Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Cherry Blossom Festival at a Japanese Castle – Matsumoto Castle

For one week at Matsumoto Castle around the blooming time of the sakura (cherry blossoms) they open the castle grounds up from 6 to 9 for free to the public. From the tsukimi yagura or moon-viewing tower, musicians play while visitors stroll around. The first set is the traditional Japanese harp – the koto. The second set is western-style flute and the third set is traditional gagaku which is played at shrines and Imperial functions. All is free and open to the public.

For more photos check here: http://therovingroninreport.blogspot.jp/2012/04/cherry-blossom-festival-at-japanese.html

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May 9, 2012 Posted by | cherry blossoms, japan, sakura | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gokaicho: 7-year festival at Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano, Japan

Every seven years, at the temple of Zenko-ji in Nagano City they reveal a statue that is normally kept hidden. The statue is a 13th Century replica of a Buddhist statue which supposedly was the first Buddhist statue to officially come to Japan in the 6th Century.

This first introduction of Buddhism set off a religious war which was more about political power than anything else between the Soga clan and the Mononobe and Nakotomi clans. The statue got tossed into the river but was later fished out and ended up at Zenko-ji in Nagano. A replica was made during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333) and that one is revealed to the public every 7 years.

The 7 year festival occurred this year and the last time to see it was the end of May so I went there during May to get a glimpse of the statue and a glimpse at Japan’s history.

December 9, 2009 Posted by | buddhism, culture, festival, Gokaicho, japan, japanese culture, japanese history, nagano, travel, video, Zenkoji | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment