Visit to Sairinji Temple where the Bustling Hana Matsuri（Flower Festival）is Held during the event of Celebrating the Birth of Buddha (Kanbutsue) – Exploring Hakata Ward
Hello. I'm Takada, the writer of this article. I mainly cover articles about history, shrines and temples, but I also work on a wide range of topics such as the occult and recommended lunches, making the most of my hobbies (^^)/
April 8th is an important day in Buddhism, it is the birthday of Buddha. Buddhist services called "Kanbutsue" are held all over the country, including the birth of Buddha and enjoying the spring flowers. In this article, I will introduce you to Sairinji Temple in Fukuoka, which hosts lively events every year at flower festivals (Hana Matsuri)!
What are Kanbutsue and Hana Matsuri?
Kanbutsue refers to a Buddhist service where Amacha (sweet tea) is poured onto the birth Buddha, which is placed in Hanamido (a flower-decorated temple) to honor it. This service expresses the wish for children to grow up healthy, and it is usually held on April 8th.
Since it's held on April 8th, Buddha's birthday, it's kind of like the "Buddhist Christmas" (^^♪ The term "Kanbutsue" comes from "pouring onto the Buddha."
Apart from the terms "Kanbutsue" and "Hana Matsuri", it is also called "Joutan-e" or "Yokubutsue". "Yokubutsue" is a term that seems to be easily understood even in today's times ☆
What is the history of Kanbutsue?
The practice of holding Kanbutsue on April 8th comes from regions influenced by the Buddhism transmitted from China, known as the " Northern Buddhism ". In Japan, it is held on April 8th or a month later on May 8th. However, the " Southern Buddhism ", including Nepal, where Buddha was born, uses the Indian lunar calendar, and the timing is different.
The Indian lunar calendar's February corresponds to April to May in the Chinese lunar calendar, which is why it is thought to be held according to the current calendar. Incidentally, in the " Southern Buddhism ", Kanbutsue is called "Vesak Festival", and it is generally held around the full moon in May or June.
It's interesting to see how the same Buddhist service to celebrate Buddha varies around the world♪ By the way, if we trace back the records in Japan, we can see that the service was held during the Heian period. This shows that it has a deep history.
What to do at the Kanbutsue?
In Japan, a Buddha statue decorated with flowers is enshrined in a hall, and a Buddha statue that imitates the Buddha who pointed to the sky with his right hand and the earth with his left hand is enshrined. This means that the Buddha is honored with colorful flowers.
And at the time of the Kanbutsue, people pour Amacha (sweet tea) over the Buddha decorated in the Hanamido. This is said to cleanse the body and pray for the health of children (). It is common to be served Amacha (sweet tea) at this time, which is a tea with a unique sweetness.
This is a digression, but I went to a Buddhist school and there was an event at the school during the Kanbutsue, and one of my classmates drank 40 cups. He didn't come to school the next day....
Some temples also hold the event of Chigo Gyoretsu (procession of children). This also seems to express the wish that children grow up healthy.
Sairinji Temple in Fukuoka, where the Hana Matsuri is held.
If you want to experience the Hanamatsuri in Fukuoka, Sairinji Temple, a Jodo Shinshu Honganji sect in Fukuoka City, is famous! Sairinji Temple is located in a place with a Showa atmosphere in Fukuoka, and there is a record that there was a temple at least in the 17th century written in the "Chikuzen no Kuni Zoku Fudoki".
The current chief priest is the 16th generation, so it is a very historical temple ☆ Fortunately, it escaped the war fire in the previous war, and it is a temple that makes you feel nostalgic when you visit.
When you visit, you will be greeted by the Amitabha Buddha statue and the Shinran Shonin painting. Shinran Shonin, who opened the Jodo Shinshu sect, understood the teachings of Amitabha Buddha and preached that "if you believe in the teachings and chant the nenbutsu, you can become a Buddha". Because the ritual and teachings were simple, they were widely accepted by the common people, and it can be said that they created an opportunity for Buddhism to spread widely among the Japanese people.
The principal image of Amitabha Buddha in the temple is very impressive for those who love shrines and temples. The Buddha statue is also displayed during the Hana Matsuri, but please also visit the principal image.
What is the Hana Matsuri in 2023?
On April 9, 2023, the "Sairinji Hana Matsuri - Temple Marche" will be held. At Sairinji Temple, there is an annual event where Amacha (sweet tea) is poured over the Buddha, based on the legend that when the Buddha was born, sweet rain fell from the sky.
At Sairinji Temple, not only the usual Kanbutsue service, but also a flea market, Aozora Live, and performances by the Chindon 'Suzunoya' are held in the precincts. The Chindon performance by Suzunoya, with its ringing bells, certainly gives an impression full of a traditional festive atmosphere!
The Aozora Live is said to be a nenbutsu-based unit formed by a married couple. The husband is the chief priest of the temple and the wife is an artist who plays the piano and sings! That's wonderful (*'▽') There will also be a North Indian LIVE with Indian instruments, which is a must-see for music lovers.
Admission fee is free and anyone can participate, so you want to go, don't you?
Ａccess to Sairinji Temple
The access to Sairinji Temple is as follows.
Location: 1-25-2 Yoshizuka, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Phone number: 092-621-4424
It's a bit of a walk from JR Hakata Station, about 30 minutes on foot, and from JR Yoshizuka Station, about 15 minutes on foot, but it's a perfect distance for a weekend stroll ☆ If you like shrines and temples and want to celebrate the Kanbutsue (Buddha's Birthday) together, why not visit it once as it is held every year (♪
The area around Hakata Station is the so-called "temple town of Fukuoka from the Edo period", where there are many old-fashioned temples. You will surely find a temple of your own faith, so why not visit it while taking a walk!
Recommended spots around Seirinji Temple
The area around Sairinji Temple is a unique atmosphere of the city where the old-fashioned streetscape remains in Fukuoka. The recommended spot near Sairinji Temple is "kimi Hong Kong dessert & tea" which is right in front of Sairinji Temple, so I recommend going there to eat when you visit.
- Photo taken at "kimi Hong Kong dessert & tea" in 2023
- Photo taken at "kimi Hong Kong dessert & tea" in 2023
Hong Kong, which used to be a British territory, has desserts that have a mix of Chinese and Western sweets. This time, I tried the seasonal "strawberry egg-kun" ★
It was a pastry that had whipped cream and strawberries on top of an egg-shaped dough that tasted like a bagel! The sourness of the strawberries and the whipped cream went well with the crispy dough, and it was like a crepe wrapped in a cookie(*^-^*)
The city also has many exotic pastry shops and food stalls, so you can enjoy gourmet food as well as the Hana Matsuri when you participate. It was within walking distance from Hakata Station, so you could also enjoy stopping by when you came to Fukuoka for shopping ♪
How was it?
The Kanbutsue is a special festival for Buddhism that celebrates the Buddha's birthday, but it has developed and been passed down in its own way in Japan. Even now, many temples enshrine the Buddha statue that points to heaven and earth, and people pour sweet tea over it, praying for the health of children and the gratitude of everyday life.
Even now, the "Hana Matsuril" has different characteristics depending on the temple, and I felt again through this visit that a culture of "everyone celebrating happily" based on Buddhism has taken root in the Hana Matsuri. If you live in or near Fukuoka, you should definitely spend the Hana Matsuri in Hakata and celebrate the Buddha's birthday with everyone. I would be happy if there were people who read this article and wanted to go there.