Kishimojin is actually a Hindu goddess that protects children, helps mothers in their deliveries and parenting of their babies. At first she was a demon that caught other babies to feed her hundreds of children. The grieving mothers prayed to Buddha to ask for help. Buddha then hid Kishimojin's youngest child and she was desparate trying to look for him. Finally she was enlightened by Buddha, realizing the greating suffering of her victims and swore to protect every child.
The temple built in her honour is described by one local scholar as a “power spot” for recharging one’s batteries.
The Zoshigaya Kishimojin Temple is one of the most famous in Tokyo and belongs to the Tokyo Cultural Heritage with a history of over 300 years.
The trees(Ginkgo) along the stone-paved paths are 400 years old and the largest one named "Oichou" is even older with an age of 600 years. If you would like to take a break from the busy streets and cleanse your soul in a tranquil environment, then Zoshigaya Kishimojin Temple is definitely the place to visit.
Zoshigaya Kishimojindo Besides the sacred temples, Zoshigaya has one more attraction with a history of almost 230 years. Believed to be blessed by Kishimojin, the candy shop "Kamikawaguchi-ya" founded in 1781 has survived the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, WWII and is the oldest in the capital. Apart from Japanese rice cakes "Kinako-mochi" and lemonade, traditional hand-made toys "Susuki-mimizuku" are also very popular among visitors. This fascinating candy store is indeed the cultural heritage of the local community.
Susuki grass pas plenty in Edo and this little toy and amulet was quite popular, especially in temples dedicated to Kishimojin. Now there is even a group to keep up the tradition of making them, sponsored by the head priest. They have to go as far as Saitama to get the proper grass ears. The ears and bill are made from wood.
Legend knows this:
Once there was a poor mother and daughter living in Edo. The mother got ill and the daughter went to the temple of Kishimojin for 100 days to pray for her recovery. On the last day the daughter had a dream:
"Go out, get some susuki grass, make some owls from it and sell it to become rich." So she did and soon she had enough money to buy medicine for her ill mother.
from Ocober 16, 2015 (Friday) to October 18, 2015 (Sunday)
Also, annual same month, week end.
This traditional event has been held annually from October 16 to 18, around the time of the anniversary of Nichiren's(Famous buddhist master) death, since the "Kyowa" and "Bunka-Bunsei" eras (the early 1800s).
A procession moves toward "Kishimojin", with participants striking uchiwa daiko drums and raising three- to four-meter tall mando lanterns festooned with white washi paper flowers. This magical evening memorial procession, with its unique rhythm of loud "uchiwa daiko" drums and mando lanterns, is a must-see.
A procession of local festival association members proceeds through local neighborhoods and pays homage at "Kishimojin".
Twenty-five local festival organizations gather at Seido "Kishimojin" in "Mejirodai", "Bunkyo-ku" and set off at 7:30 p.m. They proceed down "Shinobazu" and "Mejiro" Avenues and then arrive at "Kishimojin" around 8 p.m.
Twenty-five local festival organizations gather in front of "Seibu" Department Store on the east exit side of "Ikebukuro" Station. The line waiting for departure extends to around the midway point of Green Avenue. Setting off at 7 p.m., the procession is joined by around 10 festival associations from other areas at the "Meiji" Avenue entrance to the west approach to "Kishimojin", and the memorial procession stretches even longer. It then proceeds down "Mejiro" Avenue from "Chitose" Bridge and along the approach to "Kishimojin", joined by many more groups along the way. The lead group arrives at "Kishimojin" at around 8 p.m., but the last groups sometimes don't arrive until midnight.
The things to see are the approach to the hall as the procession gradually lengthens and, above all, the destination itself, Kishimojin's precincts. Numerous refreshment stands, as well as carnival side show attractions, which are rarely seen these days, line the grounds, and you can enjoy the sensation of going back in time and the uplifting festival mood.
From "Tokyo" station to "Ikebukuro" by "Yamanote line", about 20 minues.
JR "Ikebukuro" Station approximately 15 minutes walking.
JR "Mejiro" Station approximately 15 minutes walking.
"Toden Arakawa" Line "Kishibojinmae" Station: approximately 5 minutes
Tokyo Metro "Fukutoshin" Line"Zoshigaya" Station: approximately 5 minutes
By car:Approximately 10 minutes from the Nishi-Ikebukuro Exit on the Central Loop Line of the Metropolitan Expressway
Approximately 10 minutes from the Gokokuji Exit of Route 5 on the Metropolitan Expressway
Approximately 10 minutes from the Higashi-Ikebukuro Exit of Route 5 on the Metropolitan Expressway