Thursday, November 11, 2010

the Buddhist O-Eshiki Festival

On October 12 we visited the O-Eshiki festival at the Ikegami Honmon-Ji (Ji = temple) in the southern part of Tokyo. The festival commemorates the buddhistic monk Saint Nichiren, who passed away on October 13, 1282. Climax of the festival is on the night of 12th. It attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators every year. Here I want to give you my impressions of the festival that was quite awesome.

We started at Ikegami - station and went to the temple by foot, about 700 meters. Just when we left the station, we were full in action. It seems that the festival is not only in a single street but it is in large area around the temple. We saw many cool stuff on our way, like Mandos:

Mandos are the main attraction on the Festival. Mando means literally "10,000 laterns". They are something like huge umbrellas, sometimes about 5 meter in height. Rows of articifial cherry blossoms are hung from the top and in the middle is a pagoda, which is lighted inside and shows scences of the live of Saint Nichiren. At the height of the Festival in the night of October 12, long lines of Mandos proceed to the temple. They are accompanied by drums and Matoi. Matois are a kind of standards. They were used by firemen to alarm people of a close fire in Edo-Period (1603-1868)   Here is a video of the spectacle:

On the video, you can see the drums and Matois, that accompany each Mando (The people who swing the standards, just in the beginning of the video). Some of the Mandos are transported on small carts with power supply but there were also Mandos which were carried by one man. By the way, how do you like the "Jedi-Police" ;).

 We followed the procession to the Honmon-Ji. There were many food stores on our way...and others.

Fish has many essential nutriens and is very healthy. And it's おいしい (delicious), too

いか ika (cuttlefish) is not a fish but a cephalopod. However, it is delicious, too. Particularly with 照り焼き (Teriyaki-Sauce).

I could not resist to buy one.

Food is not the only thing they sell... Weapons on a religious festival is something that doesn't figure for me. However, Japanese have no problem with it, so why not.
海苔 nori (seaweed) is another famous ingredient in the Japanese kitchen. We know it in a dried form as a part of sushi.

Kebab is not typical Japanese food, of course. However, it is popular by the youth. You can find it in Akihabara 
 (electronic city), for example. Or on this festival.

Finally, we reached the temple. It is on a small hill, so everybody had to climp up some steps, including the Mandos.

 I took this picture on the steps to the temple. As you can see, it was very crowded. On the left side you can see a Mando.

Here are some pictures and a video from the courtyard of Honmon-temple.

 To enter the temple area, you have to pass a gate with large sentry statues.
the Mando carriers prayed in front of the temple.


Last but not least some impressions from inside the temple:

the second picture shows the large "lustre" at the ceiling

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