Nishiarai Daishi is a well-known temple connected to the famed Buddhist priest, Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi.
One of the must-see sights within Tokyo’s Adachi is Nishiarai Daishi, a temple with an ancient and very esteemed origin. Famously known as a one of Japan’s flower temples, the spacious grounds of this sacred site are full of seasonal blooms all year long. Although it is fun to simply stroll through these beautiful grounds, every month on the 21st, an Ennichi festival (*1) takes place and visiting on such a day is strongly recommended. These bustling events are not just popular with locals, though. In fact. a great number of worshipers come quite the distance to enjoy the festivities for themselves.
*1 Ennichi: a set or long-established event or festival day at a given temple. On these days, food stalls are set up in the grounds and more visitors than usual come to the temple.
What Kind of Temple Is Nishiarai Daishi?
Nishiarai Daishi, also known as Soujiji, is one of the temples that Kukai (*2) is said to have founded during his pilgrimage in the Kanto region. Known for its abilities to ward off evil, this temple is famous for dispelling bad luck or feelings of ill will.
As every 21st of the month is Kukai’s festival day, an event of some kind takes place here on this day. With many more worshipers coming to the temple and lots of small shops selling famous Nishiarai local products here on these days, the 21st is the perfect day for international visitors to visit and learn more about Nishiarai and Japanese culture.
*2 Kukai (774-835): the originator of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism to which most Japanese follow and overall a major contributor to the spread of Buddhism in Japan; also known as Kobo Daishi.
Going to Take Part in “Kobo Daishi no Go-Ennichi”! (The Ennichi Festival of Kukai)
After getting out of Daishi-Mae station, you will soon arrive at Shoueikai, the shopping street lining the road towards the temple. Everyone is captivated from the start by Asakaya, a shop selling one of the region’s famous products, sembei, and stopped by to take a closer look. Although some might think a rice cracker is a rice cracker, this specialty shop sells 20 different varieties of this uniquely Japanese snack. Only in Nishiarai can you find food culture like this.
After visiting the sembei shop, next is the mameya-san, a bean store. There are many different kinds of beans and each has its own distinct flavor.
The way in which the shops are laid out along Shoueikai allows passersby to peer into the shops easily and see their inner workings; for example, at the sembei shop, you are able to see just how sembei are roasted.
You will say that you are impressed with the skills of the various craftspeople in these shops. With so many new and novel things to see, it will be really hard to you to keep moving forward to the temple! But it will also be nice to leisurely take in the atmosphere of the Nishiarai area too.
Just when you are almost to the main temple building, you catch sight of a Shio Jizo. This is an unusual type of Japanese Buddhist statue, wherein a figure of Jizo is covered in table salt.
Here you should learn from one of the locals the proper way in which to pray to this particular type of Jizo statue. First you pick up some of the salt at the statue’s feet and then rub the salt on the part of the statue’s body that you are having trouble with (for example, if you have knee pain, you rub the salt on the statue’s knee). By doing so, it is believed that your pain will be taken away.
Once you finally arrive outside the main temple, you first take a moment to purify yourself with the smoke from the smoldering incense sticks by wafting it towards yourself.
After you are instructed in the proper manner of visiting a temple, you give your greetings to the guardian deity of the temple in the main hall.
You can also try out our omikuji, and if you get daikichi, you have the luckiest fortune of them all!
After paying our respects at the temple, everyone is very excited to see the stallholders and yatai, or food carts, in the temple grounds and want to try out some of the unusual dishes these shops sell, all the while taking in the sights and sounds of the Osame no Daishi event to the fullest.
Not only do you all get to learn about Japanese culture, but you even discover many new things here in Nishiarai. The smiling faces of the guests really say it all – everyone really enjoy sharing in the fun of Nishiarai Daishi’s festival day.
If you are going to be visiting Adachi, then please make a trip to see Nishiarai Daishi, especially if you can visit on the 21st – you are sure to have a wonderful time amid the bustling crowds at their next event.
If you want to see the temple festivals held at Nishiarai Daishi, please get in touch with Asahi Commerce LLC!