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Kanuma City , Tochigi Related category:
Tennenbutsu of Tochikubo    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 33 minutes
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The ceremony called Tennenbutsu (or Tensai), which originated from peasant beliefs in praying for calm weather and good harvests, used to be widely performed, mainly in the northern part of the Kanto area. The legend goes that it was introduced to the Tochikubo area by Mokujikishonin in 1780 and used to be performed for three days from April 7 to April 9 according to the lunar calendar once every four years. The ceremony is performed in the following sequence: First, four Gyonin clad in white costumes who have cleansed themselves in a mountain stream climb up to the second story of the Tendana (a float with a two-story sculpture) where an altar is set up, and chant the Hannyashinkyo (The Heart Sutra) and spells in an effort to summon Shinto and Buddhist deities. Then, the Gyonin go round the Tendana saying prayers together with youngsters called Shoshoujin (or Sukegyonin). They repeat this ritual several times a day. At the beginning and the end of the ritual, they play Utanenbutsu. On the final day, they conclude the ceremony by dedicating a Bonten (Heisoku) to the shrine.

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