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Monday, 11th November 2013
In Events In Japan,

Gishi-sai to honour masterless samurai

Visitors to Japan next month should attempt to attend the Gishi-sai festival taking place at Sengakuji Temple in Takanawa, a ceremony that promises to be as fascinating as it is educational.

The fete commemorates the efforts of the 47 masterless samurai, who secretly plotted to avenge their master after he was ordered to commit suicide at the start of the 18th century.

Various scholars have described the tale as a national legend, with the warriors waiting for two years before killing the court official Kira Yoshinaka, who their master had supposedly assaulted.

They are now buried at the temple of Sengakuji, where their graves are visited every year by tourists from across Japan and the world over.

The Gishi-sai festival, which takes place on December 14th every year, sees the little graveyard enveloped in smoke and thronging with people paying their respects to the samurai.

Make sure you read up on the story before visiting, as the temple is all the more interesting if you know the details of the legend.

Written by Mark Smith