NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/23


大岩の藤水 Ooiwano-fujimizu Fuji Water of Ooiwa

Jp En

Ooiwasan Nisekiji Temple is famous for its holy water called 'fujimizu' (fuji water), which is believed to cure ailments of the eyes. The temple is in Nakanigawa-gun, Toyama Prefecture.

The 'Etchu-kujiki' records relate a legend from 1702 about a blind farmer who lived in Echigo. One day, he received a divine message from Fudo-Myoo (Vidyaraja, one of Buddhism's Five Kings of the four cardinal directions) telling him to wash his eyes under a 'fuji' tree near a waterfall in Nisekiji Temple. The farmer heeded Fudo-Myoo's words and, immediately after washing his eyes, was able to open them and see again.

To this day at the temple, the spring water that wells out around the statue of Fudo-Myoo (an important cultural property of Japan), has been known as Fujimizu, and is believed to miraculously cure eye diseases.

Also within this temple is the megusuri-no-ki ('eyewash tree'), said to cure presbyopia. Dried megusuri-no-ki for decocting in tea is sold here and has proved popular with visitors.
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博多祇園山笠 Hakata-gion-yamakasa Hakata Gion Yamakasa

Jp En

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is held every July in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka. Legend has it that in 1241, there was a plague in Hakata. To drive it away, Shouichi Kokushi Bennen, the then resident priest at Shouten Temple, rode on a wooden 'segakidana' (rack for carrying the dead) around the city sprinkling holy water everywhere. This became the start of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival.

One theory has it that the shape of the 'segakidana' developed over the years to become what is now known as a 'yamakasa' (the circular festival floats), but this is one theory of many and nobody is sure why the floats have this shape.

The climax of the festival is a race, called 'oiyama' (mountain chasing), between teams of men carrying the floats. Many people from surrounding cities come to see it.

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is one of the three great Gion festivals of Japan, and is also a dedication rite at the Kushida Shrine, acting as a spiritual barrier against evil for the city of Hakata. This gallant traditional event is designated as an Intangible Ethnic Cultural Treasure.
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