Mount Iitani hiking of Spring [part 2]

Continue from [part 1]

In the first part, we saw people started hiking and were nearly at the top.


Japan is a mountaious country; the mountainous area occupies about 70% of the land. In other words, most of the land is mountain and Cities are surrounded by them. So, hiking is much familiar and much easier for Japanese people than other countries.

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Mount Iitani hiking of Spring [part 1]

There was the event to go for a hike at Mount Iitani (飯谷) on March 20th. It took place to seek a better use of the mountain and organized by the village, Kosugiyama (小杉山) at 500m height of this mountain.

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Iwaya Kokuzo Bosatsu at Ideto and Ennichi [part 3]

Continues from Part 2.

There is a pretty popular tradition in Japan that most Japanese should have experienced; that is, Omikuji.
Omikuji are fortunes-telling lots written on a piece of paper. They are drawn at temples or shrines and many Japanese try it on the New Year’s Day. There are mainly 6 types of luck; Great blessing, Middle blessing, Small blessing, Blessing, Ending blessing, and Curse.

We also did Omikuji in the hall.
The Omikuji here was traditional style; first, we have to shake a small box(1). Then a stick that marked a number will fell out(2). Finally, take out a paper of the number from the drawer(3).

(1)Shake a box.

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Iwaya Kokuzo Bosatsu at Ideto and Ennichi [part 2]

In the last entry we saw the way to the Odou of Kokuzo Bosatsu.
Yet, most of reader might not know what “Ennichi” is; so, let we start with the explanation of it and then see Kokuzo Bosatsu.
 It is the day which is believed to have relationship with the deity that is enshrined in the temple or shrine. For example, 13th of every month is Ennichi of Kokuzo Bosatsu and 15th is that of Amida. In Japan, people believe that they could receive greater fortunes by visiting on the day than on regular days.
Also, temples and shrines often hold festivals on the day; there are lots of stalls selling food; so it may be your good chance to try Japanese fast food such as Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, apple candy, and so on.

 Now, let's see how the worship goes on!

Okonomiyaki = kind of pancakes with various ingredients.
Takoyaki = kind of octopus dumpling.
Chuson (中尊) = the statue of deity which stands in the center. It is the deity to whom a temple is dedicated.
Kyouji (脇侍) = The statues of Bodhisattvas(菩薩) and Wisdom king (明王) that are placed on both side of Chuson.
Vaiśravaṇa (毘沙門天) = one of the Four Heavenly Kings. It is also called “Tamonten.”

There is a article about Ideto Kokuzo Bosatsu in "Shin Aidu Hudoki";
This Odou of Kokuzo Bosatsu is located at the south west of the village; steps are little more than a hundred; enshrines a statue of Kokuzo Bosatsu in cave; the cave is 5.5m in depth and 11m in width; villagers’ faith on it is great; and so on.

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Ideto Iwaya Kokuzo Bosatsu and Ennichi

In the depth of Nishi aizu, thare is a village called “Ideto”; there is a traditional ritual that has been continued over 500 years.
That is “Iwaya Kokuzo Bosatsu(岩屋虚空蔵菩薩)” belief; it is a belief of Kokuzo Bosatsu (Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva), the Bosatsu that has limitless wisdom and compassion like the universe. Thus, it is believed that visitors could receive blessing especially related to wisdom and memory, however, it has a little differences depending on the region
A statue of the Bosatsu is enshrined in a cave and visitors pray for good health. The cave locates at the foot of Kouyou Mountain, where Buddhist monk performed ascetic training. Lots of people used to visit here to worship; also people drew Omikuji and ate Tohu-jiru.
In this part, we'll see the way to Odou, where the deity is enshrined.

Iwaya = a cave.
Omikuji = these are fortunes-telling lots written on a piece of paper or wood. They are drawn at temples or shrines. There are mainly 6 types; Great blessing, Middle blessing, Small blessing, Blessing , (Half blessing), Ending blessing, Curse, (Small curse), (Great curse).
Tohu-jiru (豆腐汁)= the soup of Tohu that is flavored with shoyu.
Odou(お堂) = it is a hall which statue of deity enshrined.
Iwakura(磐座) = dwelling place of god. Huge or spiritual rocks were considered as Yorishiro of gods.
Yorishiro(依り代) = it is an object that divine spirits are drawn or summoned to.

First, we left to Odou to worship. The board says the route would take 35 minutes, but it took us only 20 minutes even we walked so slowly.

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