Demon has come with spring,Yakushi-ji Temple 春と一緒にやってきた鬼。薬師寺の鬼追式

5 demoms with fire

What’s the name of demon in your country? Japanese demon is called ‘Oni’.They  often appear in traditional performances and folktales.In most of stories,as Gods or heroes beaten them and force them to have good mind,people harvest more,live healthier and the world get better.Yakushiji-temple , the world heritage site,have been maintaining the one of such annual event since 12th century.‘Oni Oi Shiki’,means driving away Oni  event,was held at night on April 5 at the end of ‘Hanaeshiki’ which consists of 7 consecutive days with reciting sutra from early morning  by priests and many traditional performances.’Hana’means flower in Japanese.During this event,a lot of artificial flowers such as plum,chrysanthemum and iris are offered in front of the statue of Buddha in Main hall.

 At 8:30 PM,5 Onis lined up at the south gate, with fierce masks and burning torchs.Then they started to walk slowly one by one ,frightenning audience.Screaming voice were heard here and there.After going up the stage which was set in front of Main hall,they beated railings with torchs and swung the torchs raised upon the stage.Once sparks fell over us ,my cloth was burned a bit despite of quick back steps.We were surely excited to the dangerous but beautiful fire.Horrible sound made by drums ,rings and trumpet shell was heard.

 Bishamonten,one of Buddhist gods handles fight,was appeared after Oni’s violence for 20 minutes.Though they did not fight each other,walking around the stage forced Onis to surrender.Then happiness has come and the event has finished.We could bring fragments of torch to my home.Hanging them up the entrance of house may avoid evils.

 Such curious traditional events often take place at temples ,shrines and other places in Nara.Most of them have more than 1,000 years history.You can experience not only old arichtectures but also living lives or prayers in the world heritage sites.

 To visit Yakushiji-temple ,Nishinokyo railway station is the nearest.It takes about 40 minutes from Kyoto or Namba by Kintetsu railway.It was transferred to  the current place from Asuka region ,about 20km south-east,in 718.5 stories pagoda built in 8th century exists.Statues of Buddha which is famous for its beauty design are worth to face.









About kojiyoshimoto

Born in 1979 and grew up in Nara.Working for a city hall in Nara prefecture after 3 years carrier as an editor of design magazine in Tokyo. Hope my posts you inspire to go abroad to Japan!
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