Tokyobling's Blog

Kishibojin Oeshiki – Zoshigaya This Weekend

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 18, 2014

If you are in Tokyo this weekend and not interested in the massive Kawagoe festival taking place in Saitama Prefecture just north of Tokyo I recommend visiting the far smaller but almost as crowded Oeshiki ceremony at Kishibojin in Zoshigaya, a 10 minute walk south of Ikebukuro station. Kishibojin temple is one of those religious mysteries of which there are so many in Japan. Even the name is unclear as it changes from different maps and signs, and it is a hybrid Shrine/Temple celebrating Oeshiki which is a distinctly buddhist ceremony a week later than all the other Oeshiki ceremonies, it is officially called a shrine but it has no torii gate but a small Inarijinja. I have visited dozens of times but I still haven’t unravelled this one. More studies needed!

Yesterday when I took these photos was the first evening of the three night event. Tonight and tomorrow will be much bigger with thousands of people taking part and as many onlookers crowding the narrow streets leading up to Kishibojin temple. Like at the Oeshiki in the main Nichiren temple in Ikegami last week, there are lots of matoi dancers as well as the larger mando. It is considered good luck to touch one of the white paper flowers and you can even buy them to decorate your home altar at a small stand inside the temple, but unlike the main ceremony in Ikegami touching them is not encouraged and I have never seen anyone doing it, so it is probably better to ask before reaching out and getting some of that good luck!

Photographing this even it extremely difficult, fast moving, dark and quite introverted this is not a photogenic festival despite all the fantastic things going on! Also, if you are into amezaiku the man at Zoshigaya this weekend is really talented. Also, while visiting the festival you can check out what is probably the oldest kiosk in continuous operation in the world, having started in 1781!
















6 Responses

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  1. sanseilife said, on October 18, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you Tokyobling! I love festivals and have never been to Japan looks like the place for me!


  2. sanseilife said, on October 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Reblogged this on sanseilife and commented:
    Want to go to Japan for a festival?


  3. Karl said, on October 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Wonderful photos! May I ask which camera you use? (Not that this is central to your work in any way, but it would still be interesting to know.)


    • tokyobling said, on October 21, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Hi Karl, thank you for the kind comment. I use several different cameras, but recently and for this post I used a Nikon D3s, usually with only prime lenses since it is often dark when I take it out for a spin. I also use a D700, D90, even a D60 and an iPhone.


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