Every once in a while, Japan so wildly exceeds expectations, it’s hard to put it into words, so I’ll just show you pictures of last night’s Oeshiki Ikegami festival instead.
And just for fun, here are the eleven strangest shrines in Tokyo, with all the inside scoop on the resident gods’ superpowers
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had
3 thoughts on “Festival Of 10,000 Lanterns”
Sorry I missed that one! Where is Ikegami? In all these years I’ve never heard of that festival.
I’ve meant to go to this festival for a few years, but I had no idea it was so huge! It might be the biggest festival I’ve ever been to. Ikegami Honmon-ji is right between Ikegami and Nishi-magome stations. It’s the temple where Nichiren died, so this Oeshiki festival is supposed to be the most spectacular in Japan. I’d never been to this temple before, but I’m planning to go back in the daytime because it looks spectacular. I put up directions and a map on my website (http://jonellepatrick.com/directions-to-all-destinations/ikegami/), but you can probably find it faster on your phone by searching Ikegami.
The festival celebrates the death of the saint Nichiren who didn’t want his followers to be sad and gloomy when he died. So they turned it into a giant party. It was the 733rd such event at this temple. The lanterns are called Mando and the pikes are called Matoi (the same as the ones used by the firefighters). The buses are actually not for detainees but the same busses that the police use to get there. There are so many police officers that they bus them in from all over Kanto. Each group arrives with their captains and sergeants and even have banners to orient themselves, almost like a mediaeval army! The reason for the light is that they want to keep the base of the stairs well lit in case of accidents or falling equipment. Without the lights there are also a lot of confusion there as people pile up in front of the stairs. There are actually three other entrances to the temple but one of them is for exiting crowds only, and the other two are well hidden. If you really want to prepare you should go there on a ordinary weekday and scout the terrains! Once you know the hidden back routes you will be able to move around much faster. (^-^)