Hozuki (Chinese Lantern) Market

There are several flower festivals in Bunkyo-ku and Hozuki Market is one of them.  Hozuki or Chinese lanterns are summer plants and back in old days, people used to buy hozuki when they visited temples.  Decoction of hozuki is said to be good for kidney desease.

Hozuki Market was held in Genkaku-ji Temple in Korakuen on July 23th and 24th.

Genkaku-ji Temple was built in 1624 and is known as Konnyaku Enma.  Enma is King of Hell and is usually feared.  But Enma in this temple cured eye disease of an old lady by giving her one of his eyes.  The old lady was so moved that she gave up eating konnyaku (Japanese foods known as devil’s tongue or alimentary yam paste) and gave it to Enma who was honored in this temple.

The statue of Enma is standing inside the Enma-do Hall and one of his eyes is cloudy yellow.  The reason is described in the above legend.

There is another interesting deity in this temple.  That is Shio Jizo or Salt Deity.

It is totally covered with salt so you cannot see what it is but under the salt is the deity. The website of Genkaku-ji shows the photo of the deity with less salt.  But why salt?  The legend says that if you paste salt to the part of the body of the deity, the disesase of that part of yourself will be cured.

I found one more interesting monument.  “O hyakudo ishi” which literally means “stones of one hundred times”.  You can see small pieces of stones in front of the monument.IMG_9020

In Buddhism, there is a way of praying by visiting a temple once a day in one hundred days.  By visiting so many times, the god will realise your dream.  But sometimes, your wish is quite urgent and you cannot spend such a long period of time.  In that case, you will do a special praying called “o hyakudo mairi” which means praying one hundred times in one day which gives you the same effect as praying once a day in one hundred days.  When you do this, you will go around the temple one hundred times and in order not to miscalculate how many times you prayed, the temple provides you with “o hyakudo ishi” which are one hundred pieces of small stones.  You will remove the stone one by one each time you pray until you make one hundred times.  The monument of “o hyakudo ishi” in this temple was built in 1852.

Address: 23-14 Koishikawa 2-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Near from here:
Koishikawa Botanical Garden

Hozuki Market of Genkaku-ji Temple is annually celebrated together with another flower market near-by.  I will post about it later.


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