrine to the south of the present. It is built as. At the same time, the Myohoin Temple was relocated from Yamauchi of Hieizan Enryakuji Temple to the west side of Gion Shrine (Yasaka Shrine) in order to make it the Betsutoji Temple of Imahie Shrine. In addition, Shin-Kumano Shrine is also built as a guardian shrine, and Rengeoin (Sanjusangendo) is built as a guardian temple.

    Myohoin is a temple of the Tendai sect in the front town of Myohoin, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. The mountain number is called Naneizan. The principal image is Samantabhadra, and Kaisan is Saicho. The monzeki is a special temple where the children of the royal family and aristocrats live in the past, but Myohoin is a prestigious temple that has been named alongside Seiren-in and Sanzen-in (Kajii-mon). It is a temple. It is also known as a temple related to Emperor Go-Shirakawa and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. In the early modern period, Hokoji Temple and Rengeoin (Sanjusangendo) were under control, and Sanjusangendo has been a Buddhist temple under the jurisdiction of Myohoin since modern times.

    Myohoin is located in the southern part of Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, where famous shrines and temples are concentrated. The vicinity is the former site of Hoju-ji Temple, which was the residence of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, and the neighborhood is Chizumiin, Kyoto National Museum, Hoju-ji Temple (Big Buddha), Sanjusangendo, and Imahie Jingu. ), There are the Tomb of the Emperor Go-Shirakawa Hojuji Temple. The magnificent Kuri (national treasure) and Daishoin (important cultural property) built in the early modern period are built, but the temple is not open to the public except during special exhibitions such as autumn.

    Chishakuin Temple is the head temple of the Shingon sect Chishakuin Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The mountain name is called 500 Bussanji, and the temple name is called Negoroji. The principal image is Vairocana of the Kongokai, and Kaisan is the Gen’yu. The main temples of the Chiyama school include Naritasan Shinshoji Temple (Narita Fudo) in Narita City, Chiba Prefecture, Kawasaki Daishi Heimaji Temple in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Takaoyama Yakuoin Temple in Hachioji City, Tokyo. The temple crest is the Kikyo mon. The history of Chishakuin is complicated, and it involves two temples, the Daidenboin Temple in Kishu and the Shounji Temple built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi for his beloved child Tsurumatsu, who died at the age of three.

    Chishakuin was originally the head of the Daidenboin Temple (Negoroji Temple) in Kishu Negoroyama (now Iwade City, Wakayama Prefecture). Daidenhoin is a temple built by the Shingon Buddhist monk Kakuban on Mt. Koya in 1130, but due to doctrinal conflict, Kakuban left Mt. Koya and moved to Mt. Moved and established the Shingon Shingon sect. Chishakuin was built by a monk named Shinkenbo Nagamori as the head of this Daidenboin during the Nanbokucho period, and was a school in Negoro Yamauchi.

    Yogenin is a temple of the Jodo Shinshu sect in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. It is located on the east side of Rengeoin (Sanjusangendo). The temple name of Yogenin was taken from the name of Nagamasa Azai. It was originally the Tendai sect.

    It was founded in 1594 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s concubine, Yodo-dono, as a memorial service for his father, Nagamasa Azai, and his grandfather, Hisamasa Asai. Yogenin is the name of Nagamasa Azai and is the family temple of Mr. Asai. Kaisan is a Buddhist priest of Mt. Hiei, who is the mainstream of Mr. Asai. On May 7, 1616, the second shogun Hidetada Tokugawa’s Oeyo-in (younger sister of Yodo-dono, Jiang) mourned the bodhisattva of Yodo-dono and Toyotomi Hideyori, who were the founders of this Yodo-dono.

    Hosei-ji Temple
    Hoseiji is a temple of the Jodo sect Nishiyama Zenrinji school located in Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. The mountain number is Daihizan. The principal image is the Senju Kannon Bodhisattva. Rakuyo 33 places Kannon sacred place 20th first bill place. It is said that Fujiwara no Tadahira was founded for an extension of 3 years (925). It prospered as a temple of Mr. Fujiwara, but then declined and continues to the present day.

    Sanjusangendo is a Buddhist temple located in Sanjusangendo, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The official name of the building is the main hall of Renkaouin. It is an out-of-bounds Buddhist temple of the Tendai Sect Myohoin Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, and is owned and managed by the temple. Originally a Buddhist temple built by Emperor Go-Shirakawa in his own palace. The principal image is Senju Kannon, and the name of Renka Ouin is derived from the other name of Senju Kannon, “Renkaou”.

    Originally, there was the Hoju-ji Temple built by Emperor Go-Shirakawa (1127-1192) as a detached palace. The Sanjusangendo, which is the main hall of the Renkaouin, was built in one section of the vast Hoju-ji Temple. The “Hojuji Mausoleum” where the Emperor sleeps is on the east side of Sanjusangendo. It is said that the Emperor ordered Taira no Kiyomori to cooperate with the materials for the construction and completed it on December 17, 1165 (January 30, 1165). At the time of its construction, it was a full-scale temple with a five-storied pagoda, but it was destroyed by fire in the first year of its construction (1249). Only the main hall was rebuilt in 1266 (Bunei 3). The hall is now called “Sanjusangendo”, and at that time it was painted in vermilion and the interior was decorated in full color. The architectural style belongs to Japanese style.

    New Kumano Shrine
    Imakumano Shrine is a shrine located in Imakumano Naginomori-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. The old shrine is a village shrine. Kumano Shrine and Kumano Wakaoji Shrine are collectively called “Kyoto Mikumano”. The old name is Shin-Kumanosha. In the first year of the Eiryaku calendar (1160), at the order of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, he solicited Kumano Gongen from Kii Province and Kumano Sanzan as the guardian shrine of Hoju-ji Temple, and by Taira no Kiyomori as the new shrine and annex of Kumano Sanzan. It was founded. In the same year, Imahie Shrine was also built as a guardian shrine, and in 1165, Rengeoin (Sanjusangendo) was also built as a guardian temple.

    Emperor Go-Shirakawa worshiped Kumano Gongen enough to visit Kumano Miyama 34 times in his life, but it was difficult to visit frequently because Kii Province was so far away. Therefore, Kumano Gongen was solicited near the Hoju-ji Temple where he lived, and the company was erected. Since then, it has prospered as the center of Kumano worship in Kyoto.

    Sennyuji Temple
    Sennyuji Temple is the head temple of the Shingon sect Sennyuji school in Yamanouchi Town, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The mountain number is Higashiyama or Izumiyama. The principal image is the third Buddha of Shaka Nyorai, Amida Nyorai, and Maitreya Nyorai. Although it is said to have been created in the Heian period, the actual opening of the mountain was Shunjo Tsukiwa in the Kamakura period. In the temple area that spreads out at the foot of Mt. Tsukiwa, one of the 36 peaks of Higashiyama, the tombs of successive emperors and royal families, from Emperor Go-Horikawa and Emperor Shijo in the Kamakura period to Emperor Gomizuo in the Edo period and Emperor Komei at the end of the Edo period. It is called the temple as the imperial family temple.

    It is known as a temple related to the imperial family along with Ninna-ji and Daikaku-ji, but the timing and circumstances of its creation are not very clear. According to folklore, in the 3rd year of Saikō (856), the Minister of the Left, Otsugu Fujiwara, who follows the tradition of the Fujiwara style family, created a mountain cottage with a god Shujo as the founder. Initially called Horinji, it was later renamed Senyuji. According to “Shoku Nihon Koki”, Fujiwara no Otsugu died in the 10th year of Jōwa (843), so if you believe in the above tradition, it was built as a family temple based on the wishes of Fujiwara no Otsugu. It means that it was done.

    Another lore is Kukai, the founder. In other words, it is said that Kukai originated from Horinji Temple, which was created in this area during the Tencho era (824-834), and was rebuilt by Otsugu Fujiwara in Saikō 2 (855) and renamed Senyuji Temple. is there. There is also a tradition that Kukai created the temple in the 2nd year of Daido (807), and it is said that this temple later became Imakumano Kannonji Temple (located in Sennyuji Yamanouchi, the 15th temple of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage Site). Say. Taken together, it is believed that the predecessor temple, which was created in the early Heian period, was devastated in the latter half of the Heian period, but was revived in the Kamakura period.

    Kaikoji Temple
    Kaiko-ji is a temple of the Shingon-shu Sennyuji school, which is located in Sennyuji Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. It is one of the towers of Sennyuji Temple and is also called Jouroku-san. The official name is Kaiko Ritsuji. The principal image is Shaka Nyorai. Kyoto 13 Buddha Sacred Ground No. 3 Fudasho. Izumiyama Seven Lucky Gods Tour No. 2 (Benzaiten) Fudasho. In the 2nd year of Antei (1228) in the Kamakura period, when Kaikoji was built to the west of the Higashibori River in Omiya Hachijo by the Jyogyo Kumiteru who returned from the Southern Song Dynasty, the statue of Shaka Nyorai of Joroku, a collaboration between Unkei and Tankei father and son, was the principal image. It was greeted and became the Imperial Palace of Emperor Go-Horikawa. Dou was burned down by the Onin War, but the statue of Shaka Nyorai, which was barely left unburned, was moved to the east of Ichijo Modoribashi and then to the east of Sanjogawa, and then in 1645, at the request of Emperor Gomizuo. Moved to and became the head of Sennyuji Temple.

    Emperor Goyosei’s Nyogomonin worshiped Shaka Nyorai at this temple. There is also a tradition that Shaka Nyorai was injured in place of Emperor Gomizuo, and Asano was revered as the guardian Buddha of the emperor, and was later worshiped by the common people under the name of “Jouroku-san.” Benzaiten is enshrined as the second in the Izumiyama Shichifukujin Tour held on the second Monday of January (Coming-of-Age Day) every year.

    Sokujo-in is a temple of the Shingon sect Sennyuji school located in Sennyuji Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. One of the towers of Sennyuji Temple, the principal image is Amida Nyorai. The mountain number is Mt. Komei. Known for the 󈬉 Bodhisattva memorial service” held in October every year, there is a tomb of Nasu no Yoichi in Yamauchi. Known as Yoichi Nasu. Izumiyama Seven Lucky Gods Tour No. 1 (Fukurokuju) Fudasho.

    Sokujo-in has been located in Sennyuji Yamanouchi since the Meiji era, but when it was first built, it was located in Fushimi-Momoyama (currently Momoyama, Fushimi-ku). According to the geography of the early modern period, Komyō-in Temple, which was built by Genshin, a priest of the Keishin priest, started in 992, but this is not a tradition. The actual founder is believed to be Toshitsuna Tachibana, a child of Fujiwara no Yorimichi, a poet and a poet known as Fushimi Choja.

    Unryu-in is a temple of the Shingon sect Sennyuji school located in Sennyuji Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. Sennyuji Temple Betsuin. The mountain number is Ruriyama. The principal image is Yakushi Nyorai. Saigoku Yakushi 49 Sacred Ground No. 40 Fudasho. Izumiyama Seven Lucky Gods Tour No. 5 (Daikokuten) Fudasho.

    During the Nanbokucho period, it was built together with Ryukain in 1372 with the opening of Takeiwa Seisaku at the request of Emperor Gokogon of the Northern Court. It is said that it was developed by the devotion of the imperial family such as Emperor Go-Enryu, Emperor Go-Komatsu, and Emperor Shoko. In the second year of Bunmei (1470), it was burnt down in the aftermath of the Onin War, and suffered damage that only left the statues of Emperor Gokougon and Emperor Goenfu. In the early Edo period, the Ryukain, which was adjacent to Emperor Go-Enyu, was annexed by the sect of Nyoshu.

    Raigoin is a temple of the Shingon sect Sennyuji school in Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. The mountain number is Mt. Meio. The principal image is Amida Nyorai. The tower of Sennyuji Temple. Forbidden Bodhisattva Sennyuji Temple Betto, also known as Sennyuji Temple (“Miji” means Sennyuji Temple). Izumiyama Seven Lucky Gods Tour No. 4 (Takashi Nunobukuro) Fudasho. According to the temple, Kukai (Kobo Daishi) enshrined the statue of Sanpo Aragami, which he felt in Tang (China), and opened the visiting hospital in the first year of Daido (806). Approximately 400 years later, in the 6th year of Kempo (1218), Sennyuji Tsukio, the elder of Sennyuji Temple, maintained the temples with the devotion of Nobufusa Fujiwara and became a child temple of Sennyuji Temple. , The temple was burned down and devastated by the Onin War in 1468.

    After that, in the 2nd year of Tensho (1574), the founder of Chuko, Toshiie Shun, revived with the assistance of Nobunaga Oda, and in the 2nd year of Keicho (1597), Toshiie Maeda rebuilt the temples, and the Tokugawa family also provided assistance. With the financial foundation in place, the reconstruction was finally achieved. On March 14, 1701 (Genroku 14), an incident occurred in the Edo Castle Matsuno Oro corridor where Naganori Asano (Takumi Asanouchi), who was the daimyo of the Akaho domain, slashed Yoshinaka Kira (Uenosuke Kira). Naganori Asano was seppuku, and the Asano Ako family was cut off. After leaving Ako, Yoshio Oishi, a vassal of Asano, relied on the then elder Sennyuji Izumi, who was a priest at the time, and Kazuhisa Takuwa, who was the chief priest of the Raigoin, and became a Danka of the Raigoin and received a danka system from Yamashina. It is said that he settled down and spent a lot of time at the hospital.

    Imakumano Kannonji
    Imakumano Kannonji is a temple of the Shingon sect Sennyuji school located in Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. It is one of the towers of Sennyuji Temple, and the official temple name is Kannonji. The mountain number is Mt. Shinnachi. The principal image is the eleven-faced Kanzeon Bosatsu (secret Buddha). Saigoku 33rd place 15th bill place. In the second year of Daido (807), the year after Kukai learned Shingon Esoteric Buddhism in Tang, he found light coming from Higashiyama, and when he came to the area, he looked like an old man. Kumano Gongen has appeared. Kumano Gongen handed Kukai an eleven-faced Kannon Bodhisattva statue of Amaterasu Ogami’s work and told him to build Ichiu here to worship this Kannon Bodhisattva and rescue sentient beings.

    Therefore, Kukai himself carved an eleven-faced Kannon Bodhisattva statue of one shakuhachi, put the one-inch eight-minute statue he received inside as a Buddha inside, and built Ichiu here as Kumano Gongen said. .. This is said to be the beginning of this temple. In the 3rd year of Konin (812), the temples were built with the support of Emperor Saga, and it is said that they were completed during the Tencho era (824-833). Furthermore, when the minister of the left, Fujiwara no Otsugu, applied for the construction of a cathedral in a vast temple area, it was continued as a project to mourn the bodhisattva of Otsugu by his child, Fujiwara no Hartsu, even after Otsugu’s death. ) Was completed as Horinji Temple.

    Tofukuji Temple
    Tofukuji Temple is the head temple of the Tofukuji Temple of the Rinsai sect in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The mountain number is Mt. It prospered throughout the Middle Ages and early modern times as the fourth Zen temple in Kyoto Gozan. Although the scale has been reduced in the modern era, it is still a large temple with 25 temples (Yamauchi temple). It is famous as a famous spot for autumn leaves. Also known as the “Tofukuji temple”.

    Tofukuji Temple is located at the southeastern tip of Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, near the border with Fushimi Ward, and Sennyuji Temple is in the east. In this area, there was a huge temple of Mr. Fujiwara’s temple, Hoseiji, which was built by Fujiwara no Tadahira in the second year (924) (Hoseiji continues as a small temple near JR Keihan Tofukuji Station. ). In Katei 2 (1236), the Regent Kujo Michiie applied for the construction of a large temple to enshrine the statue of Shaka Nyorai, which is 5 heights (about 15 meters) in height, and the temple name is Todaiji Temple in Nara. We took each letter from the two major temples of Kofukuji and named it “Tofukuji”. The construction of the Buddha Hall, which enshrines the five-length Shaka Nyorai statue completed in the first year of the construction (1249), began in the first year of the extension (1239), and was completed in the seventh year (1255). ..

    Meikoji Temple
    Meikakuji is a temple of the head temple of the Puhua Masamune in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City. The mountain number is Mt. The principal image is the statue of Zen Master Hui-juk. Shakuhachi main dojo. In historical drama, Komuso often wears a box with the word “light and darkness” on it, which seems to have a religious meaning at first glance, but in reality it means “I belong to Meikakuji Temple”. Is.

    In the 2nd year of Kenmu (1335), Akifu Tengai founded Hui-juk Ryoen in Sanjo Shirakawa, Kyoto, asking him to open the mountain. It was abandoned due to the abolition of Buddha in 1871, but the statue of Hui-juk Ryoen Zen Master, which was owned by the temple, was entrusted to Zennein, the tower of Tofukuji Temple, and was entrusted to the temple in the Meiji era. In 23 (1890), it was reconstructed as a “light and dark church”. Furthermore, in 1950, it was revived as a “religious corporation, Puhua Masamune Meikoji” by borrowing it from Zenkeiin. Zenkeiin has Osho (Zenkeiin chief priest) and the shakuhachi chief priest who inherits the legal system of the light and dark shakuhachi.

    Kyoto National Museum
    The Kyoto National Museum is a museum run by the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. It opened in May 1897 (Meiji 30). The current director is Johei Sasaki. It collects, stores, and exhibits cultural properties centered on the culture of Kyoto from the Heian period to the Edo period, and conducts research and dissemination activities related to cultural properties. In addition to regular exhibitions, special exhibitions are held two to four times a year.

    The exhibition halls are the Meiji Kotokan (formerly known as the main building), which is the former Imperial Kyoto Museum main building designed by Katayama Tokuma, an engineer of the Imperial Household Ministry, and the Heisei Chishinkan, which was completed in 2013. The Meiji Kotokan will be used as a special exhibition hall, and the Heisei Chishinkan will be used as a normal exhibition hall. The collection includes 27 national treasures and 181 important cultural properties (as of March 2006). In 1969 (Showa 44), the old main building (Meiji Kotokan), front gate (main gate), bill counter and sleeve wall were designated as national important cultural properties as the “former Imperial Kyoto Museum”. In 2008 (2008), the Technical Information Reference Center (formerly the Kyoto Museum Display Storage Warehouse) was registered as a national registered tangible cultural property.

    Previously, there was a “new building” (normal exhibition hall) designed by Keiichi Morita, an emeritus professor at Kyoto University, which was completed in 1965 and opened the following year at the location of the Heisei Chishinkan. This “new building” was dismantled and the Heisei Chishinkan (designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, construction started on January 31, 2009, completed in August 2013) with a normal exhibition function was constructed. The South Gate Museum Shop, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, opened in advance in 2009. Due to the dismantling of the old normal exhibition hall and the construction of the Heisei Chishinkan, the normal exhibition was suspended for a long time, but it was resumed on September 13, 2014 after the exhibition room was dried after the completion of the Heisei Chishinkan (special). The exhibition continued during that time).

    Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum
    Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum is a private museum located in Kiyomizu 3-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. Approximately 10,000 items are stored, mainly Japanese crafts such as lacquer work, metalwork, ceramics, cloisonne, wood carving, fang carving, and embroidery paintings made from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji era, and some of them are exhibited. There is. The founder and the first director is Rinyo Murata.

    When the Meiji government began its policy of promoting the breeding industry in the Meiji era, as part of this policy, it was decided to foster an export craft industry with high artistic value in order to earn foreign currency. The government encouraged craftsmen to exhibit their crafts at the National Industrial Exhibition and international expositions held outside Japan, and the swordsmen, armor, furnishings, and Buddhist craftsmen who had lost the samurai patron , Responded by challenging the production of metalwork, lacquer work, ceramics, cloisonne works, etc. for art ornamental use.

    When exhibiting or exporting crafts to international exhibitions, attention was paid to marketing, such as adopting designs that match the aesthetic sense of Westerners. Other than some of these crafts being donated or purchased by the royal family, there were few excellent products left in Japan because they were mainly for export, and research had not been carried out for a long time. Under these circumstances, in the 1980s, Rinyo Murata met an inro from the Meiji era at an antique shop in New York and woke up to its charm.

    Since the establishment of the main building, exhibitions of Meiji crafts have been touring in museums and art galleries around the world, and Meiji crafts have been featured in media such as television and art magazines, and the re-evaluation of Meiji crafts in Japan has dramatically increased. Proceeded to.

    Ryozen Museum
    Ryozen Museum is a history museum located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The only museum that specializes in the Meiji Restoration at the end of the Edo period. Valuable relics and materials such as the shogunate scholars who were active in Kyoto at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, the shogunate side, and other public houses and painters are exhibited. In 1968, Konosuke Matsushita, the chairman of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., established the “Sacred Mountain Awards” in cooperation with Kansai business people. Opened in 1970. The first director is Konosuke Matsushita.

    On the 1st floor, there is a sword corner used by Ryoma Sakamoto, Toshizo Hijikata, and Isami Kondo, and on the 2nd floor, there is a related / commentary corner that you can see in pictures, an electronic paper play, and a model corner that reproduces the Ikedaya and Teradaya incidents. From January to March 2019, renewal work was carried out to increase the collection of materials, and some 147 materials of the Wuxi Bunko in Yokohama City were transferred.

    Kanji Museum & Library
    In 2014, he signed an agreement with Kyoto City on the site of Yaei Junior High School, and announced a plan to build a Kanji Museum / Library and headquarters office. The Kanji Museum & Library, commonly known as the Kanji Museum, opened on June 29, 2016.

    Furukawacho Shopping Street
    Furukawacho Shopping Street connects Sanjo-dori with Shirakawa (Yodogawa water system), which is a shopping street in Furukawa-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. It is a block from Furukawacho Dori Sanjo Dori to Shirakawasuji, and is a 200m long shopping street. In the olden days, travelers and merchants came and went on the Wakasa Highway. It was also used as a front-door market as Chion-in, and there were many shops selling fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, salted fish, etc., centering on food. There are stores such as fresh fish, raw meat, vegetables, fruits, miscellaneous goods, knife sharpening, soup stock, pharmacies, cotton candy stores, cafes, and attractions where you can experience ninja. The guest house is also substantial.

    It was the end point of the Wakasa Highway and was designated as Furukawacho Dori. Regarding the birth, it is stated in “Kyoto Bome Magazine” that the Wakasa Kaido, which had been abandoned for a long time as a field, was restored in 1666 (Kanbun 6) and became Furukawa-dori. From Edo to the Meiji era, it was called “East Nishiki”. Incorporated in April 1964. Arcade was set up around 1970. 1996 Implemented point card business at all stores. 2004 Received KES (“Environmental Management System Standard”) certification. First in the shopping district.

    Higashiyama is a general term for mountains on the eastern side of the Kyoto Basin. It may also refer to the area at the foot of the mountain. It is common to go from Mt. Hiei (Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture) to Mt. Inari (Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City) to the south. In a narrow sense, there is also a direction that points south from Nyoigatake (Mt. Kagami) (Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City) in the south of Yamanakaetsu, not including Mt. Hiei.

    “Higashiyama” is not the name of a single mountain system, but the mountain that can be seen to the east from the center of Kyoto. Therefore, while Mt. Yoshida, which is separated from other mountains by Shishigatani, is included, the mountains of the Hira Mountains that extend to the north of Mt. Hiei are not included. The name “Higashiyama” was used in the Heian period in ancient times, but it became popular after the Muromachi period.

    The mountains of Higashiyama are collectively called “Higashiyama 36 peaks” (Higashiyama Sanjuroppo). At the beginning of the word’s formation, it did not mean that it had 36 peaks, but it was likened to the gentle series of Higashiyama mountains from Rakuchu, and about 36 peaks. ..

    Maruyama Park
    Maruyama Park is a park located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is designated as a national scenic spot. The park area is adjacent to Yasaka Shrine and Chion-in. Also written as Maruyama Park. It is a famous place for cherry blossoms represented by “Gion weeping cherry tree”. Until the Meiji Restoration, it was part of the precincts of Yasaka Shrine (then Gion Kanjinin), Anyoji Temple, Chorakuji Temple, and Gionji Temple (Sourinji Temple). As part of the Haibutsu Kishaku in the first year of the Meiji era, the land was confiscated by the government in 1871 (Meiji 4), and in 1886 (Meiji 19) a park with a total area of ​​about 90,000 square meters was established.

    In 1887 (Meiji 20), it was transferred to Kyoto City and became the first city park in Kyoto City. The garden plan was compiled by Goichi Takeda. Artificial mineral spring sanatoriums and rental seats were lined up to form a joyous place, but in 1912 (Taisho 1st year) after being burned down by a fire, Ogawa Jihei created a Japanese garden with a pond-style tour, which is now in its current form.

    The Maruyama Park Concert Hall, which opened in 1927, is used as an outdoor hall that can accommodate about 3,000 people. There are also restaurants, teahouses, and statues of Ryoma Sakamoto and Shintaro Nakaoka built by the efforts of former Liberal Party member Seiei Imahata. There are also many historic sites such as Sorinji Temple, Saigyoan, and Bashoan. There was a riding ground in the past, but it is now abolished.

    To Start the New Year-The Seven Gods of Good Fortune (七福神)- in Treasure Ships, under your pillow, or as part of a mini pilgrimage: SHICHIFUKUJIN MEGURI 30 December, 2020

    A sheet of paper with an image of a TAKARA BUNE ( treasure ship) carrying the SHICHIFUKUJIN ( 7 Gods of Good Fortune), which should be put under your pillow to ensure an auspicious FIRST DREAM ( HATSU YUME) of the year- the kanji character on the sail reads BAKU, a mythological Chinese beast which will EAT UP any BAD DREAMS you might have.

    An E-ma votive tablet (for writing your wishes on) at a shrine in Ueno Park

    The same Seven Lucky Deities in their Treasure Ship adorn the shutter to a shop selling lottery tickets (Ueno, Tokyo)

    The number 7 has been long been held to be special or LUCKY in various civilizations around the world. Perhaps this is because there are 7 days in the phases of the moon ( which means seven days in a week), or because there are seven large celestial objects in our solar system which are visible to the naked eye- the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn ( after which the seven days of the week are named in Japanese). Maybe it is because of the seven stars ( including the important North Star) which are part of the Little Dipper ( Ursa Major).

    Poster at train station in Ikebukuro, Tokyo

    The fact that it is a prime number ( cannot be obtained by multiplying two smaller number together) also adds to its mystery.

    Whatever the reason actually is, throughout human history 7 has been used to create iconic groupings: the Seven Days of Creation, Shakespeare`s Seven Stages of Man, the seven notes in Western music`s major scale, the Seven Wonders of the World, the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove ( in China), the Seven Samurai, the Seven Dwarfs…………

    The list goes astonishingly on and on and ON. Groupings of seven, since classical antiquity, in the arts and religion.

    At the entrance to the Seibu Department store in Tsukuba- January 5th 2012

    In ancient Japan, as well, the number seven was considered a sacred number (along with eight). From the way it is used in Japan`s earliest texts ( the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in which such groupings as the seven nights, the seven days, the seven villages, etc. appear) it was clearly a number which helped to connect man with the divine.

    The way seven was used in some of Japan`s oldest folk tales ( SHICHININ DO-GYO-, SHICHININ MISAKI, and SHICHININ KARI, for example) also shows how this number was special, but not only in a lucky way. It often represents the mysterious or even the dreadful.

    By the Kamakura Period, however, the number 7 seems to have lost its connection with magic and the inexplainable among the common people. It came to resemble what it has long been for so many other peoples of the world- LUCKY SEVEN – a number which would bring happiness and drive misfortune away.

    Surely one reason for this was the popular Buddhist adage (brought over from China) which goes: The Seven Troubles will Pass and The Seven Good Fortunes will Arrive ( SHICHI NAN SOKUMETSU SHICHI FUKU SOKUSHO, 七難即滅七福即生).

    Little ceramic figures of the SHICHIFUKUJIN inside a LUCKY BAG ( fukubukuro) and a larget wooden tablet depicting HOTEI (left) and FUKUROKUJU

    And that is why by the end of the Muromachi Period ( 1336 to 1573), when Japan`s most iconic GROUPING- that of the Lucky Deities- came into being, their number was set at SEVEN ( though their number and identity of the members have gone through many changes before being set in their present form).

    The Seven Deities of Good Fortune- the SHICHI FUKUJIN (七福神) now consist of long and well-loved characters from the Buddhist ( India and China), Taoist (China), and Native Japanese traditions. They are each easily recognizable by their features or by what they wear or hold- and each is said to provide a different reward to those who pay them homage.

    The Seven Deities are often shown riding together in a ship- the TAKARA BUNE- or Treasure ship, which might have, for the inhabitants of this island nation, represented the good things, both material and spiritual, that have come from abroad since ancient times.

    A ceramic Treasure Ship carrying the Shichifukujon

    The SHIFUKUJIN are especially popular in the first week of the year, a time at which ( as I have explained many times before in past articles) the Japanese have traditionally tried to compile as much ENGI (lucky associations) as possible, by visiting shrines and temples, and displaying and purchasing objects heavy laden which multiple layers of LUCKY symbolism.

    In the New Year season not only do many Japanese display their SHICHIFUKUJIN figurines or hanging scrolls, but there are certain popular SHICHIFUKUJIN PILGRIMAGE courses ( SHICHIFUKUJIN MEGURI) in various parts of the country, many of which can be made in a few (fun-filled) hours.

    These mini-pilgrimages became extremely popular in Japan`s big cities during the Edo Period ( especially toward its end in the early to mid 19th Century).

    Later, in the late 19th century, it was common to put a picture ( printed on paper) of the Seven Deities riding in a Treasure Ship under ones pillow on the second night of the new year. This would help bring auspicious First Dreams of the year ( HATSU YUME).

    If one did have a bad dream anyway, this paper was then buried in the ground or cast off into water to cleanse oneself of the impurities it brought.

    On some of these treasure ship pictures you can see the Kanji character for BAKU (獏), a mythical Chinese beast which eats bad dreams, printed on the sail.

    (I have also seen examples of these Treasure Ship papers inscribed with a mysterious palindrome (回文 KAIMON), said to have been composed by Prince Shotoku*)

    These Treasure Ship sheets were sold before New Years at the shrines/temples of Kyoto and by street vendors in Edo ( though in the Edo Period they carried 7 species of food plants, not the Seven Lucky Gods).

    This custom still exists today. Last year I was given such a printed sheet by a friend who told me to put it under my pillow on the first night of the new year.

    Various LUCKY figurines, including some little SHICHIFUKUJIN sets on sale in a shop in MUKO-JIMA, Tokyo)thetheAn image of EBISU at one of the temples in the Yanaka Shichifukujin Circuit

    For me, the great popularity of these flagrantly FOREIGN deities ( even the name of the native Japanese deity, Ebisu, implies something which has been washed up on Japan`s shores) and the treasure ships ( also representing good things things coming from abroad) during Japan`s Period of National Isolation (SAKOKU) is extremely curious.

    Could it have been a subtle criticism of the Shogun`s policies of keeping Japan`s ports closed ( with the exception of Nagasaki)?

    An image of one of the SHICHIFUKUJIN- Daitoku-Sama- at the Izumi Kosodate Kannon, in Tsukuba

    Interestingly, the Shichifukujin, and especially the mini-pilgrimages made to them, dramatically declined in popularity from the onset of the Sino-Japanese War through the end of WWII. But after decades of trying to dominate the continent militarily, the Japanese fell back once again in the post-war years to praying to the GOODS/GODS brought from abroad, and the Seven Lucky Deities have enjoyed a great revival ever since. In hard economic times ( like the ones we are living in now) more people than ever seem to be visiting these deities at the beginning of the year- anything to bring about a change.

    An image of HOTEI- Sama which can only be viewed during the first ten days of the year ( part of the Yanaka Shichifukujin Meguri, in Tokyo)

    Two of Tokyo`s most historically important SHICHIFUKUJIN MEGURI New Year`s pilgirimage circuits are very easilly reached from Tsukuba- by the TX or Joban Lines.

    One, the Yanaka Shichifukujin Meguri (谷中七福神めぐり) begins in Tabata (on the Yamanote Line) and takes you through some of Tokyo`s most atmospheric neighborhoods – Nishi Nippori, Nippori, Yanaka, and Ueno.

    The other, the Sumidagawa Shichifukujin Meguri (隅田川七福神めぐり), starts near the infamous Asahi Beer Building ( the one with the golden turd on its roof), on the other side of the Sumida River when leaving the Asakusa Station.

    Going on a Shichifukujin Pilgrimage means that you walk ( or drive) to a series of set shrines and temples which each possess images of one (or more) of the Seven Deities . When you finish the circuit, you will have paid homage to each of them.

    A completed Shichifukujin Pilgrimage Stamp Paper, with stamps from all the temples in the Yanaka Shichifukujin Circuit

    Many people carry a stamp book or special paper which they have stamped at each of these temples/shrines which they then take home with them- proof that they have completed the pilgrimage. Many Japanese just seem to get energized by having the specific task of finding all the shrines/temples and completing the collection of STAMPS. Its almost like a game ( especially for non-locals who need a map to find each of the sites).

    Two large stone guardian statues are covered with red paper at the To-Gakuji Temple in Tabata ( part of the Yanaka Shichifukujin Cicuit)

    I will try to write detailed descriptions of these courses in the next couple of days. I do recommend doing them by the tenth of this month as each of these temples, besides exuding an exciting New Years atmosphere, have images and gardens which are on special, temporary display.

    A poster on the TX promoting Shichifukujin Pilgrimages

    Oh, how rude of me. I almost forgot. Let me introduce them to you- the Seven Lucky Deities:

    ( Please remember than each of these Deities have extremely complex and interesting backgrounds and symbolic meanings- and there are volumes dedicated to each one. This is only the barest of descriptions)

    EBISU: God of Success in Business and Fishing. Worshiped since ancient times in what is now Hyogo Prefecture. He is recognized by his fishing rod, or fish. He wears a cap.

    DAIKOKUTEN: A God of Good Harvests, Plentiful food, and good luck in general. This God is the Japanese manifestation of the Hindu God Shiva, whose image is extremely important at the Enryakuji Temple, on Mt. Hiei near Kyoto. He is also associated with the Japanese God O-Kuninushi no Mikoto. He carries a big bag over his shoulders ( like a Japanese Santa Claus) bearing good fortune- this is why many Japanese shops and department stores sell LUCKY BAGS- FUKU BUKURO on the first few days of the year. He also holds a mallet and wears a cap.

    BISHAMONTEN: A God of courage, victory in battle and academic success, protector of the Northern Direction, he is a Japanese manifestation of the Indian God Kubera. The only one of the Lucky Deities with a fierce expression on his face ( though sometimes he is not portrayed grimacing). He wears armour and carries a spear. He has for long been popular as an object of worship on Kyoto`s Mt. Kurama.

    BENZAITEN: A Goddess of Culture and the Arts, she is the Japanese manifestaiton of the Hindu Goddess Sarasvati. She was also the popular object of worship in Japan at Chikubu Shima Island in Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. She carries a musical instrument ( resembling a lute). And she has come to be associated in Japan with snakes (for reasons I will reveal in another post) temples dedicated to this deity might be especially popular at the the beginning of Years of the Snake.

    JU-RO-JIN: A Taoist God of Longevity, he is bearded, wears a cap and carries a staff and a fan ( with brushes away misfortune)

    FUKUROKUJU-: God of Long Life and Protector of the Directions, this Taoist Deity has an elongated bald head.His name is especially auspicious with FUKU- luck, ROKU- position in society, and JU- long life making up his name, and he thus represents thriving descendants, financial success, and long life.

    HOTEI-ZON: The only one of the deities to have been an actual person- he was a revered Chinese Zen monk . This fat, bald and jolly God ( often seen at Chinese temples) also carries a bag ( of goods) and is a deity of human fertility, marital harmony, and success in financial matters.

    An image of EBISU fishing in the garden of the To-gaku Ji Temple in Tabata ( which is only open for the first ten days of the year) and is filled with ENGI-MONO ( auspicious objects)

    As you can see from the brief explanation above, some of these gods (Ebisu, Daitoku, Bishamon and Benzaiten) had long been popular objects of worship at specific and separate shrines/temples in Western Japan ( where Osaka and Kyoto are located). Long before the GROUPING of SEVEN was decided upon and set as it is today, it was common to pair the gods Ebisu and Daitoku to pray for good fishing catches and good harvests and general business success. But since in Japan there is always the sense that when it comes to compiling LUCK- the more, the better, and other gods- Benzaiten and Bishamon were added to the group, making Four Lucky Deities.. This did not last long, since, EVEN numbers (such as four) , are not considered very auspicious in Japan ( or China), as they can be easily DIVIDED. And besides that, one of the readings of the number 4 in Japanese is SHI, which is a homophone for the word meaning death. Not very auspicious. So another god- HOTEI was added to make it five.

    Things were then taken further, to seven, but in deciding upon the last two gods there was some controversy. First, another female deity- KICHIJO-TEN, was added to the grouping ( and is still included in some parts of Japan). However, two quite similar deities from the Taoist pantheon won out- JU-RO-JIN and FUKUROKUJU and are now included in the standard set. Both of these deities of longevity are considered to be manifestations of the Southern Star ( NANKYOKU NO HOSHI, 南極の星), which is rarely visible in the Northern Hemisphere and is believed to represent longevity ( which was once extremely rare. It is interesting that on some of the first popular SHICHIFUKJIN pilgrimage courses in Edo there were only six shrines/temples included – with a prayer to the southern star counting as a prayer to JU-RO-JIN.

    Just exactly when the first such New Years pilgrimage circuits began in the Shoguns capital of Edo ( as opposed to the Imperial Capital at that time- Kyoto) is unclear, but there eventually came into being several popular courses.

    I will now describe one of the most famous of these, discontinued with the onset of WWll, but recently revived ( in an altered form) with the SHICHIFUKUJIN BOOM of the past few decades:


    From the To-gakuji Temple near Tabata Station, to the Benzaiten Hall in Ueno Park it can take a few hours to visit the seven temples on this course ( and make a few detours as well). But anyone interested in Japanese history and culture will not want this one to end ( or at least will want to come back for more exploring). This was Edo`s TEMPLE TOWN and it is simply astounding how many temples there are there ( as many temples were moved to this area after the Great Furisode Fire of 1657). Fortunately, it was also left almost untouched by the firebombings of the Second World War ( especially Yanaka). In the Edo Period ( and for decades more) this was one of Edo/Tokyo`s most scenic areas- a popular place for viewing Mt. Fuji, the moon, the snow, or the sound of autumn insects. The Dokan Yama embankment ( built by the same engineer, Ota Dokan, who built Edo Castle) created an elevated space ( providing views of both Mt Fuji and Mt Tsukuba) which still exists today- though now besides the upper portion of Mt Fuji on clear days, all you can really admire in the distance is endless CONCRETE JUNGLE, TRAIN TRACKS, and the Tokyo Sky tree.

    Let me tell you how to start from Tsukuba.

    Take the TX to Akihabara, go up to the ground level ( by escalator), turn left, and get a ticket ( if you need one) to Tabata ( 150 Yen).

    Enter the JR station and proceed to platform 2 to catch the Yamanote Line.

    Get on the train and get out at the 6th stop from Akihabara- TABATA.

    Go to your right and walk to the escalator all the way at the end of the platform, which will take you to the North Gate of the station.

    Turn left onto the big road which runs like a river through a concrete canyon.

    A few hundred meters down this road there is a traffic light. Cross the street there, take a few steps to your left, and turn right down the narrow road. This will take you shortly to To-gakuji (東覚寺), the first temple on the course.

    Worshipers paste red paper on the same part of the stone guardian statues that ails them- if a successfull cure is achieved it is customary to donate a pair of straw sandals to the temple ( see them in the background)

    Togakuji is interesting ANYTIME you visit- because of its very photogenic stone guardians- which are covered with RED PAPER. According to temple lore, if some part of your body ails you, stick a piece of red paper on the same spot on one of the statues. If you feel better, as thanks, it is customary to give the temple a pair of straw sandals.

    During the first ten days of the year ,however, this place is really special. They even have some staff to serve visitors hot AMAZAKE ( sweet non-alcoholic sake dregs) during that period.

    Togakuji serves free AMAZAKE to visitors during ( some of the) the first ten days of the year

    At this temple you will find a surprisingly wide selection of Japanese lucky symbols, Deities, Buddhas, and auspicious plants. Many of these are in the garden ( in the back) which is only open during the first ten days of the year.

    When you do stroll around this garden, you will soon realize that it is a veritable MINI SHICHIFUKUJIN course within a shichifukujin course, as you will find ( if you look hard enough) images of each of the Seven Gods within its walls.

    A popular Japanese ENGI MONO ( auspicious object)- a ceramic tanuki- one of the MANY engi mono which can be found on the grounds of the To-gaku-Ji Temple

    Step inside the main hall. There are so many images to admire ( including replicas of my favorite pieces of Japanese art- the Heavenly Musicians of Byodo-in`s Pheonix Hall) that you might not even realize that at this, the first temple of the Yanaka Shichifukujin, the main image is that of FUKUROKUJU.

    To get to the garden in the back, you have to pass by this memorial stone for cats and dogs, people`s pets which have passed on

    In the temples office you can pick up the paper sheet with which you can gather the seven stands needed to complete the pilgrimage.

    Stepping back out, walk to your left and you will notice a shrine way in the back ( a Hachiman Shrine), which was once part of the temple ( until Buddhism and Shintoism were forcibly separated from each other during the Meiji Period.

    The path leading to the Hachiman Shrine which was once part of the Togaku-Ji Temple. Note the Kado Matsu Pines in front of each store house door.

    Now walk back the way you came, to the main road, but this time dont turn back towards the station. Cross the street and go straight. This neighborhood was once famous for the great number of talented literary figures who lived there. After a hundred yards or so you will see on your left the restaurant at which the great writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke got married.

    Akutagawa Ryunosuke got married at this restaurant

    When you reach the t-junction a little way further, turn right. You will soon see the THIEF PREVENTING JIZO STONES ( ZOKU YOKE JIZO, 賊除地蔵), in front of the Yoraku-Ji Temple (与楽寺) which was once attacked by thieves who were driven off by tenacious priests. This temple is not part of the Shichifukujin Course, so you might just want to keep going, after having a look at the stones.

    The Thief-Preventing Jizo Stones ( Zoku Yoke Jizo, 賊除地蔵) in front of the Yoraku-Ji Temple

    Now you have to make a choice- keep walking straight for a more direct route, or head up to the top of the DOKAN YAMA embankment for a more scenic walk. If you are like me, you will walk them both!

    If you do keep going straight past the ZOKU YOKE JIZO, you will turn left a little ways up when you get to an intersection with a house on the far right-hand side surrounded by a low stone wall with a tree stump jutting out slightly over it.

    When you see a laundromat/bath house shortly on your left, its time to turn right. Soon you will get to a main road which would take you to the Nishi Nippori Station if you turned left. Do not turn. Cross the street and continue a bit further along the road. Soon you will reach reach SEIUN-JI (青雲寺) , the second temple on the course, which displays an image of EBISU (see above).

    Pilgrims waiting to pay their respects to an image of Ebisu at the Seiun Ji Temple

    When you have seen the image and gotten your stamp ( or just watch the others doing this) you go back out to the road you were just on and keep going in the same direction. Soon you will be at the third temple, SHUSEI-IN (修性院), which you will easilly recognize by the large cartoonish images of HOTEI, the fat and jolly Zen monk, painted on its outer wall.

    The actual image of Hotei in the temple`s Main Hall, is the most impressive of the Yanaka Shichikukujin.

    The outer wall of the SHUSEI-IN Temple bears images of HOTEI whose impressive image can be seen inside its main hall.

    Leaving this temple turn to the left and walk a few meters and then turn left once again, up what is called the FUJIMI ZAKA (富士見坂)- the Fuji-Viewing Slope. During the winter months, Mt. Fuji is in fact visible from up on the embankment at sunset. When you get to the top of the slope you will see a signboard with photos of what the view is like if you dont have a chance to actually see it.

    If you have time, before walking to the right along the embankment ( which is the direction you nned to go to procede with the pilgrimage), have a walk around the Suwa Shrine on your left.

    Inside temple number four- Cho-an Ji, is this image Ju-ro-jin

    Lining up at the fifth temple- Tenno-Ji, at the edge of the Yanaka Cemetery, to pray to Bishamon

    Temple Number Six- Gokoku-In, with a Noh Stage to the left. Inside is an image of DAIKOKU

    The last temple- and the one with the longest lines: The Shinobazu Benzaiten in Ueno Park

    *The palindrome which can be found on certain TAKARABUNE pictures from the late Meiji Period to the early Showa Period only reads as one if written in KANA script. It goes:

    It was said that this incantation should be recited three times before sleeping to ensure GOOD dreams.

    Here is the artist’s statement, deep stuff:

    Every art has a kind of language and its logic. In music, it is very clear. Of course, to use this language correctly in artwork doesn’t necessarily mean that the art is superb, or worth appreciating. There are far too many pieces of music which are correct in grammar that cannot attract our aesthetical attention.

    But artwork without including any language is not art, but chaos or only confusion which cannot be appreciated at least by human intellect, because we humanity get the understanding and the meaning of our surroundings only through a kind of language system. This is also true in the field of visual art. Why some artworks catch our attention dramatically, only to make us get bored soon, and eventually have totally gone without being recorded even in our “oblivion”, not to mention our “memory”, while other artworks don’t attract much attention at first, and only gradually are they appraised by people, but in the long run they achieve eternal fame is because the former appeals only to our senses. These senses cannot retain its contents, because they are lacking in logic, which only can make people carry their sensory contents beyond time and space, and which only language system can provide. In contrast, the latter doesn’t always appeal to our senses at first sight. So many people who don’t understand these aesthetic languages and always believe only what their untrained senses tell them tend to ignore them, or cannot help ignoring them, as we ignore foreign books written in foreign languages we don’t understand. But, perhaps, they will learn to decipher them intentionally or subconsciously in due course, because our cognitive senses gradually try to interpret the logical side of what we perceive around us, though at first they are dazzled by loud sensory data. When this attempt is successful even if partly, we cannot forget the meaning and the sense of beauty we’ve got with the help of the language system and its logic there used which we have newly acquired, because this logic of the artwork is now stored in our mind. We will come to experience and enjoy the sense (meaning) of beauty always, because they spring from the logic integrated within ourselves, not from the actual artwork. This is why some artworks are immortal, others not.

    I am not trying to deny our intuitive senses and feelings. They are not the first answers at the entrance as I said above, but the last answers at the exit. They are the back door –gatekeepers, not the front door. If we encounter what we can’t understand, what we don’t know, we use our feelings. We irresponsibly turn to our five senses. But the senses themselves, suddenly trusted with the serious situation, also cannot be sure of their judgment. They judge reluctantly. This is what we always do in our daily life. But, this usage of senses and feelings is not right, especially in aesthetic appreciation, though this is the way mediocre critics always treat with new art.

    Senses and Feelings have a yearning for norms to apply their intuitive power efficiently and correctly to actual objects. They want logic and they like to be trained by logic. They themselves know well that they can feel and sense the best on that condition. Once they are given and understand the logic of the situation, they turn into determined judges who decide decisively, without any delay, whether the logic is correctly used there and has an effect on our mind as an aesthetic expression, in other words, whether it is beautiful or not. In real artwork languages and logics used there are very complicated and we often cannot explain them at least with words. This is where senses and feelings must be ushered in. In a sense, as contrary to the public belief, feelings on this mission are more intellectual than our intelligence. They can discern what is beautiful in a flash, while our brain would take 100 years and still could not have found any right answers to it until then.

    I paint not for representing the outer world or the inner world, by giving free rein to my feelings or by imitating the real world, but for aesthetic languages and logics as I mentioned above. Look at my artworks. They are each different in their styles. To me, styles are something like clothes, and I put them on my work at the last stage, only after have I finished in my mind the essential part of the work. Through artworks, I want to show that logics once established can also be improved, or rather must be, or furthermore must be abandoned to proceed to the next step which it is necessary to take for the standards of beauty of out time to be pulled up for the future. Seeing this phase in a different point of view, once we recognize a new logic, we are ready to understand and accept the next newer logic, the next beauty. This is an inevitable process for every one of us, and this is why all the people enjoy classics in impressionism, for example, and at the same time they get bored when they see works newly painted in that way. They even hate them. We are like children, with a strong will for learning, listening carefully to whatever teachers will say. We all know what we have already learned is important, that we have a deep respect for it and we can go forward only with its help. But we want to learn the more, the more deeply we love the present knowledge we have. What we once acquired is what we need no more, because we find them not outside but inside ourselves. We digested them. We love them because they are already part of ourselves. So if our teacher only repeats what we have already learned without any scheme, we as a child see through him, get irritated, and finally hate him.

    In the realm of beauty also, we cannot and don’t want to go backward again like these curious children. Beauty is beauty so long as it gets over its former beauty and is perpetually being reborn. Modern art is meaningless if it forgets to renew itself and expand and improve logics in art. But people might say not a few contemporary artists are terribly new, because they cannot understand them a bit! You are right. They are hard to understand. They are new in a sense that its freshness is soon to get old and tasteless. They are con- and temporary- artists! But don’t blame them for their innocent crime. They don’t know what they are doing. They are like a child who speaks a language whose grammar he or she doesn’t know. Some artists are original and seem to understand the meaning of art. But most of them are also criminals who are in the state of deadly sin. They tend to cling to one single style too often. They paint everyday the same paintings and the same themes. History repeats itself, Beauty doesn’t. They might once have been great, but once they begin to imitate themselves, what they create becomes not an artwork, but a tiny little history.

    New art can only be possible by those who expand the boundary of existing logics, and who can destroy them if necessary, of course, with deliberation, not by those who call themselves artists and scatter colors and forms and their feelings like a three-year-old child.

    As in chemistry certain elements long for the states of noble gases, artists dream of immortality, or they should if they are an artist at all. Immortality is like an abyss. When ordinary, ineligible artists come nearer to and look deep into it, they are seized with grave fear, turn their faces and run away from it never to return. All they can do is to look down.

    Immortality is also infinity. It can be enjoyed fully only by those artists who can look up and who have the ultimate ability to fly high.

    Watch the video: The Seven Gods of Fortune Assemble!Ōshū Sendai Shichifukujin Exhibit (January 2022).