Dog Day for Pregnancy in Obitoke-dera Temple 帯解寺で安産を祈る、戌の日。

burn 3 sticks of incense.

Life is beautiful

Life is a succession of something new. I got married 2 years ago. We started new and busy life in the first year. Although it was busy, we could enjoy it. In the second year, I accidentally got a disease and fortunately recovered. After that my wife got pregnant. I felt happiness, but she kept feeling bad due to morning sickness for about 2 months. As soon as she got easy, we are supposed to go to a temple for `Inu-no-Hi’. What is it ? Life is like storms.

dog is a symbol of easy delibery

Pray for an easy delivery

What do you imagine about a dog ?  Obedient, wise, speedy and cute something like that. Well then, what is its peculiarity related to birth?  The answer is having an easy delivery and having many babies at once.

‘Inu-no-hi’ means ‘Dog day’. Dog day is the 11th day of a cycle of 12 days called 12-shi(1th:mouse 2th:cow 3th:tiger 4th:rabbit 5th:dragon 6th:snake 7th:horse 8th:sheep 9th:monkey 10th:bird 11th:dog 12th:wild boar) .

The belief that praying for a baby and wearing a maternity belt in Inu-no-hi in the fifth month of pregnancy leads to an easy delivery have been believed.

reception of Obitoke-dera Temple

Obitoke-dera Temple

Foreign tourists seldom visit this temple though it takes about only 10 minutes from JR Nara station by train. However, when it comes to praying for an easy delivery or having baby, it is one of the most famous temples in Japan. The foundation was in 858. Emperor Montoku in Heian period established this temple after he prayed for having baby to Koyasu-kannon which is main Buddha-statue here, and got a boy. When woman of the Imperial Family get pregnant, she is presented a traditional maternity belt and an amulet recently.

We wrote our name, address and the day the baby will be born at the reception and chose a type of maternity belt. Then monks offered a prayer to us with horrible voice, must be magnificent voice, in the main hall facing to Koyasu-kannon statue. During this other monk wrote an incantation on the maternity belt in other room.

maternity belt with incantation stamped

Until removing a belt

After we return home, my wife wore the maternity belt with an incantation stamped.She seemed not to feel well in a wired belt. ‘Obi Toke’ means ‘Belt Removed’ in Japanese. I am impressed that we have strange customs in our country. Hey my baby, what new things do you bring us next time?  First of all, I hope the belt will removed safely.

Obitoke-dera Temple



人生は、新しいこととの出会いの連続だ。2年前に結婚をして、新しく忙しい生活がスタートした1年目。慌ただしかったけれど、それを楽しめた。2年目、突然に僕が病気になり、幸運にも回復。そのあと妻が懐妊。僕は嬉しかった一方、妻は約2ヶ月間つわりで気持ち悪がっていた。体調が良くなったと思ったら、今度は「戌の日」にお寺に行くことになっていた。何なんだそれ? まったく、人生は嵐のようだ。



犬ときいて何を想像しますか? 従順、賢い、すばしっこい、かわいい。そんなところ。では、出産に関して、どんな特徴があると思いますか? 答えは、安産で一度にたくさんの子供を産む、ということだそう。









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Tricky and Holy Animal in Bali and Nara バリの猿、奈良のシカ

sleeping deer in Todaiji-Temple


monkey in Uluwatu-Temple. just has snatched the hair tie and run away.

There are many legendary animals which are considered messengers of gods. But it is unusual that you can see and even touch them for real.

Monkey in Uluwatu-Temple in Bali and deer in Kasuga-Shrine in Nara are two of the rare locations.

Both have been believed holy animals by locals for a long time. And lovely and wild animal roaming closely around you is one of the tips which attract tourists.

But be careful. They often play a trick on you. Deers in Nara love paper so much that you have to keep book or map in your bag. As monkeys in Bali always get excited when they find eyeglasses, cameras and stuffs like that, it is better not to wear them. Actually a monkey who should guard the temple from bad influence has snatched the hair tie from my wife!





Nara Park (including Kasuga-Shrine and





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A Hackberry Tree in Asuka 明日香のエノキの木

The road to our elementary school was a part of a foot path along mountains.There was a big hackberry tree near a bridge.Steps on fallen-leaves of it made sounds like ‘kishi,kishi.’

There was such scene over the kid’s heads  20 years ago as yellow-coloured leaves, moss-covered trunk and branches spread in all directions.

As I felt he turned his face back, I became calm.




It’s near Ishibutai Burial Mound in Asuka.

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The Nara Great Buddha and Japanese 奈良の大仏さまと日本人

“I came to Nara when I was a student for study excursion” It’s always the first voice of Japanese visitors here Nara.In their old memories,they remenber Great Buddha sitting in Todaiji-temple which was established in 8th century. I would like them in this picture to come back someday.


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Peace in front of Guardian in Nara 仁王さん前のピースフルな風景

Peace in front of Guardian in Nara

Kongou-Rikishi-Zou (the statue of guardian )of Great Buddha at Nandai-Mon (the south gate) of Todaiji-Temple.
Kids group interviewed foreign tourists for study of English.

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Equinox,Pray,Lycoris 秋分の日、祈り、彼岸花

Autumn Equinox

We offer flowers to our grave in the day when the sun set into directly west.

The Equinox day is called “Higan-no-Chunichi”and 7 days adding 3 days before and after the Equinox day are called “Higan”. We place boxes of cake and flowers before the family Buddhist altar and go to the grave to clean it up, burn sticks of incense and pray with our hands together.

The word of “Higan(彼岸)”comes from “到彼岸”in Chinese into which is translated “Paramita” in Sanskrit in ancient India. The meaning of “Higan”  in Buddhism is the final ground after attaining enlightenment. A Man can jump from “Shigan”,this site, to “Higan”, the opposite side, through asceticism which is called “Haramitsu”.

This Higan might have been mixed with “Gokuraku-jodo” in Japan.It’s the pure and peaceful world in Jodo Idea which spread throughout ordinary people from Heian
period(794-1191). We instantly whisper like “Ah,Gokuraku Gokuraku” when we take
hotspring.So Gokuraku-jodo does take root in our mind.Then Gokuraku-jodo is
said to be located in west. Eventually we have prayed ancestors in the day when
the sun set into directly west where Higan=Gokuraku-jodo is exists.




彼岸の語源は古代インドのサンスクリット語のparamita (波羅密多/はらみった)の漢訳「到彼岸」。一方仏教における彼岸の意味は、悟りを開いた境地のこと。人は煩悩に満ちた此岸(しがん)から波羅蜜と呼ばれる修行をして彼岸に達するのだという。



I went to our family tomb
in the autumnal equinox Sep.23. Bunches of chrysanthemum, Shikimi leaves and other flowers have been placed by my family yet. I burned sticks of incense, thought my family and pray their happiness and good health thinking of ancestors sleeping in the tomb.

Looking at rice terrace from the cemetery, red lycoris were in bloom there. It’s often called “Higan-bana”which means Higan flower because it comes out just in this season in September. When I was a child, red flowers spreading like spider’s legs scared me. So I cut them desperately by my sword made of bamboo. Stems with no leaves were cut easily
even for a kid. That bad image I had doesn’t seem wrong since lycoris had called “dead man flower” or “hell flower” due to its own poison.

But colonies of lyconis blooming in paths between rice fields were looked beautiful shined by the sun set. Almost gold ear of rice is wealth in our side. Beautiful dead man’s lycoris is a sign post keeping both sides together. If they are, the shining sun is warm spirit of ancestors who are living in the other side, Gokuraku-jodo.






There is a standard of cake as offering of Higan. Bota-mochi in spring and Ohagi in autumn. Though their names are different, they are the same Japanese cakes which soft rice are struck again and again and rolled with much of bean-jam.Bota-mochi and Ohagi were named for Botan,peony, and Hagi,bush-clover which bloom in each season. When I was small, I don’t like it. But now its rice’ salty taste and bean-jam’s sweet taste is lovely.
Even after finishing dinner, I ate 3 Ohagis. Sweets of Gokuraku-jodo is stunning.

MAP  (Rice Terrace in Asuka Village),135.819941&z=14&t=m



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玉置神社 奥の院 玉石社








谷瀬の吊り橋 (十津川村観光協会HPより転載)








十津川温泉 (pictured by maicco)












「街道をゆく 12十津川街道」 司馬遼太郎 朝日文芸文庫





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