Temple Kokawa-Dera


Temple Kokawa-Dera

***** Location: Wakayama, Japan
***** Season: Various Temple Festivals
***** Category: Observance


Kokawa-Dera 粉河寺 Kokawa Temple

The name is Kokawa, not Kogawa.
〒649-6531 和歌山県紀の川市粉河2787

Mount Kazaragi san 風猛山
"Strong wind mountain"

This temple is Nr. 3 on the Pilgrimage to 33 Kannon temples in the Kansai area.
It was founded in 770 by Otomo no Kujiko, the son of a hunter in Kishu. His descendants are still in charge of the temple to this day.
One day on his usual hunt in the mountains he passed this area, saw a strong shine in the dark valley and decided to become a monk ... right on the spot. He prayed for seven days and seven nights and carved a statue of Kannon with 1000 arms.

Kokawadera, together with the temple Negoro-ji, was almost as powerful as Koyasan in the area.

There is also a stone memorial of a haiku by Matsuo Basho:

© PHOTO : kannonyama.com With more photos of the temple !

ひとつぬいで うしろにおいぬ ころもがえ
hitotsu nuide ushiro ni oinu koromogae
hitotsu nugite ushiro ni oinu koromogae

ひとつぬきて うしろにおひぬ ころもがえ
hitotsu nukite ushiro ni ohinu koromogae

taking off one garment
I sling it over my shoulder
clothes changing day

source :  haikustones.blogspot.com, Ad Blankestijn

. . . . . Koromogae, kigo

At the temple there are also memorial stones of haiku by
Matsuo Kaitei 松尾塊亭 槐亭
(1732 - 1815)

He was the official haiku master of the Kishu domain, serving the lords from the 8th to the 10th generation. He died in 1815 at the age of 84.

風猛(かざらぎ)の 名に似ぬ里の 小春かな
Kazaragi no na ni ninu sato no koharu kana

Kazaragi san (Kazaraki san) 風猛山 is the name of Kokawa temple.

and a memorial stone by his disciple Yoshida

mizu mo sazo ya shiroki Kokawa no yamazakura


observance kigo for late spring

Kokawabina, Kokawa bina 粉河雛(こかわびな)
hina dolls fro Kokawa

They are made from paper and placed on a bamboo basket to float down the river and take away the impurities of people. This is one of the biggest festivals in the Kishu region of Wakayama.

source and more photos : mama115mama

流し雛大行列 - parade to the river
粉河雛流し - the dolls are floated in the river.

. Hina Doll Festival (hina matsuri 雛祭り) .

. Kishuu bina 紀州雛 hina dolls from Kishu .


observance kigo for late summer

Kokawa Festival, Kokawa Sai 粉河祭 (こかわまつり)
July 26 / 27

This is one of the three big festivals of the Kishu area.
The head priest of the temple is carried around in a palanquin (togyo shiki 渡御式(とぎょしき). This parade is in memory of the child of Ootomo no Kujiko 大伴孔子古(おおとものくじこ) in the year 770. Funanushi 船主(ふなぬし) went all the way up to Northern Japan to fight the enemy.
Small children on horseback join the parade.

CLICK for more photos


observance kigo for early autumn

Offering food and drink to the hungry ghosts
Segaki-E 施餓鬼会(せがきえ)
August 9
People who lost a relative in the past year come here to pray during the O-Bon celebrations.


Showing the Secret Kannon Statue
西国三十三所 結縁御開帳 gokaichoo

one of the famous Owari Kannon 尾張観音

This is a secret statue and it will be shown to the public in 2008 all throughout October.
It has not been shown for 217 years !

source :  www.kokawadera.org


The Legendary Origins of Kokawa-dera Temple
(Kokawadera engi 粉河寺縁起絵巻)

source :  Nara National Museum

The scroll is about 20 meters long and 30 cm wide and shows the story of the hunter turning monk and then carving the Kannon statue. The story continues to tell how this Kannon statue had the power to heal the sick daughter of a rich merchant in Kawachi. After the daughter was healed, the family became strong supporters of the temple to our day.

Resource : Fisher Fine Arts Library Image Collection
Start with Illustration 224.

The sacred song of this temple

父母の恵みも深き粉河寺ほとけの誓い たのもしの身や

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Related words

***** Segaki 施餓鬼 Offering food and drink to the hungry ghosts also
Hungry Ghosts, gaki 餓鬼

***** Bon Festival (o-bon) (05) Japan.

***** Secret Buddha Statues (hibutsu) Japan



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