DAIHONZAN NARITASAN

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The Beginning of Naritasan

  1. 1

    Towards Kanto with Kancho Daisojo and Fudo Myo-o

    In 939 C.E. a warlord in the Kanto area, Taira no Masakado, claimed to be the new emperor and opposed the Imperial Court, and civil war breaks out in the Kanto area. In a turbulent world, people were forced to live in anxiety and confusion. Kancho Daisojo, who received a prayer order from Emperor Suzaku to pray for the conflict's resolve, departed the capital city of Kyoto with the "Fudo Myo-o" sculptured by Kobo Daishi Kukai, a historical high priest. He headed for Kanto by sea, and arrived on Odaregahama Beach on the Boso Peninsula.

    Towards Kanto with Kancho Daisojo and Fudo Myo (1)
    Towards Kanto with Kancho Daisojo and Fudo Myo (2)
  2. 2

    The rebellion subsided, and Naritasan opens with the temple name of Shinsho-ji

    After arriving on land, he proceeded on foot and took Fudo Myo-o to Narita, where he prayed for an end to the civil war. After a 21-day Ogoma prayer, the rebellion ceased. Peace came to the lands of Kanto.
    As Kancho Daisojo attempted to head back to the capital, Fudo Myo-o became unmovable much like a big stone and proclaimed "I will remain in this land and save its people". The emperor officially gave the temple the name "Shinsho-ji" and Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple was established in the land of Narita.

    The rebellion subsided, and Naritasan opens with the temple name of Shinsho-ji (1)
    The rebellion subsided, and Naritasan opens with the temple name of Shinsho-ji (2)
  3. 3

    Gathering the enormous faith of the people

    During the long history since the opening of the temple, many historical figures such as Minamoto no Yoritomo, who headed the Kamakura Shogunate, Mito Mitsukuni, who served as a deputy general of the Edo Shogunate, and Ninomiya Sontoku who restored more than 600 rural villages, have worshiped Fudo Myo-o.
    In the early Edo period, when Kabuki became popular among the common people, Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro (first generation) was one of the Kabuki actors who worshiped the Naritasan Fudo deity.
    Danjuro, the most popular actor then, performed Fudo Myo-o's play under the name of Narita-ya, and thanks to that the religion of Fudo Myo-o quickly spread.
    The famous noble family of Kabuki, Narita-ya's religion has been inherited in modern times. A worshiping visit to the Fudo Myo-o of Naritasan was always made whenever there was a succession of the name Danjuro. Moreover, the depth of his faith can be seen by the offerings he left in the temple grounds.

Kancho Daisojo

Kancho Daisojo

Kancho Daisojo is the grandson of Emperor Uta. Born in 916 C.E. as the second child of Prince Atsumi, he left his house at the age of 11.
He served as the leader of Ninna-ji Temple, Todai-ji Temple and Sai-ji Temple, and was also the head of To-ji Temple. In 986 C.E., he became the third Buddhist priest of the Shingon sect in Japan, following Gyoki Bosatsu and Jie Daishi Ryogen.
Kancho Daisojo is a renowned singer in the traditional music "Shomyo" (the chanting of Buddhist hymns) which sings passages in sections, and is believed to be the restorator of the Tomitsu Shomyo.

Fudo Deity

Naritasan's Fudo Deity

Fudo Myo-o, where the soul of Kobo Daishi Kukai has been embodied

Fudo Myo-o of Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple is a statue where the soul of Kobo Daishi has been embodied with a three worships per carving.

At Naritasan, we have received the blessing of Fudo Myo-o, and have prayed for the fulfillment of your wishes for more than a millennium without extinguishing the Ogoma prayer's fire.

In Ogoma, monk's prayers and yours are united, so that you can have benefit in the current life, as your wishes are delivered to the Fudo deity and fulfilled. Even now Naritasan's Fudo Myo-o gathers many worshipers from all over the country.

During your visit you can enter the Daihondo Hall and worship the Fudo deity.

Naritasan and Kabuki

Naritasan and Kabuki

Ichikawa Danjuro and Naritasan's Fudo Myo-o

  • 1. First generation & Second generation. "The start of Narita-ya"

    First generation・second generation「The start of Naritaya」

    Ichikawa Danjuro was the first Kabuki actor to introduce Aragoto (combat plays) expressed by "Shibaraku" and "Narukami". He was a popular leading figure in Edo Kabuki, but he was not blessed with a successor, leading him to pray for the birth of a child to the Fudo Myo-o of Naritasan. As a result of that, he was miraculously awarded with the son he desired.
    In order to repay the Fudo Myo-o, the first generation Danjuro starred together with his son in the play “Tsuwamono Kongen Soga” in Nakamura-za theatre. This stage was the first Kabuki play themed after Fudo Myo-o, where the main actor expresses gratitude for the fulfillment of his prayer to the deity to have a son. The play became a big hit so Danjuro made big sacred mirror as an offering to Naritasan. Thanks to their co-acting in the play, the Ichikawa family was given the official title "Narita-ya", which they began using from there on.

    During the same time the Buddhist image was revealed in Naritasan, the first and second generation Danjuro's Fudo Myo-o-themed play "Naritasan Bunshin Fudo (Fudo Child)" gained huge popularity. It was the moment that Danjuro Ichikawa's deep reliance on Naritasan and the miracle of the Fudo Myo-o became known throughout the Edo period.
    The second generation Danjuro, born with by the miracle of the Fudo, was called "Narita Fudo's heavenly child", and established himself as the child role kabuki actor with his first play when he was 10 years old. After his father passed away, he inherits the name Danjuro at 17. He was praised for performing wonderfully, from combat plays Aragoto to the soft-style role Sukeroku of Wagoto.
    Not falling back of his father, Danjuro the 2nd also had a strong belief in the Fudo religion and upon inheriting his father's name; he started at fasting training at Naritasan and prayed for an improvement in his acting ability.
    Also, it was reported several times that he prayed for a cure to the Fudo deity when he was had fallen ill and recovered miraculously as a result.

  • 2. The 7th & 8th Generation. "Sansho no Gakudo Hall"

    7th ・8th generation「Sansho no Gakudo hall」

    Danjuro the 7th was an extremely successful and popular actor.
    He established the famous Kabuki Juhachiban (18 Grand Plays of Kabuki), and although he had many children, he had no luck in having a boy, so he prayed to the Fudo deity for a successor. That wish was granted instantly and his long awaited successor was born. They say he was so happy that he wanted to show off the newborn baby at the stage the next month. Danjuro the 8th also inherited the name Danjuro at the age of 10 like his father. He was the last Danjuro in Edo, and very popular with his good looks.

    The Tenpo Reforms banned the luxurious life of Danjuro the 7th, and he left Edo for eight years after being punished with exile. Danjuro the 8th prayed for his father's release with all his heart to the Fudo deity and finally his Father's exile was reverted. This father-and-son bond was praised by even people in far-away regions and leads to an even bigger popularity of Danjuro the 8th.

    Danjuro the 7th donated the large sum of 1000 Ryo to build a Gakudo Hall in his gratitude to the Fudo deity. As the Gakudo Hall was built, a handwritten sign read "Guest room" was put, and he gave tea and sweets to the visiting pilgrims. This hall was named "Sansho no Gakudo Hall" after the family crest of the Ichikawa family.
    Among all Danjuro, the 7th had a particularly strong faith in the Fudo Myo-o, and performed various dedications besides the Gakudo Hall, showing scale of his gratitude to the deity.

  • 3. The Fudo Religion Seen in Kabuki

    The Fudo religion seen in Kabuki

    In kabuki there is an art called "Mie". It is the moment when the actor's facial expressions and poses freeze during the culmination of his acting.
    This "Mie" represents the unwavering spirit of the Fudo in kabuki. In the kabuki play "Fudo" that Danjuro the 2nd created, he played the "Fudo No Mie (Mie of Fudo)" and showed an example of Mie within Mie.
    The Fudo religion spread around Edo thanks to the popularity of Danjuro the 2nd and the rumor which stated that if you are glared by the "Fudo No Mie", various diseases you may have will be cured.
    The "Fudo No Mie" is something permitted only to the Ichikawa family in the world of kabuki. It is said that the Fudo's spirit resides within the Mie stance. Moreover, the "glare" which is delivered by the Ichikawa family as well, shows the miraculous nature of the Fudo exorcist and it is also proof of Danjuro's deep faith in the Fudo deity.
    Danjuro the 9th devised the Sanskrit scattered Mizugoromo clothes, which were treated with Sanskrit characters representing the Fudo, as the strong man's clothing in "Kanjincho". The picture of the Kabuki stage during the Edo period depicts the Benkei and Fudo Myo-o, who are wearing Mizugoromo clothes with Sanskrit characters embroidered with gold thread. Benkei, in the form of a mountain spirit, has long been believed to be the Fudo's appearance.
    Many kabuki plays originate from the Ichikawa family's faith in the Fudo religion.

Annual Events

January February 3月 4月 5月 6月 7月 8月 9月 10月 11月 12月
JANUARY A Vibrant Month at the Beginning of a New Year
Jan 1 Gancho Ogoma-ku
Jan 7 Nanakusa Goinmon

A traditional event where you can receive the seal of the seven herbs of the Fudo on your forehead.

It is a traditional event in Naritasan where you pray for protection against illness, good health, and achievement of academic success by pushing a red seal engraved with Sanskrit characters representing the appearance of the Fudo on the forehead.

Jan 8 Daihannya-e

Wishes for five grains by reading of Daihannyakyo (Sutra)

This is a legal meeting in which the titles of 600 volumes of the Sutras are read aloud, and each volume of the scriptures is transcribed. When you read the scripture of the scriptures, it is said that you can benefit from protection from illness.

Jan 28 First Fudo
January
FEBRUARY A Month Full of Prayers for Success and Fulfillment of Your Wish
Feb 3 Setsubun (Bean-Throwing) Festival

Sumo wrestlers and TV actors are throwing beans

Sumo wrestlers and performers of NHK Taiga drama throw beans to pray for peace in the land, welfare of the people, good harvest, and turning of disasters in fortunes.

Feb 3-9 Hoshikukito-e (Star Offering Prayer Festival)

A festival of nine stars that are responsible for the good luck of people

It is a traditional ceremony that prays for one year full of happiness and no disasters. Every year from the day of the Setsubun, we worship for one week, and at the Komyodo Hall, we award a “star offering amulet” praying for the eradication of disaster and the achievement of good luck.

Mid-February to Mid-March Narita Plum Festival

The blooming red and white plums

At Naritasan park you can enjoy the sight of over 460 red and white plums. On Sundays and national holidays, there will be concerts, ice sculpture exhibitions, free amazake (sweet-sake), and photo contests.

Middle of the month "Shusse Inari Sairei Otaiya" "Shusse Inari Festival"

Pray for fire extinguishing, good luck blessing, and business prosperity.

Every year in February on the day of “Ni no uma” a big legal meeting is held and the day before that the Otaiya Houraku is commenced. There will also be singing, kagura dances and free amazake.

2月
MARCH A Heartwarming Month with the Scent of the Plum Trees's Flowers
Mid-February to Mid-March Narita Plum Festival
Mar 5-7 Jikkaza Jumanben

Singing the Fudo Goshingon (mantra) 100,000 times in 10-round Ogoma Prayer

In front of the Gomadan, a special Ogoma Fuda (amulet) called about 700 Shido Fuda (amulet) will be used to pray for the peace of the congregation whilst striking the big Mokugyo (fish-shaped Wooden tag drum) and reciting the Goshingon (mantra).

Spring equinox day Higan-e
March
APRIL A Month with Beautiful Meetings in the Full-Bloom Cherry Blossoms
Apr 1-8 Hanamido Kanbutsu

Celebrate the birth of Buddha who created Buddhism

Pour sweet tea into the Buddha and celebrate the birth of Buddha at the flower alter in front of Shakado Hall.

Beginning of the month Naritasan National Calligraphy Competition Award Ceremony

Award ceremony honoring youth

The award ceremony is held for those who have received special prizes at the Naritasan National Calligraphy Competition. Prior to the award ceremony, a memorial service is held at Hikkon (the calligraphy monument) in the front yard of the Calligraphy Museum to give thanks to the brush.

Beginning of the month Flower Festival Parade
Apr 8 Buddha's Birthday Celebration
Middle of the month Narita Drum Festival

Drum formations from all over the country take part and perform

Highlights are the "Sengan Hana Daiko", where about 800 performers play a drum in prayer for peace, and "Naritasan Millennium Night Stage", which plays on a stage lit by a bonfire in the evening. A parade also takes place, where the performers walk forward while performing on the main street.

Apr 28 Tea Whisk Memorial Service

Buddhist rites for used tea whisks.

The tea whisk used when preparing matcha green tea is commemorated. At the tea whish mound in front of the Calligraphy Museum in Naritasan Park, hold a ceremony burning the tea whisk and give thanks and pray for the development of tea ceremony culture.

End of the month Commemoration in Gratitude of Shotoku Taishi
April
MAY A Refreshing Month When Carp Banners Dance in the Clear Sky
May 8 Daihannya-e
Middle of the month "Heiwadaito (Peace Tower) Festival" "Offering Dances"

Prayer for eternal peace on the globe

Believers who gave Fudo Myo-o statues and hanging Buddhas as offering gather at the Peace Tower and make a prayer for eternal peace on the globe.

Middle of the month Candle Noh

A mysterious play by Umewaka family

On the 4th floor of the Korinkaku Hall inside the Korin room, a special offering Noh play is performed by Umewaka Minoru and other members of Umewaka family.

May 27 Festival for Gratitude Towards the Appearance of the Great One

Expressing gratitude at the land where the deity landed

In the Heian era, Kancho Daisojo carried the statue of Fudo Myo-o and descended from the port of Namba to the Kanto by sea, and the land where it landed was Odaregahama part of Kujukuri Beach. A ceremony for expressing gratitude towards the divine protection of the Fudo Myo-o deity by honoring the holy land has been practiced since the founding of the temple.

End of the month Good Luck and Bonfire Ogoma, Firewood Burning Prayer, Fire Walking Training

Outdoors Ogoma prayer and fire walking

After performing an outdoor Ogoma prayer by the ways of the mountain monks and praying for the fulfillment of the worshiper's wishes, a fire walking ritual for good luck and prosperity is performed after the fire goes out.

May
JUNE A Quaint Month in Which Hydrangeas Stand Out in the Gentle Rain
Beginning of the month Sutra contest

Celebrating the birth of Kobo Daishi and Kogyo Daishi

In celebration of the birth of Kobo Daishi and Kogyo Daishi, a sutra contest is held to copy "Hannya Shingyo". The transcribed sutras ware dedicated to the Peace Tower and serve as prayer for fulfillment of the desires.

Beginning of the month Benzaiten Festival

Once a year

Once a year, for two days, we hold "Benzaiten Festival", where The miniature shrine inside the temple is shown to the public as a prayer for music, genius and wealth.

June 15 Kobo Daishi's and Kogyo Daishi's Birthday Celebration

Special thanks to the founder and the restorator of Shingon sect

June is the birth month of Kobo Daishi Kukai, who held the Shingon sect, and Kogyo Daishi Kakuban, who revived the teachings of Kukai. We carry out a memorial service to thank both Kobo Daishi Kukai and Kogyo Daishi Kakuban.

June
JULY A Vibrant Moon That Feels like Summer in Sunlight
Beginning of the month Naritasan Gion Festival

An early summer tradition with a 300-year history.

Only during the period of Naritasan Gion Festival, we open Okunoin Hall, where Dainichi Nyorai is enshrined, and pray for an easy life full of fortunes, and Five Grains harvest. A parade float floats around the town with a mikoshi, whose main body is Dainichi Nyorai.

At Komyodo Hall, a special heavenly sword incantation will be held.

July 12 Temple Opening Anniversary
Middle of the month Dawn Lecture

Lectures following the rigorous morning Goma       

In the early morning of summer, we invite lecturers who are active in various fields to hold courses.

July
AUGUST A Month When You Can Feel the Melancholy of the Crickets
Aug 13-15 Urabon-e (Feast of Lanterns)
Aug 16 Segaki Daiho-e
Aug 23-24 Mitama Festival Bon-Odori Dance Festival
August
SEPTEMBER A Fruitful Month Where Rice Ears Shine Golden
Sept 8 Daihannya-e
Sept 23 Higan-e
End of the month Good Luck and Bonfire Ogoma, Firewood Burning Prayer, Fire Walking Training
Sept 27 Festival for Gratitude Towards the Appearance of the Great One
September
OCTOBER A Refreshing Month with a Pleasant Autumn Breeze
October 1 to November 30 Shichigosan Prayer

A Japanese traditional event to celebrate the growth of children

We celebrate the healthy growth of children aged three, five, and seven, and pray for their good health and academic achievement.

Middle of the month Sutra Contest
End of the month Gagaku Music Concert
Oct 20-21 Narita Gen Festival
October 20 to November 15 Chrysanthemum Festival

Amazing chrysanthemums add color to the temple grounds

A wide variety of chrysanthemums, such as the bonsai and pottery of the Naritasan Chrysanthemum Association, will be displayed around Daihondo Hall. The best time to watch the chrysanthemums is in the start of November, and the cliff bonsai in front of Daihondo Hall are a must-see.

October
NOVEMBER A Beautiful Month with Colorful Leaves
October 1 to November 30 Shichigosan Prayer
October 20 to November 15 Chrysanthemum Festival
Middle of the month Autumn Leaves Festival
November
DECEMBER A Month to Look Back One Year in Gratitude
Dec 8 Celebration of Buddha's Enlightenment

(After the memorial service, longevity porridge is served)

Dec 27 Festival for Gratitude Towards the Appearance of the Great One
Dec 28 Votive Card Burning Lantern Ogama Prayer

Burning of the Ogoma cards that bestowed us with divine protection throughout the year.

It is an outdoor Ogoma prayer that is fired with appreciation for the received Ogoma cards and patrons. We return Ofuda (amulet) and talismans in the flames of our Fudo Myo-o, and thank bless you for one year.

December