Ikegami Honmonji O-Eshiki
Over 300,000 worshippers at Buddhist memorial service commemorating the anniversary of High Priest Nichiren's death.
It was some 700 years ago that Nichiren Shonin (High Priest Nichiren, 1222-1282), the founder of the Buddhist Nichiren Sect passed away at the age of 61 here at the Ikegami Honmon Temple. Nichiren left his residence in Mt. Minobusan for the hot springs in the Hitachi area in order to recover from illness, but he stopped short of his destination and died in Ikegami of the former province of Musashi-no-Kuni (present-day Ikegami, Ota-ku, Tokyo). O-eshiki refers to a Buddhist service commemorating a death, which is conducted on October 13th, the anniversary of Nichiren's death. Although similar O-eshiki rituals are held at temples throughout the country, the memorial service held here at the Ikegami Honmon Temple over three days from October 11th to 13th is of the grandest scale.
On the evening of the 12th there is the Mando Kuyo Parade. A mando is a lighting device fixed on a tall pole and held by the handle, while kuyo means to make offerings to the souls of the dead and to pray for their repose. A total of 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 unique tune of drums and flutes which sound like 'ten ten tsuku tsuku.' The parade of one hundred mando lanterns adorned with cherry blossoms down a distance of some 2 kilometers from the environs of Ikegami Station to Ikegami Honmon Temple is extremely impressive. On this day, the precincts of the temple thrive well after midnight with as many as 300,000 worshippers gathering from all over the country.
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.
Address: 1-1-1, Ikegami, Ota-ku, Tokyo
[Walk]About 10 minutes' walk from Ikegami Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line. Or, about 8 minutes' walk from Nishimagome Station on the Toei Subway Asakusa Line.
Place: Ikegami Honmon Temple
Dates: October 11th-13th
City: 1-1-1, Ikegami, Ota-ku, Tokyo