Tokyobling's Blog

First Night – Ikegami Oeshiki Ceremony

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 12, 2013

Last night was the first of the three day long Oeshiki ceremony at Tokyo’s Ikegami Honmonji temple. The history behind this unique and rare buddhist festival is complicated but I did my best to explain it a little in this post from last year. The first night is merely a warm up, lots of people still turn up and the yatai (street vendors) are out in force! Most teams are busy preparing for the coming two days of dancing, chanting and manhandling the huge matoi poles through the streets of Ikegami. I caught one group practicing right next to the pagoda at the temple, but a few youth groups were out to give the coming generation a chance to get some live practice! Some of these matoi poles can be very heavy, I have heard of some that were as heavy as 80kg but no one can handle something like that for more than a few seconds I think. One of the teams had a great trio of wooden toy dogs all lit up and decorated following them around. Very popular with the crowd! The main ceremony takes place tonight and tomorrow night so there’s is still a chance to get down to Ota Ward and enjoy! This festival is actually very dark, the photos make it look all bright and clear but in reality it is much darker than the it looks like based on these photos. You have to go there and see for yourself!















9 Responses

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  1. yoshizen said, on October 12, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Quite few familiar local names. In fact one of them was the one where I came from.
    Still I can’t figure out who those people are ? Nichiren sect was divided to many further sects, and
    those sects are fighting each other hence, in theory the participants of Oeshiki has to be the main sect,
    follower of the Taishaku-ji (Minobu-san) and the Honmon-ji. (No popular Soka-gakkai or Rishyo-kosei-kai)
    —– I wonder is there enough number of followers to form each local group ?
    (But obviously, they are there —– So, I feel “Really” ? !)

    By the way, Mando-float (like in the last 4 photos) used be lit-up by hundreds of light bulb, powered by
    heavy car battery = hence on the wheel. LED has changed the design of them a lot. 🙂


    • tokyobling said, on October 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      The main Nichiren sect is huge. Not the biggest but still, huge. I think there are more than enough. I know many people who are members of this sect and have never even seen an Oeshiki! (^-^) I have seen a few kinds of mando, but never one lit by candles!


  2. amadl said, on October 13, 2013 at 7:45 am

    The Mando-float (thank you, Yoshizen-san) looked spectacular! And are those mini wooden doggies with poLes part of the procession? They’re so cute ^^


    • tokyobling said, on October 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Yes, one of the temple bring them every year, they are very popular with the crowds! (^-^)


  3. Jonelle Patrick said, on October 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Every festival you shoot is more beautiful than the last! Gnashing my teeth that I can’t be in Ota Ward tonight and tomorrow night. The lantern-festooned pagoda alone would make it worthwhile, but those LIT UP FESTIVAL DOGGIE TOYS would be a major score!


    • tokyobling said, on October 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you Jonelle! (^-^) Looking forward to your imminent return though! (^-^)


  4. sachiwritesdaily said, on October 14, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Your photos makes me want to move really soon to Japan! Just wondering though, are you Japanese? Because you write so fluently in English 🙂


    • tokyobling said, on October 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you for the kind comment Sachi! I am not Japanese and neither a native English speaker. I actually really don’t like writing in English, but if I didn’t my photos wouldn’t make much sense and not be very useful at all (^-^;)


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