8:25 am – Got up
Spent most of the day at home.
6:01 pm – Off we go
As I was leaving Shimo Daigo yesterday, I saw a flyer about a certain festival that will be held the next day.
I wasn’t going to miss seeing another festival so I went back to Daigoji, on the bicycle, this time.
6:39 pm – At Daigoji temple
I went back for the Manto Kuyo-e festival. It is held to pray for the spirits of ancestors, and respect and appreciate our lives (source: Daigoji Temple website).
There were lanterns along the path to Shimo Daigo.
The rows of lanterns continued as I went inside.
In contrast to the previous day’s visit, there were a lot more people there.
And I mean a lot more.
I first checked if the area around Bentendo was included. Sadly, only the Kondo and the Gojunoto pagoda area will be illuminated as there was a sort of sign that says ‘no entry’.
It was fine, as I was excited to see what the two would look like under all the night lights.
The sky was starting to get dark.
There were food stalls on both sides of the area near the pagoda.
I wasn’t stalking the girl with the pink backpack.
A few people were lining up to ring the bell near Kondo.
There was a sort of ‘spread’ (probably offerings or something) in front Kondo.
There were more lanterns on the pebbled area to the right. These had drawings on them, probably made by children from the nearby school (there’s a school near the temple grounds).
Remember from the previous post I held off on elaborating on the lanterns? Well, now I don’t think I’ll have to.
Kondo hall seen from the left side (near the bell).
At around 7:00 pm, men in orange clothing (priests?) assembled on both sides of the ‘spread’ and started to chant something.
To not be an ‘overzealous tourist’, I turned of the flash and relied on zoom to see what was happening up close.
There was an open spot towards my left so I moved there.
The program has begun.
Something was happening with the bowls near the ‘spread’. At this point I had no idea what they were doing or what were in the bowls. I was a bit afraid to go take a closer look.
As the sun set, the lanterns were shining brighter.
I went back to the lanterns on the right side and noticed they had been lit.
I was going back and forth between Kondo, the pagoda and the bell.
Children were ringing the bell too.
I went back to the pagoda to see what’s happening on the other side.
It looked like the pagoda was glowing.
The bigger lanterns made by the children were on display in this area.
After checking out the food stalls near the pagoda, I went back to Kondo, but this time I went up the stairs.
There were also artworks made by children on the right side of the building.
It covered almost the whole right side.
I wasn’t sure if it was allowed to take pictures of the inside of the hall.
Of all the temples/shrines I’ve been to, there was always a no-taking-pictures rule when inside. Technically, I wasn’t inside when I took this picture, but still.
I finally decided to snap one when I saw a few Japanese people taking pictures. How did I know they were Japanese? One of them was using a flip phone.
It was already almost 8:00 and the priests were still chanting. I don’t know what time they finished as I was on my way home at around 8:30.
Each time I passed by the bowls, I was getting more curious. So I finally moved closer to get a better look.
There were three pairs of larger than average bowls with, I could only guess, what looked like cooked rice. It was dark so I wasn’t sure and I wasn’t going to ask what it was because I was afraid it might sound a bit disrespectful or something. It looked grainy though, so I guessed it was cooked rice.
People were transferring the contents from one bowl to the other three spoonfuls at a time then bringing their hands together as if to pray.
With my curiosity satisfied, I again took a look at the bell area.
A few minutes before 8:30 pm, I decided to go home.
The path back to Niomon looked eerie.
The lanterns going to Somon were lit.
8:31 pm – On the way home
9:20 pm – Home sweet home
The way back took a longer as I was moving a bit slower.
12:32 am – Sleep