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Thursday, 12th February 2015
In Events In Japan,

Tokyo welcomes spring with daruma dolls

As the weather starts to warm up in Tokyo, the city is set to welcome in the spring with one of its best loved and well-established festivals - the Jindaiji Temple Yakuyoke Ganzan Jie Daishi matsuri

The celebration, which dates back to the middle of the Edo period, sees thousands of revellers come together on the city streets to enjoy a market selling luck-bringing charms and trinkets.

These creations, known as daruma dolls, bear little resemblance to their toy-like cousins in the Western world. Instead, they are round, hollow egg-shaped creations, intricately painted with kanji symbols, golden stripes and faces.

Typically coloured scarlet, their eye-catching designs have made them incredibly popular. Arguably the biggest street fare selling these creations is that of Jindaiji Temple, which has one of the most distinguished histories of the city's places of worship.

Some 300 stalls set up shop every year across the grounds of the temple, with the displays near the front of the gates looking particularly impressive.

Throughout the day, Buddhist cedar-stick burning and prayer rituals are held each hour from 10am until 4pm to help prevent natural disasters, and a grand procession sees daruma dolls carried through Jindaiji.

At 2pm, there is also a traditional ritual called Hyakumi Kuyo which has been observed since the Tokugawa period, and sees offerings of tea and sweets placed for the Gansan Daishi, who was the chief abbot of a tradition of warrior monks in the tenth century.

The celebrations take place during the first days of March with visitors flocking to Jindaiji Temple during the 3rd and the 4th of the month.

Those unlucky enough to miss out on the fun have a whole host of other celebrations in Tokyo to keep themselves entertained, with spring being one of the most exciting times to be in the city.


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