Osorezan Festival


Osorezan Big Festival (Osorezan taisai)

***** Location: Aomori
***** Season: Late summer
***** Category: Observance


Osorezan Taisai 恐山大祭 (おそれざんたいさい)
Great Festival at Mount Osorezan
Osorezan Grand Festival

itako いたこ Itako medium, female shaman
itako ichi いたこ市(いたこいち) Itako market

July 22 to 24

During the main festival in summer, many people come to get in contact with their lost loved ones through the blind Itako shamans.

The Osorezan access is open from May 1st to the end of October.
This region is one of the three most sacred places in Japan,
with Koyasan and Heizan.


I visited Osorezan many years ago.
I will try to tell you more about our encounter with the Itako in my report below.

. The Hot Spring (onsen 温泉) at Osorezan .

Lake Usorisan 宇曽利山湖
. Look at more of my photos !

Pilgrims also come here in autumn

Osorezan Aki Mairi 恐山秋参り.


Mount Osore (恐山, Osorezan)
is a region in the center of remote Shimokita Peninsula of Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

According to popular mythology, Mount Osore (literally "Mount Fear") marks the entrance to Hell, with a small brook running to the neighboring Lake Usorisan that is equated to the Sanzu River, the Japanese equivalent to Styx. The reputation is not surprising, given that the very volcanically-active site is a charred landscape of blasted rock filled with bubbling pits of unearthly hues and noxious fumes.

The Bodai temple (菩提寺, Bodaiji) presides over it all and organizes the area's main event, the twice-yearly Itako Taisai festival. The grand festival is held over a period of five days beginning on July 20. In a ritual called kuchiyose (口寄せ), blind mediums known as itako claim to summon the souls of the dead and deliver messages in their voices.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

People lining up for the kuchiyose.
口寄せ = Geisterbeschwörung,
„Herbeirufung des Mundes“.


Here are more of the details, please read Mark first and then come back:

Sai no Kawara, the Limbo for Children
The Role of Jizo Bosatsu in Saving Lost Souls
Mountain of the Dead, 霊場恐山
source : Mark Schumacher

Some literature

Schattschneider, Ellen. "Buy me a Bride: Death and Exchange in
Northern Japanese Bride Doll Marriage." American Ethnologist 28.4
(2001): 854-80. - Wedding Dolls

"Family resemblances: Memorial Images and the Face of Kinship."
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31.1 (2004): 141-62.

"The Bloodstained Doll: Violence and the Gift in Wartime Japan."
Forthcoming in the Journal of Japanese Studies.

See also "The Mystery of the Mascot Dolls"at


remote sai no kawara in Tohoku

In Shinto mythology
the story goes that between life and death there flows a river.
This river is called Sai no Kawara 賽の河原 (translated it means Sai [Childrens Limbo; Limbo means a region on the border of hell or heaven, serving as the abode after death of unbaptized infants.] Kawara [riverside].
According to Shinto belief, children do not go to heaven or hell, but the souls of the dead babies play on the banks of this river, Sai no Kawara. And one of the things they have to do as their Duty (penance) there, is to stack up pebbles, and build little towers.

However, while doing so, a naughty, horrible devil usually appears who disturbs their playing, breaks their towers up, and scares them. And, it is here where the long sleeves of Jizos robe comes in handy. Because Jizo is the god who protects children, and he does not fail to protect them there on the banks of the Sai no Kawara. So when scared by this devil, they all jump into the sleeve of Jizos robe, where they hide and feel safe and warm. It is said that in the old days, some of the Jizo statues were covered in pebbles from people who stacked the pebbles in front of the Jizo, because it is believed, that for every tower of pebbles you build on earth, you help the souls of the dead children to perform their duty there on the Sai no Kawara.

Wedding Dolls for the Dead

Kokeshi and Infanticide in Japan

. Sai no Kawara, the Limbo for Children .


The female Itako Shamans of Osorezan イタコ

They are a phenomen in themselves during the festival.
I have had one of these itako shamans call up my dead father from Germany. After a long preparation with prayers and incense, she got the contact. But my father talked through the medium, but in the almost non-understandable dialect of Tsugaru. We did not dare interrupt her. After about 30 minutes all was over.
We got the advise to take good care of his grandchildren (we do not have any children), and I should take care to take a cold in the coming winter.

That is me in front of her tent, you can even see the tip of our car.

The itako later told us, she once had foreigners asking for her service, but they interrupted her twice to ask for a translation into normal Japanese ... by the time the spirit had left her and no advise from the other realm was given to them.

It took her a long time of apprenticeship to become an itako, with water ablutions in the middle of the cold Tohoku winter while she was only 12 years old, and studying with the priests at this temple, on how best to soothe the pain of the living, who lost a loved family member. She has a set of "advise" for the most common losses, like father, mother or a child. Also her "advise" through the kuchiyose seance depends on the time between the loss and the visit to her. She has a home on the Tsugaru peninsula where she spends a quiet winter and sits in her tent here in Osorezan during most of the summer, living a frugal life in the temple compound.

The itako play an important role in connecting the dead with their grieving relatives and provide relief by telling them the dead soul wants this or that, which the relatives can provide as an offering in the temple and feel much better afterwards. The provision of brides as wedding dolls for young men, who were lost at sea or during other accidents, is one example of solace for the berieved parents.

Daily Yomiuri: Why are most itako women?
There are various explanations. While male shamans are common in China and Southeast Asia, female shamans are more prevalent in India, North and South Korea, and Japan, where societies are based on patriarchal values. I think shamans tend to be female in societies where women are suppressed or discriminated against as an inferior gender. By associating themselves with the gods, women are able to balance their power with men in such societies.

Japanese used to believe that the gods offered mercy to those in misery, especially Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. She is one of the most commonly believed-in gods among itako. I have seen noseless yuta shamans in Okinawa Prefecture. Such physical defects used to be interpreted as symbolic of supernaturalstigmata.

The oldest reference to female shamans in Japan appears in the Wei Zhi, a Chinese chronicle of the third century. A woman called Himiko, who is described as a shaman, ruled an early Japanese political federation known as Yamatai using a divine power to converse with the gods.
The first reference to female shamans in Japanese writing dates backto the 11th entury.

What religion do itako believe in?
How is the initiation ceremony carried out?
Why haven't itako been respected in the same way as priests?
How can you verify that an itako has really entered a trance?

Daily Yomiuri: Can itako contribute to the well-being of modern people?
Shamanism can help make up for weaknesses of modern culture by providing relief for people in extreme suffering and pain, making fuller use of people's daily lives and keeping society and culture intact. Shamanism fills some of the spaces left open by modern rationalism and science.

Read the details here :
source : Miki Fujii for The Yomiuri Shimbun


イタコ 中村タケ Itako Nakamura Take
She was born in 1932.

This publication "Itako Nakamura Take" consists of two DVDs with subtitles both in Japanese and English, six CDs and detailed explanatory book including the texts of all prayers in Japanese with excerpts in English.
The explanatory book is written by Komoda Haruko 薦田治子 et al. and translation by Kimura Mika.


This publication contains 61 chants and prayers that Nakamura Take chants in the various shamanic rituals, such as praying for the family's safety and prosperity, conjuring the dead and spell casting to cure a disease.
It received the Prize for Excellence, Agency for Cultural Affairs, National Arts Festival, 2013.
- source : www.heibonnotomo.jp


Hotoke-ga-ura 仏が浦

seen from above, on the way down

This is the most western part of the Osorezan Buddhist world, from here the souls take off directly to the Paradise in the West. The rough mountains look like Buddha statues and a huge area is reserved for the dead children.

cliffs like Buddhas

a cave for the final prayer

. More photos in my album .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Zu den mizuko, bzw. den mabiki-ko, den umgebrachten Säuglingen, und ihren roten Lätz­chen habe ich in einem Tempel folgende Er­klärung gehört: Jizō hat gelobt, alle Kinder aus der Vor­hölle zu retten. Weil Kinder noch keine Sünden be­gangen haben, kommen sie nämlich nicht direkt in die Hölle, das wäre ja un­ge­recht. Aber sie müssen am Grenz­fluss warten und während dieser Zeit Steine auf­einander schichten. Das ist ähnlich wie Sisyphos. Sie warten so lange, bis keiner mehr um sie trauert. Die Mutter bindet also eines der Kinder­lätzchen zu einem Jizō und bittet, durch den Geruch des Lätzchens das Kind in der Vorhölle zu identi­fizieren und zum Paradies zu bringen.

Wenn die Mutter früher, in der Edo-Zeit zu lange trauerte, konnte sie nicht genug im Haus und am Feld arbeiten. Daher wurde ihr eine Periode von 7 Tagen nach dem Tod eines Kindes (nicht bei Abtreibung, aber bei mabiki, dem Töten eines weib­lichen Säuglings) ge­gönnt. Danach musste sie die Sachen des Kindes, Lätzchen und Spiel­zeug, bei Jizo „abgeben“ und die Trauerzeit war vorüber, Mutter musste wieder arbeiten gehen! Eine recht diesseitliche Religionsbenutzung.

Um den Iwaki-san in Nordjapan werden verstorbene Kinder zu ihrem 20. Ge­burts­tag verheiratet. Die Tempel verkaufen ca. 50 cm große Puppen von Bräuten oder Bräutigamen, die dann mit dem toten Kind „verheiratet“ werden. Das macht die Eltern froh und die Tempel reich. Es ist er­staun­lich, dort in so einer Halle mit tausenden von Hoch­zeits-Puppen zu stehen! Die Itako-Shamaninnen am Osore-Berg reden den Eltern auch noch manch anderes ein — so werden Tennis­schuhe und Fahr­räder oder Frack und Regen­mantel gespendet, manche Tempel sehen aus wie Altwarenhändler.

Dr. Gabriele Greve
source : www.univie.ac.at

presents for the dead



Related words

***** . Hanayome ningyoo 花嫁人形  bride dolls .
and a famous folk song

. Sanzu no Kawa 三途の川 River Sanzu, on the way to hell .

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Suhotei Yamaguchi


Suhotei Festival (Suppootei matsuri )

***** Location: Yamaguchi
***** Season: Early Autumn
***** Category: Observance


Suppootei Matsuri 数方庭祭 (すっぽうていまつり)
Suhotei Festival

also read
zuootei ずおうてい / suhooden すほうでん / suhootei すほうてい

at the shrine Iminomiya Jinja in Yamaguchi
忌宮神社, 山口県下関市長府宮の内町1-18

August 7 to 13

This is the oldest shrine in the city of Chofu.
Chofu is about 8 km northeast of Shimonoseki.
The shrine was built in 646, when the local government was set up in this region.
The whole region was under the governance of the Mori family of Yamaguchi for a long time to come in the Edo period.

This is the most important and remarkable festival in Chofu town.

Rituals are held every night during the festival in August. The participants balance long bamboo poles of more than 20 meters with attached banners around a large stone (demon stone 鬼石 oni ishi ) in the shrine compound.

source : iminomiya.htm

Accompanying musicians with drums and gongs provide the rythm and sound, while the carriers shout "Wawassei, wawassei" ワワセイ ワワセイ.

This "Jinja" has a long history. It is said that the historic shrine was built around 200 A.D. by the legendary Empress Jingû to commemorate the death of her husband, Emperor Chûai.

Innomiya Jinja hosts a unique festival "Suhôtei Matsuri" which was designated by Yamaguchi Prefecture as intangible cultural property. Every year, between August 7 and 13, local people gather at the shrine to walk around a giant stone with very tall bamboo labrums attached to their body. This year, about 200 people participated the festival (besides a lot of spectators) and the tallest labarums was 30m high, and weighed 100kg...

... the matsuri also dates back to the 2nd century. The curious rite is said to imitate the victory dance after central Japan-based Yamato government's win against allied forces of south Japan-based Kumaso and then eastern Korea-based Silla, which attacked from the air, riding black cloud.
The emperor Chûai played the central role in that war, legend says. People used to use pikes and fauchards, but they were replaced by bamboo at the end of 18th century by order of the feudal lord.
source : kyokuyoshipyard.com

The land of Kumaso 熊襲 today Kumamoto Prefecture.
古代九州西南部 -〈熊曾の国〉

. Kumamoto Prefecture - 熊本県 and haiku .

- quote
... a new post “New Research on the Kumaso, Hayato” in which it says the Austronesian theory of origin for Hayato and Kumaso is wrong. The poster writes that “the Yamato who were genetically linked to the Kumaso and Hayato invaded Kyushu to expand their empire”.
Citing Dr. Ryu Otani’s book “The Kumaso”, we read:
“There is absolutely no evidence, genetically, to show the Kumaso or Hayato were separate in lineage or language from the rest of Shikoku or Honshu. They were simply the indigenous people of Kyushu. Both the Kumaso and Hayato inhabited areas all over the island of Kyushu… The Kumaso were generally highlanders and the Hayato were generally lowland dwelling people. Kumaso and Hayato were brothers of the Yamato.” The blog also says that “Archaeology and testing show a definite link to Hayato and Kumaso being influenced at the same times as the rest of Japan’s archipelago by the Sinic people of China and Korea. … It also shows the Hayato and Kumaso were genetically linked to the rest of Japan, barring the Ainu of Hokkaido who are actually the sole people of Japan that are genetically different from the rest of the Japanese people. (92)

- source : heritageofjapan.wordpress.com


Main festivals at Iminomiya Shrine:
January 15th: Bushasai Festival
March 28th: Sanshu-sai Festival
April 3rd: Island Festival
August 7th-13th: Suhoteisai Festival
November 3rd: Mikka-sumo
December 7th-15th: Oimi-sai Festival

source : www.iminomiya-jinjya.com


source : encoo.fc2web.com

Ema votive tablet for Shichi-Go-San
Festival for Children in November

kootsuu anzen 交通安全ステッカー Amulet for traffic safety

kaiun yakuyoke 開運厄除御守 for good luck
and avoiding evil influence

hada mamori 肌守り amulet to keep on your skin
for protection from evil

MORE amulets from this shrine
source : iminomiya-jinjya.com

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


Festivals of Shimonoseki Town
source : www.city.shimonoseki

Summer Events in Shimonoseki
source : pref.yamaguchi.lg.jp

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Related words

***** . Shichigosan (shichi go san) Seven-Five-Three Festival  

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Atago Shrines

. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .

Atago Shrines in Japan

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


Mount Atago Yama 愛宕山 / 阿多古 is a mountain of about 920 meters in the North-West of Kyoto. It is the location of a shrine and temple in this name.
Atago shrine in Kyoto is the most important one.

There are various mountains, shrines and temples of this name in other parts of Japan, many in Western Japan.

The Atago shrine in Itami, Hyogo, is especially related to Haiku.

Atago Gongen (愛宕権現) is a Japanese kami believed to be the local avatar (Gongen) of Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo Bosatsu.
The cult originated in Shugendō practices on Mount Atago in Kyoto, and Atago Gongen is worshiped as a protector against fire.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Jizoo Gongen 地蔵権現 Jizo Gongen .
from Okayama


. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .


Atago Jinja 愛宕神社  Atago shrines

This one is a Shinto shrine on Mount Atago, Kameoka, to the northwest of Kyoto.
Enshrined is Atago Gongen who protects Kyoto from fire.
Shugendō practices and a place for worship are known from the eighth century.The late-Kamakura period Honden has been designated an Important Cultural Property.

Atago Jinja is the head of nine hundred Atago shrines throughout Japan.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

The mountain is the first to receive the morning sun in Kyoto.


As a shrine dedicated to the deity of fire,
they sell amulets for fire prevention and protection:

hi no yoojin 火迺要慎 "beware of fire"

These amulets are placed in the kitchen and can be found in most homes and kitchens in Kyoto.

The white wild boar 白猪 (shirai, shira-i) is a messenger of the fire deity.
It is celebrated on the forth day of the second month.

More photos and amulets on the Japanese HP of the shrine:
source : kyoto-atago.jp


Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀

In the year 1582 in May, shortly before his coup against Oda Nobunaga, his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide 明智光秀 spent some time at this shrine. He was with a group composing renku, linked verse. The first poem was by Mitsuhide, the second one by a priest from temple Itokuin, Gyooyuu Hooin 行祐法印, the third by the master renku poet Satomura Jooha 里村紹巴 (1525 - 1602).
There were altogether 9 people, composing 100 verse, called the
100 verses from Atago 愛宕百韻 Atago Hyakuin.
The paper with all the verses was offered to the deities in respect.

Here is the famous first poem by Mitsuhide

toki wa ima ame ga shitashiru satsuki kana

the time is now
rain falls now
in the fifth lunar month

(This can be read as a pun:
土岐は今 天が下治る 皐月かな
Toki is the name of the family of Mitsuhide. The meaning could be
"Toki shall now rule the realm under the sky."

Reference : kyoto-atago.jp akechi

. badarai no mitsuhide 馬盥の光秀 .
a famous Kabuki play
- - - badarai, umadarai 馬盥 basin for washing a horse

More about the coup of Mitsuhide at Honnoji
. Wikipedia .


In temple Saikyo-ji 西教寺, there are many tombstones for Akechi Clan people and a monument of a haiku of Matsuo Basho. When Basho stayed in the house of his desciple Yûgen, Basho was well taken care of by Yûgen and by his wife, although Yûgen was very poor and it was very diffucult for him to afford to entertain Basho with descent foods and sake.
Basho recalled the episode of the wife of Akechi Mitsuhide, who sold her hair to buy foods to host a Renga (poetry) party, when they were very poor and were at a loss to entertain people decently with foods.
In gratitude to the kindness of Yûgen's wife, Basho sent the following haiku poem to Yûgen.

月さびよ 明智が妻の咄せむ
tsuki sabiyo Akechi ga tsuma no hanashi sen

Be somber, Moon,
as I will tell you the story
of Akechi's wife

Akechi Mitsuhide ( 1528-1582 ) was a powerful warlord and had a splendid castle that stood in Sakamoto at the foot of Mr. Hiei on the coast of Lake Biwa-ko. He was, however, very poor when he was young.

He attacked his master Oda Nobunaga at the Honnô-ji Temple in 1582, and virtually killed him. He was attacked in return by Hideyoshi. Defeated, and in his way to come back to his, he was killed.

His glorious career ended sadly. The story of Aklechi and his wife in the end was sad and Basho asked the moon to be somber and not be joyfull for the sad story.
source : Sasaki

moon, be lonely -
I want to tell of
Akechi's wife

Tr. Barnhill

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


愛宕神社 Atago shrine in Tokyo
東京都港区愛宕 1-5-3 / Minato ward, Shiba, Atago

It was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 to prevent fires in the city. The shrine is on a small mountain of only 26 meters hight, but it could overlook most of the new Edo city and thus help prevent fires.
The very steep stairs leading to the shrine are also famous, as they represent success in life.
According to legend,
a young samurai, 曲垣平九郎 Magaki Heikuro, dared to ride his horse up the stairs to deliver plum blossoms to the shogun Iemitsu. It took his horse only one minute to get up, but 45 minutes to get down, and the horse was totally exhausted afterwards. The samurai got a great reward and was promoted to a high rank.
. shusse no ishidan 出世の石段 staircase to a good career .

The main deity is
Homusubi no mikoto 火産霊命 / カグツチ / 軻遇突智 Kagutsuchi Deity of Fire
. . . and
Mizuhanome no mikoto 罔象女命(水の神) Deity of Water
Ooyamazumi no mikoto 大山祇命(山の神) Deity of Mountain
Yamato Takeru 日本武尊(武徳の神)Deity of the Samurai
More in the Wikipedia

. Hagoita 羽子板 Battledore, Shuttlecock .
from Atago Shrine, with the zodiac animal for every year

. Kagutsuchi カグツチ /
軻遇突智 Kagu-tsuchi - "incarnation of fire" .

- Homusubi no Mikoto 火産霊命

芝愛宕山 Shiba Atagoyama

Atagoyama 愛宕山 is a district in Tokyo, Minato ward, Shiba

. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .

. Kawase Hasui 川瀬巴水 (1883 - 1957) .

haru n Atagoyama 春のあたご山 Atagoyama in the Spring
東京十二題 12 Scenes of Tokyo


Akibagongen 秋葉権現 and Izuna Atago
Since Akiba Gongen is also believed to have originated in the Mt. Izuna and Togakushi area, the two deities are obviously closely related. Since the Buddhist counterpart (honji or "original essence"; see honji suijaku) of Izuna Gongen is said to be the bodhisattva Jizō (Sk. Ksitigarbha), the cult displays a mutual influence with the Atago cult (which involved an amalgamation with Shōgun Jizō or "Jizō of victory").
As a result, the deities are often referred to by the conjoined name Izuna-Atago.

. Izuna Gongen, Iizuna no Gongen 飯網の権現 .

. Amulet to win a battle - Shogun Jizo .


Kankosai 還幸祭 Festival of Welcoming the Gods

Saga Matsuri 嵯峨祭 Shrine Nonomiya Jinja 野宮神社,
Atago Jinja, Kyoto 愛宕神社(京都市右京区)
Fourth Sunday in May

. Naked Festivals of Japan .

Akutai Matsuri "cursing festival"

Kasama Town, Atago Jinja

. Kisai 奇祭 special festivals .


Hatsu Atago 初愛宕 (はつあたご) First visit to Atago
kigo for the New Year

Ceremony at Atago, Atago no shinji
Messenger from Atago, Atago no tsukai
. . . o-koto no tsukai お事の使(おことのつかい)

The details are here:
. Bishamonten and Atago .


Atago no sennichi moode 愛宕の千日詣
1000 days pilgrimage at Atago

kigo for late summer

The official name is
sennichi tsuuyasai 千日通夜祭 "1000 days in one night".
It lasts from the night of July 21 to the early morning of August 8. People who visit during this time will be protected from fire for 1000 days.
The climb up to the mountain shrine is about 4 km long and lit by torches during the night.
Special buses and trains are run during the night to bring all the visitors.

at 9 in the evening of July 31
yuumikesai 夕御饌祭 "dinner for the deities"
the yamabushi make a purifying bonfire (gomataki ゴマ焚き神事)

at 2 in the morning of August 1
asamikesai 朝御饌祭 "breakfast for the deities"
Dance of the head priest, rituals to appease the fire

Look at some more photos from the shrine:
source : sentimairi4.htm

. WKD : Summer Ceremonies .


Atagobi 愛宕火 (あたごび ) "fire at Atago"

kigo for early autumn

This relates to the Atago shrine at Itami.
On the 24th of the seventh lunar month people put up lanterns and lit candles in rituals for the souls of the departed ancestors during O-Bon. Big torches were also carried around and thrown into the fire.
In the region o Setzu (now Hyogo and Northern Osaka) there were many Atago shrines.
At the Atago mountain in Kyoto it was a custom to throw simple clay dishes (kawarake) from the mountain to make a wish come true. The haiku is a combination of the two events.

Thrown from the 25th station on the way up

Atagobi no kawarake-nage ya Itamizaka

and the dish-throwing ritual -
Itami slope

. Ihara Saikaku, Ibara Saikaku 井原西鶴 .

source : zouhai.com

. . . CLICK here for Photos of dish-throwing !

Throwing hooroku plates from temple Mibudera
. Hooroku Jizo ほうろく地蔵 .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

goma seihai 護摩聖灰 sacred ashes from a Goma fire ritual
. Fukagawa Fudo Do (Fudoo Doo) 深川不動堂 .
Amulets are hung up at the ceiling of the home to prevent fire.

. Musaigai 無災害お守り amulets against fire .

達磨 越谷だるま
. hi no yoojin 火の用心 take care of fire - Daruma .


aki fukaku tomo to noborishi Atagoyama  

autumn deepens -
with a friend I climb up to
Mount Atago

Antoo 安東

. . . . .

枯れ梢 愛宕の山は 下紅葉    
Morikawa 森川

Antoo 安東

Kiyomizu 清水

Tokunaga 徳永

source : kunistok


tonboo no hyakudo mairi ya Atago yama

the dragonfly
on a one-hundred prayers circuit -
Mount Atago

Kubota Toen 久保田兎園
(1722 - 1801)

46 of his haiku are mistakenly attributed to Kobayashi Issa.
source : 久保田兎園 wiki

. Kubota Seifu 久保田成布 .

. "100 prayers circuit" 百度参り hyakudo mairi .

Related words

***** . Fire (kaji 火事) .

***** . Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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. 愛宕権現 伝説 Legends about Atago Gongen .



Heian Matsuri


Heian Festival (Heian matsuri)

***** Location: Kyoto
***** Season: Late Autumn
***** Category: Observance


Heian matsuri 平安祭(へいあんまつり)Heian festival
Jidai matsuri 時代祭 (じだいまつり) "Festival of the Ages"

October 22

The central event in the festival is the Jidai Gyoretsu, a resplendent procession. In the procession, participants wear costumes representing the styles of each historical period starting with 1868 when the capital was transferred from Kyoto to Tokyo and going backward to 794 when the capital was moved to Kyoto.

Led by a gallet fife and drum corps, the sumptuous and gorgeous procession comprises about 2,000 people and extends for about 2 km (1.24 miles). The spectacle also includes the charming junior geisha (maiko) and women dressed in the beautiful kimono of the imperial court. Proceeding along a 4.5km (2.8 miles) route (Miyako-Oji) from the Kyoto Imperial Garden to Heian Shrine, the parade lasts for nearly five hours.
source : web-japan.org


The Heian period (平安時代, Heian jidai)

is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185.[1] The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the Emperor of Japan.
Heian (平安) means "peace and tranquility" in Japanese.
Buddhism began to spread throughout Japan during the Heian period, primarily through two major esoteric sects, Tendai and Shingon.

Although written Chinese (Kanbun) remained the official language of the Heian period imperial court, the introduction and wide use of kana saw a boom in Japanese literature. Despite the establishment of several new literary genres such as the novel and narrative monogatari (物語) and essays, literacy was only common among the court and Buddhist clergy.

The lyrics of the modern Japanese national anthem, Kimi ga Yo, were written in the Heian period, as was The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, one of the first novels ever written. Murasaki Shikibu's contemporary and rival Sei Shōnagon's revealing observations and musings as an attendant in the Empress' court were recorded collectively as The Pillow Book in the 990s, which revealed the quotidian capital lifestyle. The Heian period produced a flowering of poetry including works of Ariwara no Narihira, Ono no Komachi, Izumi Shikibu, Murasaki Shikibu, Saigyō and Fujiwara no Teika.
The famous Japanese poem known as the Iroha (いろは), of uncertain authorship, was also written during the Heian period.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Kyoto holds "Festival of the Ages"
October 22, 2011

A parade of 2,000 people wearing Japanese costumes from various historical periods was held in Kyoto on Sunday.
A crowd of about 50,000 watched the procession along a 4.5-kilometer course from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Heian Shrine.
The Jidai Matsuri is one of the city's 3 biggest festivals. It started in 1895 when Kyoto celebrated the 1,100th anniversary of its founding in the Heian period.
Sunday's parade was led by a military band dressed in the style of the Meiji era in the late 19th century. The next group represented the popular revolutionaries who helped organize the Meiji Restoration in the closing days of the Edo period, which ended in 1867.
At the end of the parade were women in elaborate costumes from the Heian period.

Survivors of the March 11th disaster who are living in Kyoto were invited to watch the parade.
A woman said she had to evacuate her hometown in Fukushima Prefecture because of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, but the beautiful parade made her feel less homesick.
source : NHK news 2011

. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011 .

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Things found on the way

Heian Jinguu 平安神宮 Heian Jingu Shrine

Heian Shrine in Sakyō-ku, Kyoto ...
In late January, a festival celebrates the memory of Emperor Kōmei; and in early April, a festival in honor of Emperor Kammu is a yearly occurrence.[

On October 22, Heian-jingū hosts the Jidai Matsuri, which is one of the most important festivals of Kyoto. The procession of this festival begins at the old Imperial palace, and includes carrying the mikoshi (portable shrines) of Emperors Kanmu and Kōmei to the Heian-jingū.

The Shrine is used for traditional Japanese weddings as well as concerts. It is popular but rare for a modern concert to be held at a historic site like the shrines, but merging modern and old culture in Kyoto has become a trend.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

- - - - - English HP of the Shrine - Heian Jingu Shrine

source : www.heianjingu.or.jp

. Japan - Shrines and Temples .


koshiboso no jidai matsuri no yakko kana

the slender waist
of a court lady -
Festival of the Ages

jidai goto i no kawari-yuku aki no kure

with each period
the robes also change -
end of autumn

And some more by Kusa Wakaba
source : 草若葉

Related words

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. The Heian Period 平安時代 Heian jidai (794 - 1185) .
- Introduction -