Oeshiki Festival
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Oeshiki Festival

Date(s) - 11/10/2017 - 13/10/2017
6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Ikegami Honmonji Temple, Tokyo,


Tags:Buddhist, Kuyo, Mando, Nichiren
Website: honmonji.jp

Oeshiki お会式 is a Buddhist festival commemorating the anniversary of Nichiren Shōnin’s death in October, 1282 at Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple. Nichiren Shōnin is one of the most revered Japanese buddhist scholars and priests and for over 732 years the Oeshiki has been celebrated adhering to its long-standing history and tradition with over 300,000 people attending every year.

Oeshiki photoPhoto by OiMax Attribution License

Each year the height of the Oeshiki celebrations are from the 11th to the 13th of October. Although similar Oeshiki rituals are held at temples throughout world, the memorial service held at the Ikegami Honmon Temple is the largest and grandest.

Oeshiki photoPhoto by tenaciousme Attribution License

On the evening of the 12th there is the Mando Kuyo Parade, the highlight of the Oeshiki. The mandō 万灯 are something like a parade float, which are about 5 metres in height. In its structure built in the form of a five-story pagoda with the Odaimoku (Namu Myoho Renge Kyo) or pictures of Nichiren Shōnin’s life depicted on the sides. The mando is lit from the inside and rows of artificial cherry blossoms are hung from the top on an umbrella, forming a cherry tree. It is said that when Nichiren Shōnin passed away the cherry trees came into bloom out of season. Kuyo means to make offerings to the souls of the dead and to pray for their repose.

3,000 followers form rows and chant the prayer of the seven letters of ‘na-mu-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo’ of the Nichiren Sect to the tune of drums and flutes. The parade of one hundred mando lanterns adorned with cherry blossoms down a distance of some 2 kilometers from Ikegami Station to Ikegami Honmon Temple in Tokyo’s southern Ota Ward is amazing. The processions are accompanied by people carrying matoi, which are the renowned poles carried by firemen during the Edo period to rally people together.

お会式 photoPhoto by Zengame Attribution License

On the 13th, during the Rinmetsudoji Hoyo, the head priest of the temple sounds the gong softly and solemnly, just as the gongs had been rung at the very moment of High Priest Nichiren’s nyumetsu, the death of a high priest entering nirvana.

お会式 photoPhoto by Zengame Attribution License

The courtyard of the Ikegami Honmonji temple is illuminated at night, providing a spectacular venue that is decorated with artificial cherry blossoms, which serve as a cultural reminder that life, while short, is extremely beautiful.

お会式 photoPhoto by tenaciousme Attribution License

The mando rite and Rinmetsudoji Hoyo (Buddhist sermon) will be broadcast on the Internet, check the website for streaming locations.

Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple is a short walk from Ikegami Station (Tōkyū Ikegami Line) or Nishi-Magome Station (Toei Asakusa Line).