Ikegami Honmon-ji

This magnificent temple sacred to the Buddhist teacher Nichiren is most famous for its Oeshiki Ikegami parade (the Festival of 10,000 Lanterns) in October, but it’s also impressive at other times of year.

At the Oeshiki Ikegami festival, three thousand people dance and parade through the streets surrounding the temple, bearing flower-garlanded pagodas representing each of Japan’s Nicheren temples
Each one is different, some painstakingly pieced from cedar without nails, some covered in gold leaf
All of them are works of art
But there’s more to the temple than its once-a-year fesival. It also boasts a fine five-story pagoda…
…and a magnificent red and gold sanctuary
In February, people flock to Ikegami Honmon-ji’s Bai-en garden…
…to see rare varieties of plum trees in bloom
Pathways wind between the trees and teahouses


And because this is the major Buddhist temple serving southwest Tokyo, their celebrations of Coming-of-Age Day(Jan), Setsubun(Feb), Shichi-Go-San(Nov), and New Year’s are also magnificent.

For the dates of the next Oeshiki Ikegami festival, check the Tokyo Cheapo or TimeOut Tokyo websites for the most up-to-date info.

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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