Sep 22, 2018 Event Miyajima

Miyajima Candle Light Festival “Mantoue” -Enchanting Nights at Daishoin Temple

#Event ,#Event2018 ,#Local Festival ,#Photogenic ,#Summer

What Is Mantoue?

Mantoue is a Buddhist service in which people repent for their sins and show gratitude for the blessings that all things receive in this world by offering “sacred light.” It’s said that through the act of offering sacred light to Buddha, one dispels darkness and invites knowledge and fortune into their life.

This service began when the founder of Daishoin Temple, Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi, performed it at Mount Koya in 823. The practice is performed at several famous temples in Kyoto and Nara, but it is rare to see such an event held at more regional temples.

Event Report from 2018

The 2018 program was from September 7th (Fri.) to the 9th (Sun.), from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. All three days were accompanied by rain, but the event was held as usual and many people visited.

“The Chukyoku Rishu Zanmai Hoyo” is one of the services of the Shingon sect. People walk in procession while reciting proclamations from the Hannya Rishu-kyo (principal of wisdom sutra) and chanting Buddhist music.

With the damage caused by heavy rainfall in west Japan, typhoons, and the earthquake in Hokkaido, this was a year with many disasters. The service was carried out with prayers for the restoration of the affected areas and world peace.

Concerts

Concerts were held every day from 7:00PM during the event period. This year there were collaborations between musicians and calligraphers, performance by Japanese bamboo flute players, shamisen (three stringed lute) performances, and more presented over the three day duration of the event.

The concert lineup changes depending on the year, so there’s something different to look forward to every year.

A Look at Mantoue

It’s the beginning of September, so summer heat still lingers during the daytime, but the sun now sets much earlier. It’s completely dark by around 7:00PM, and candle light glows nicely.

This is the stair case seen right after passing through the Deva gate. Lanterns hang here and there along the road leading to Daishoin Temple, serving as markers for people visiting Mantoue in the dark.

A look at reception, after passing through the gate of honor. It has a different atmosphere than at daytime, and lanterns continue straight to the Daishoin’s main temple, Chokugando.

Paper lanterns are lined in a row at the temple dedicated to Kannon, called the Kannondo. This is the venue for concerts, and the music can be heard from outside.

The Maniden is also illuminated. It’s presence is magnificent, both at day and night.

There was a monument of light crafted from bamboo in front of the Kannondo. This actually wasn’t here at previous festivals, and this year was the first time it was tested out.

The design on the bamboo is illuminated by candle light from the inside. It’s enchanting, and has a certain charm that’s different from lanterns. Many people were gazing intently at it and taking pictures.

A practice called “gomadaki” took place at the Chokugando, in front of the statue of the wisdom king, Namikiri Fudo, whom this temple is dedicated to. Gomadaki is a practice in which you write a wish on a stick, throw it into the fire, and pray.

Special Days at the Beginning of Fall

Daishoin Temple is popular as a sightseeing spot in Miyajima, but there aren’t many chances to see it at night. Lit by many candles, the space is quite magical. The candle light is soft and gentle, and you can almost feel your heart being cleansed just by looking at it.

Also, since this event is held every year at night in early September, it’s cool and comfortable. Among the visitors who came during an overnight stay, there were a few walking around in yukatas.

I would also recommend the event as a chance to have a fall walk. Normally, you cannot enter Daishoin Temple after 5:00PM, so this is truly a rare experience.

Event Information of 2019

Miyajima Candle Light Festival “Mantoue”
Address Daishoin Temple in Miyajima
210 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi (map)
Date September in 2019
*The official date has not been announced yet
Website Official Website
Entrance Fee  Free

Access to Daishoin Temple

Fare: ¥590      Required time: 65mins-

Hiroshima station

Miyajimaguchi Sta.
JR Sanyo Line
(25mins)
¥590

Miyajima Pier
Ferry
(10mins)

Daishoin Temple
Walk
(30mins)