Saturday, February 18, 2012

Setsubun-sai at Ishite-ji

A few days ago the annual Setsubun-sai ceremony at Ishite-ji (Buddhist temple) was held so I was there for awhile and took some photos.  It is at the base of a mountain in Matsuyama and I am living on the other side of the mountain so sometimes I take a walk along a narrow mountain road over the mountain and through the forest to go there -- takes about an hour.  I usually don't see another living soul on this little, winding road so I can walk right down the center -- it really isn't wide enough for a full-size car.  Occasionally I will see one or two people or a single small car during the whole hour walk.  For a bit of information about Setsubun-sai you can see this:

And here is some info about Ishite-ji:

Ishite-ji is temple 51 of the 88 famous Buddhist temples on Shikoku.  Many, many people every year make a pilgrimage here to visit all 88.  The pilgrims are called [i]o-henro-san[/i].  I see them all the time because often they are dressed in very distinctive wear.  Even these days some do it all on foot.  I talked to a man in 2009 I met at Zenjibu-ji temple in Kochi-ken and he said that for most people it takes about 5-6 weeks doing it on foot.  Many these days do it by car or even on a tour bus that takes them all around over several days though.  Here is some info about the pilgrimage:

I put 22 photos in the Japan/Japan 9 gallery on my website, but here are just a few random ones.  I moved around while there and took photos of various parts of the ceremony.
Preparing to throw o-mochi out to the waiting crowd:
Throwing the o-mochi:
Starting the bonfire:

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