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



Ocean Day


Ocean Day (umi no hi)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Late Summer
***** Category: Observance


umi no hi 海の日(うみのひ) Ocean Day, Marine Day, Sea Day
umi no kinenbi 海の記念日 (うみのきねんび) Marine Memorial Day (until 1996).

National Holiday, the third monday in July.

(It used to be July 21, but has been re-defined in 2003. Now is one of the "Happy Monday Holidays.)

Since 1996, it is the 14th official National Holiday 国民の祝日.
It is a secular holiday with no special rituals to it.
Many families take the chance to spend a long weekend on a beach.

CLICK for original LINK ... blog.goo.ne.jp

On this day we should show our greatfulness to the sea and the ocean around Japan. Japan has more than 1000 beaches along its coastline.
It should also remind us of the Marine and remember the Emperor Meiji on his trip to Hokkaido, when he returned to Yokohama on a training vessel on n July 20, 1876.

Thanks to the Happy Monday System !
ハッピーマンデー制度, Happii Mandee Seido

CLICK for more photos

The Chinese characters 海の日 can also signify
the sun over the ocean.


Worldwide use

Tag des Meeres

Things found on the way


tampopo no katasa ya umi no hi mo ichirin

a dandelion blossom
so hard ! on Marine Day
one blossom

or (more probable)

a dandelion blossom
so hard! the sun over the sea
also one circle

Nakamura Kusatao 中村草田男


umi no hi ya ryooyoojo ni wa kingyo ike

Marine Day -
at the rehabilitation center
there is a goldfish pond

Murakoshi Kaseki 村越化石
Tr. Gabi Greve
source : 海の日 69句

source : 日本海 108句

source : 太平洋  66句


Ocean bottom
holds all kinds of things
best left there

Barbara Casterline
(Nagoya, Japan)

Barbara Casterline wrote her haiku in celebration of umi no hi (Marine Day).
source : Asahi com. 2004


Indian ocean--
the smell of salty water hits
our nostrils

Caleb Mutua, Kenya

Related words

The simple use of words like SEA, OCEAN, THE ATLANTIC, THE PACIFIC and so on are not kigo but topics for haiku.

***** . . . . . SEAFOOD SAIJIKI

***** Beach Worldwide. Surfing.



Enma, King of Hell

. Heaven 極楽 gokuraku and Hell 地獄 jigoku .

Enma, Emma, the King of Hell

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: See below.
***** Category: Observation


Emma (Enma ten, Enma Oo) 閻魔天、閻魔王

Sanskrit : Yama or Yama-raja.
King of the Underworld; chief judge in the afterlife; when a person dies, s/he must appear before Enma (and also before other judges), who decides whether the person is good or bad; the person is then sent to the most appropriate afterworld; among the judges of hell, Enma is the most important.
Read Mark Schumacher

- reference source : Bando Kannon 20 第二十番 獨鈷山西明寺 -

. Laughing Enma at 西明寺 Saimyo-Ji, Mashiko .

Click HERE for more photos !


CLICK for more !

Proverbs with Enma !

"If you lie, Lord Enma will pull out your tongue."
A superstition often told to scare children into telling the truth.

"When borrowing, the face of a Jizo;
when repaying (a loan), the face of Enma.
This alludes to changes in people's behaviour for selfish reasons depending on their circumstances.


His regular memorial day is the 16th of each month.

In January and July, Emma (Enma, Ema) is out on a holiday (Emma saijitsu 閻魔賽日(えんま さいじつ) and the lid to the chauldron of hell was closed 地獄の釜の蓋が開く日, so these two days are best to visit a temple where Emma is enshrined (Emmadoo 閻魔堂).

During the Edo period, this day was also called yabu-iri 籔入り, a day when the servants and wifes of workers at shops and stores had a day off to visit their families and the local Ema temples.

I used to practise Japanese Archery at the small Enma-Doo Hall in the compounds of Temple Engaku-Ji in Kita Kamakura. We had to greet King Enma before starting the pracsise and were sure he would supervise everything we did. This gave the daily practise an extra bit of severity.

Gabi Greve

More about the Enma Do Hall 閻魔堂 and Temple in Kamakura
Enno-Ji 円応寺
Ennoji temple: The King of Hell

Click HERE for photos of Enma Halls (Enma doo 閻魔堂) !


Kigo for Early Summer

. Enmadoo dainenbutsu 閻魔堂大念仏 (えんまどうだいねんぶつ)
Amida prayer nenbutsu at the temple hall Enmado

Enmadoo kyoogen 閻魔堂狂言(えんまどうきょうげん)
senbon dainenbutsu 千本大念仏(せんぼんだいねんぶつ) 

Kigo for Late Summer

Visiting an Enma Temple, July 16
..... Enma mairi 閻魔参 えんままいり

..... Enma Moode 閻魔詣(えんまもうで)
Visiting the 10 Kings of Hell, juuoo moode 十王詣(じゅうおうもうで)

Great day off, dai sainichi 大斎日(だいさいにち, だいさいじつ)、
..... Enma no saijitsu 閻魔の斎日(えんまのさいじつ)

King of Hell, En oo 閻王(えんおう)


Kigo for the New Year

First visit to an Enma Temple, January 16
..... Hatsu Enma 初閻魔 はつえんま

CLICK for more photos
Enma mairi 閻魔詣(えんままいり)
Day off, sainichi 斎日(さいにち)
..... yabu iri

First visit to the 10 kings of hell,
juuoo mairi 十王詣(じゅうおうまいり)

. Juu Oo 十王, Juo, Ju-O - 10 Ten Kings of Hell .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

A scene of the Japanese Hell
Weeping Fudo . Naki Fudo 泣き不動

. Datsueba 奪衣婆 or 脱衣婆
the Old Hag of Hell

External LINK
with many photos to look at


Kobayashi Issa wrote some haiku about Hell

sainichi mo saba no jigoku wa nari ni keri

even a fast day
a hell of worldliness

emma-oo mo me o mukidashite sakura kana

even Emma
hell's king, gawks...
cherry blossoms!

jigoku e no kaki ni kakarite naku hibari

in the hell painting
perched on a fence...
a lark sings

Hell Haiku by Issa
Tr. David Lanoue


En-Oo no kuchi ya botan o hakan to su
Enma-Ô no kuchi ya botan o hakan to su

the mouth of
the king of hell - a peony
ready to be spat out

This haiku has the cut marker YA in the middle of line 2.

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .

yama's mouth!
it's about to spit out
a peony

King Emma, or Yama, is a terrifying Deity in charge of Hades. Unlike "our" Devil, he is not evil. Rather than tempting men to do bad, he judges them for their sins and leads the demon brigades applying the punishment deserved. The inside of his mouth is always painted bright vermilion and his tongue curled up like it is ready to lash-out (or simply to reveal that his demonic muscularity extends even within) in fury. That was my naïve impression, but, actually, pain might be a be a better word for it, as he must himself endure a mouthful of molten copper three times a day because torturing people is bad even though he does it for the best of reasons: to discourage us from sinning and for justice.
(Think about it, Christ only got crucified once.

This Emma endures worse every day for our sake. Now that, Mel Gibson, is passion!) There is debate whether this famous ku is about the statue, found at many Buddhist temples, or the flower. Grammar favors the former, but I would argue that Buson suddenly imagined Emma's mouth while gazing at a red peony.

That is to say, the flower is the subject though the poem does not make it so. Because Buson prefaces it with a phrase about Buddha's writhing tongue like a red lotus being spit out (Japanese religious folk-lore is full of sutra-related tongue-sightings I may relate when this is expanded into a book), I suspect symbolic significance, too, but none of the Japanese annotations I have seen ever mention any!
source : Robin D. Gill

The King of Hell’s mouth:
peony petals ready
to be spat out.

Tr. Dave Bonta

Emma O's mouth! See!
From which he is about to spit
a peony!

Tr. H. G. Henderson


En oo no me ni zukazuka to hairikomu

carefully, carefully
walking within sight of
the eyes of Emma

(Tr. Gabi Greve)

Matsuzawa Akira 松澤昭


practising archery -
the watchfull eyes of
King Enma again

Gabi Greve, 1980, Kamakura

***** Target (mato) Including Bow, Arrow, Japanese Archery.


© Saitama City Kyoiku Iin Kai

Enma at Temple Chooden-Ji. Made in 1698.

Related words

***** . YOMI 黄泉 "the yellow springs"
die Gelben Quellen der Totenwelt
meido 冥途 the Netherworld

***** First Ceremonies of the Year

***** Servant's holiday (yabu iri) fasting day (sainichi)


Great King Enma 閻魔大王
Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳


- quote
Genkaku-ji 源覚寺
Genkaku-ji was built in 1624. Soon afterwards a wooden statue of the god of hell, Enma-ō (閻魔王), was found in a nearby pond. It was placed in the temple and largely ignored, but then people started noticing an old woman who visited every day with an offering of konnyaku.

"Why are you giving konnyaku to Enma?" was the perfectly reasonable question everybody asked.

She told them that her eyes had become weak and all medicines had failed, so she asked Enma for help. One day, as she was praying before the statue, he said to her, "I will gouge out one eye and give it to you." She looked up and saw that one of his eyes was gone, and blood was running from the empty socket. When she glanced around her, she realized that she could see everything clearly.

She wanted to thank Enma, but she was so poor that she had nothing to give him. She decided to stop eating her favourite food, konnyaku, and offer that to him instead. To this day you can buy konnyaku at the temple and ask the god of hell for protection against eye disease.

Enma's statue was probably carved in the Kamakura period (1185–1333).
- snip -
The temple is also known as Konnyaku Enma 蒟蒻閻魔,
and the street crossing in front of the temple is Konnyaku Enma Mae ("mae" means in front of).
- source : rurousha.blogspot.jpx

- Homepage of the temple - Tokyo 東京都文京区
- source : www.genkakuji.or.jp

. WKD : Devil's-tongue (konnyaku 蒟蒻) .
Amorphophallus rivieri

. me 眼 / 目 - Amulets for Eye Disease .


Emmaten (Yama-deva)

Aus der indoiranischen Gottheit eines Höllenkönigs (Dharmaraaja, Emmaoo) wird er über die chinesische Variante einer taoistischen Gottheit zur esoterischen Gottheit eines Höllenfürsten bzw. Schützers der Religion (Dharmapaala, Emmaten).
Auch König der Gleichheit (Byoodoooo Byodo-O) genannt.
Höllenfürst Emmaten (Enma, Enra). Nummer 5 der 10 Höllenkönige.

Einziger der 10 Höllenkönige, der eigenständig verehrt wird. Bei 10 Figuren ist seine die größte.
Richtet am 35. Todestag über die Menschen, siehe 13 Buddhas der Totenrituale. Er ist eine Gottheit voller Mitleid und vergibt oft den bereuenden Sündern, aber am 35. Tag nach dem Tode ist meist kein intakter Körper mehr vorhanden, in den die erlöste Seele eingehen könnte.

Häufig in einer eigenen Halle (Emmadoo 閻魔堂) untergebracht. Im 4. Höllenbezirk gibt es eine große Waage zum Wiegen der Sünden des Verstorbenen (goo no hakari). Eine Darstellung davon findet sich oft in der Emmadoo-Halle. Im Mandala der beiden Welten sitzt er im Süden der äußeren Abteilung.
Er ist eine Inkarnation des Fudo Myo-O bzw. des Jizoo Bosatsu.

Wenn man zu Lebzeiten den Jizoo Bosatsu regelmäßig verehrt hat, wird die Seele in der Hölle von Emmaten sicher wiedererkannt und man ist einer schnelleren Beförderung ins Paradies sicher.

Im Tempel Taisooji 太宗寺 in Shinjuku in Tookyoo steht vor der Emmadoo-Halle die Figur eines kinderfressenden Emma, der ein ungehorsames Kind einfach auffraß und der Gürtel seines Kimonos hängt noch aus dem Mund des Emma. Auch "Emma mit dem Gürtel aus dem Mund" (Tsukehimo Emma つけひも閻魔) genannt. Bis zum Beginn der Edo-Zeit wurden böse Kinder gewarnt: "Wenn Du noch einmal lügst, wird Emma Deine Zunge herausreißen!".
CLICK for more photos

This Enma would eat childred who did not listen to their parents and have a string of their kimono belt hang out of his mouth. His name was "Enma with a belt hanging out of his mouth".

Menschliche Gestalt mit zwei Armen und furchterregendem Gesichtsausdruck. Auf der Brust einen Mond und eine Sonne bzw. das Rad der Lehre. Kleidung eines chinesischen Richters. In der rechten Hand ein Holzszepter (Zeremonialszepter) (shaku), oft mit einem oder zwei Menschenschädeln. Dabei handelt es sich um die Köpfe der Gottheiten Taizan Fukunoo und Kokuan Tennyo.

Reitet manchmal auf einem Wasserbüffel.

Ihm zur Seite steht oft die Schreiber-Gottheit "Gushooshin", der alle Taten der Menschen aufschreibt und registriert sowie "Datsueba" , eine furchterregende Alte, die am Grenzfluss Sanzu (sanzu no kawa) die Kleidung der Verstorbenen in Empfang nimmt.

Buddhastatuen ... Who is Who
Buddhistische Kultgegenstände Japans


- #enma #emma #kingofhell -