Friday, December 31, 2010

Events around Nara Park (Jan. 2011)

Enjoy New Year and New Year Events in Nara!

Around Nara Park:

Jan.1 (sat) Hatsumode

The first visit to a shrine/temple in a year is called Hatsumode. Hatusmode is usually done from Jan. 1 to 7. Visit to a famous shrine/temple is very crowded especially from Jan.1 to Jan. 3.

@ Kasuga Grand Shrine

0:00 ~ Gates open with a sound of a drum.

@ Todaiji Temple

0:00 ~ 8:00 The Great Buddha Hall is free of admission. The window on the Great Buddha Hall, through which the Buddha’s face appears, opens.

0:00 ~ Sutra chanting at the February Hall. About 135 stone lanterns are lit to light the way from the Great Buddha Hall to the February Hall.

Jan. 2 (sun) Kofukuji Temple’s monks’ visit to Kasuga Grand Shrine

10:00 ~ Monks at Kofukuji Temple make a New Year’s visit to Kasuga Grand Shrine. Sutras are chanted at the Middle Gate of Kasuga Grand Shrine and at Wakamiya Shrine as an offertory to deities. Monks’ colorful robes are eye-catching.

Jan. 3 (mon) Kagura-hajime-siki in Kasuga Grand Shrine

11:00 ~ Kagura is Shinto’s offertory music and dances. At Kagura-hajime-siki, the first Kagura of a year is offered to deities to pray for a peace of a nation and to wish for a safe offertory of Kagura to deities throughout the year.

Jan. 7 (fri) Syusyo-e in Todaiji Temple

13:00 ~ 14:40 @ the Great Buddha Hall

Syusyo-e is a Buddhist ritual held in the New Year season to pray for a peace and wellness of that year.

Jan. 10 (mon) Ebisu Festival in Kasuga Grand Shrine

9:00 ~ 15:00 @ Sarake Shrine near Wakamiya Shrine

Ebisu Festival on Jan 10 is especially popular in Kansai area. Ebisu is a deity for commerce. On this day, people go to an Ebisu Shrine to get lucky bamboo branches.

Jan. 10 (mon) Bugaku-hajime-siki in Kasuga Grand Shrine

13:00 ~ @ the Garden of Apple

Bugaku is traditional Japanese court music and dances. At Bugaku-hajime-siki, the first Bugaku of a year is offered to deities to wish for a safe offertory of Bugaku to deities throughout the year.

Jan. 10 (mon) Coming of Age Day

Coming of Age Day is a national holiday to welcome youth turning into 20 years old as an adult member of a community. On this day, most municipal governments hold a ceremony, and you’ll see many 20-year-olds dressed up in Kimono to attend the ceremony.

Jan. 15 (sat) New Year Tea Ceremony with XL Size Tea-Cup in Saidaiji Temple

10:00 ~ 15:00 Enjoy tea with your neighbor ... more precisely, with the help of your neighbor. The tea cup used in this tea ceremony is 30cm in diameter! You share the drink with your neighbor too. Drink Fee: 1000yen per person.

Jan. 22 (sat) Mountain-burning event at Mt. Wakakusa

18:00 Fireworks marking the beginning of the event

18:15 Fire up the mountain

A picturesque event of Nara - see the burning red Mt. Wakakusa lighting up under fireworks.

Jan. 23 (sun) Tonndo in Kasuga Grand Shrine

9:00 ~ 15:00 @ Tobihino Field (an open field near the main approach of Kasuga Grand Shrine)

Tonndo concludes New Year’s events. In Tondo, New Year ornaments and old lucky charms, brought to a shrine/temple by visitors during New Year season, are burned up.

Jan. 23 (sun) Cancer Prevention – Bamboo Sake Festival in Daianji Temple

8:00 ~16:00 Daianji Temple is known for cancer prevention. Sasa-zake (Bamboo Sake) offered at this temple is believed to prevent and/or cure people from Cancer. Sake is poured from a bamboo cylinder and drank with a bamboo cup. Sasa-zake 500yen.

Nishinokyo and Horyuji Area:

Jan. 1 (sat) Syusho-e

Syusyo-e is a Buddhist ritual held in the New Year season to pray for a peace and wellness of that year.

Toshodaiji Temple

0:00 ~ (also on Jan.3, 18:00 ~)

@Yakushiji Temple

0:00 ~

(2:00 ~ Beginning of YearSsermon; 9:00 ~ till Jan. 3 New Year Sutra Copying Session; 13:30 ~ till Jan.3 New Year’s Sermon)

Jan. 1 (sat) ~ Jan. 3 (mon) Worship of a Buddha’s Relic in Horyuji Temple

13:00 ~ @ Shari-den Hall (near the Hall of Dream)

In this ritual one very legendary relic is worshiped. Prince Shotoku, the father of Japanese Buddhism, has many legends. When he was 2, he said a prayer and a Buddha’s relic appeared on his palm. On these days, you can see this legendary relic. Also hidden pictures depicting Prince Shotoku’s life are open to the public.

Jan. 8 (sat) Reading of the Great Prajna Sutra in Yakushiji Temple

11:00 ~ Reading of the Great Prajna Sutra is held every month on 8th day. The main object of worship in Yakushiji Temple is Yakushi (Medicine) Buddha. 8th day is a day for Yakushi Buddha in Yakushiji Temple.

Jan. 15 (sat) Reading of the Great Prajna Sutra in Toshodaiji Temple

The Great Prajna Sutra consists of 600 volumes. All 600 volumes will be read.


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