July 31, 2007

Hyakannon Kentoue

Sunday evening in Nakano-ku and I was at another very different kind of festival-type of event. Unlike many other festivals which have food and beer stalls nearby, this was a much more sombre and sober, though equally enjoyable event. A temple in the neighbourhood has a garden with over a hundred statues of deities. Usually this garden is closed and you can only view the statues from outside, but every year, for this event, the garden is opened and you can wander around and look at your leisure.
Priests from the temple performed some kind of ritual in front of the largest of the statues and people queued to take part, though I'm not entirely sure what it was all about.
Normally, according to the signs, you aren't supposed to take pictures of the statues, but since everybody else was, I decided to follow suit.
For 500 yen (proceeds to Unicef) you could buy a candle and place it near a statue of your choosing, so that as night falls, the garden becomes bathed in candle light.

Outside the garden in the shade of some enormous trees, there was also a performance by an Indonesian-style gamelan orchestra, together with dance. Their soothing, exotic sounds together with the backdrop of the garden of deities among the trees made it easy to forget that I was actually in the centre of Tokyo.

Less than ten minutes after the end of the performance, the heavens opened and there was a huge storm, sadly extinguishing all the candles in the garden, and everyone ran for cover.

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up! i was there too great event...too bad it rained on everyone near the end