Sending back God and fortune dolls to the sky: 2 (San-ku-ro/三九郎, Matsumoto/松本市)

At the night of January 10th this year, San-ku-ro (三九郎) festival had held at a temple called Toku-un-ji temple (徳運寺).

High tower had burned here, using a fire which the priest of the temple had brought.

The priest passed the fire to few men, and they took to the tower.

The tower is built at rice filed, far from the houses, so that fire won't reach them.
The men walk through the field.

As the fire lit to the tower, the smoke started to raise.

In a moment, the fire came out, and become like a pillar.

The fire moves like an animal, and I thought them both beautiful, and little scary.

The fire went high up the sky.
I thought this fire's shape was like a bird or dragon.
The fortune dolls and God maybe riding it.

People will buy new fortune dolls and makes new wishes.
After watching the fire, I went to the temple and made a wish.
The wish that me and my family can live peacefully and healthy this year.

At temples in Japan, there are pods burns incense at the entrance.
It is said that if you bask the smoke, you can be healthy and not get injured or sick.

In the main building, a lot of people were visiting and praying.

In the way home, I saw many families smiles in their faces.
I really wish the peace will come to the world this year.

Thank you for reading!
Have a nice weekend!


Sending back God and fortune dolls to the sky: 1 (San-ku-ro/三九郎, Matsumoto/松本市)

At January 10th of this year, a festival called "San-ku-ro (三九郎)" had held in Mtasumoto city.
It is a festival which burns New Year's decorations and fortune dolls called "Daruma (達磨)".

Before burned, I saw the towers like these every where at riverside in Matsumoto city.

Daruma is a doll of ancient Buddhist who came from India.
His name is "Bodhidharma (菩提達磨)".
He born in India at end of 5th century and went to China.

He was the originator of the "Zen (禅)", the famous religion of Buddhism.

Before buying Daruma, eyes are not drawn yet.

When we buy them, we draw one eye wishing something.
After the wish came true, we will draw other eye.
Even the wish comes true or not, the dolls will be burned at this day and sent to the sky.

This is one of our way to wish something to god.

At the temple in the mountain near Matsumoto city, large and high tower than others.
The temple's name is "Toku-un-ji temple (徳運寺)".

An old woman was walking near the tower.
You can understand the height of the tower comparing to her.

At the night, this tower was burned by the fire which monk had lighted.

I have little more pictures taken this temple, so I will introduce them later.

Thank you for reading!
Have a nice weekend!!


Thanks giving festival in shrine (Takemizuwake-shrine/武水別神社)

Have you ever heard of Thanks giving festival in Japan?

At the end of November and beginning of December, there are Thanks giving festival held at shrines in Japan. It is called "Kinen-sai (祈念祭)", which means "Festival which prays for harvest", and "Niiname-sai (新嘗祭)", which means "Festival to thank god for the harvest".

In the beginning of December last year, I went to shrine named Takemizuwake-shrine in Chikuma city, Nagano prefecture.

This shrine was built 1150 years ago.
As the fire occur in year 1860, the most building left now is built about 150 years ago.

Thanks giving festival was started more than 400 years ago in this shrine.
5 leaders proceeds the festival every year.

In this shrine, old note books called "Go tou chou (御頭帳)" had taken over since year 1592, and whole leader's names are written in them.

The men wearing white clothes are the leaders.
Their names are also written in the notes.

At the beginning  of the festival, the leaders starts walking from quite far place from the shrine.
People are waiting the leaders go through, with burning fire along the street.

Something like a pushing cart came as a top of the line.
On the wood, the word "Ouma-jisrushi (御馬印)" written.
I have searched in the Internet, and knew that the famous General in Japan, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (豊臣秀吉) had also used when he shows his power at the war field.

After the cart, the people with flags came.

After the people with flags, the leaders came.

Going through the gate, called "Tori-i (鳥居)" in Japan, they went inside of the shrine.

This gate was quite large, felt like as same height as forth or fifth floor building.

Walking through the snack shops, the parade goes on.

Going through the small Tori-i gate, they goes to the main building of the shrine.

Please see the man who walks in front of the leaders.
He holds a box which filled with white things.

The leaders reaches to the main shrine, and passes the box to the priests and prays god.

After the pray of leaders had ended people gets in line, and given the white things which were in the box.

I also got one.

Opened at home and new there were rice and a coin was in the paper wrapping.

To get the harvest, I ate the rice and used the coin.
I have to go the shrine next year, too!

Even after the parade had gone, the festival went on.
People seemed happy.

It's getting so cold and snow storms are coming to Japan in this few days.
I will go outside this weekend and take picture of the city.

Thank you for reading!
Have a nice weeknd!


Lion dance at festival day. (Ame-Ichi festival/飴市)

In January 9th and 10th, a festival called "Ame-ichi" held at Matsumoto every year.
As these days are at end of New Year's holiday, people seems happy and relaxed every year.

To wish this year's health and luck, I visited Yohashira shrine.
Lucky I was, the show was just starting when I reached there.

I could see Lion dance there.

This lion dance is called Shishi-mai (獅子舞), and it is believed that these lions breaks evil spirits.
There were two lions this day.

A man who plays Japanese flute had explained about the dance before show.
There were two lions at this day, and he told us that they are a couple.
One lion is male and the other is female.

If the nose is black, the lion is male.

If the nose is red, the lion is female.

With young man's Japanese flute, the dance and music had started.

Two men manages a lion. One in the head, and one in the body.
At first, the lions were dancing gently and slowly.

Slowly, stands up, and starts dancing.
The music of Japanese flutes and drums also become louder and faster.

It is said that this dance came from India and China.
Design might be quite different, but I agree that they came from Eurasian continent.
I can't tell exactly, but I feel something from them, mixture of the cultures.

Last summer, I've seen the lion dance done by the puppets.
Seeing real lion dance, I knew that their skills are both great.

Looking the picture above again, and I thought that puppets were so small and cute.

Please click here to see the past blog post about puppet.

At last, the lions took off the cloth.

If you got a chance to see the lion dance, let them bit your heads.
It is a charm that evils never comes to you.

Thank you for reading!
Good night!

獅子舞, 飴市, 四柱神社, お祭り, 正月