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Mother's Day Special

It's Mother's Day! A Grand Gathering of Temples with character "Mother" in the Name!


Memories over gifts.

Mother's Day is the second Sunday of May every year.
Since it is not a fixed date, I tend to panic and wonder "When is it?" just before it comes, but are you all ready?
I always wonder "What kind of gift should I give this year?" around this time of year and I struggle quite a bit.
Flowers, sweets. Home appliances and aprons. Travel vouchers and afternoon tea tickets.
There are many different products available now, from classic items to unique ones,
but if you give a gift every year, the choices of gifts will gradually decrease, right?
(Of course, there is no problem with giving the same thing every year...)
How about giving up on a gift this year and going out together instead?

It's Mother's Day! A Grand Gathering of Temples with character "Mother" in the Name!

This time, we'll introduce you to some temples and nearby spots that havecharacter "mother" in their names, in honor of Mother's Day!
But! Before that, let's take a closer look at the kanji character for "mother".
If you look closely at the character for "mother", you can see that it contains the character for "woman".
If you add two dots to "woman", it becomes "mother". These two dots represent breasts.
It's a very direct expression, but it's interesting to see how kanji characters are formed.
Well then, without further ado, let's look for some temples with character "mother" in their names.

①Sumida Ward, Tokyo
Mokubo-ji Temple
②Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture
Butsumo-ji Temple
③Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture
Butsumo-ji Temple
④Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Futsubo-ji Temple
⑤Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture
Chobo-ji Temple
⑥Nakatado Gun, Kagawa Prefecture
Butsumo-in Temple

You can find more than you might expect if you look for them.
But it's not very interesting to just introduce them, so this time we want to pay special attention to their names.

The names of the temples

①Sumida Ward, Tokyo Mokubo-ji Temple

Mokubo-ji Temple, located in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, is a temple of the Tendai sect.
It originated from a nenbutsudou built in the mid-Heian period, and was originally named "Umewaka-ji".
The indispensable thing to talk about Mokubo-ji Temple is the "Umewaka legend". The following legend is handed down.

The plum of the Kyoto Imperial Palace
The plum of the Kyoto Imperial Palace

What is the Umewaka legend?

mejaku-maru, who was born as a nobleman in Kyoto,
lost his father when he was five years old.
He was entrusted to Enryaku-ji Temple on Hieizan, and was praised as "the best child monk".
However, that only aroused the envy of those around him.
Umewaka-maru was kidnapped by human traffickers, taken around, and died on the banks of the Sumida River.
He was only 12 years old.
The following year, his mother, who had gone mad, came to the Sumida River in search of Umewaka-maru's whereabouts.
She learned of Umewaka-maru's death from the ferryman, and was in deep sorrow, and prayed to Amida Buddha.
Then, for a brief moment, the figure of Umewaka-maru, who had passed away, appeared and... disappeared.
Chue-en Ajari heard this story and built a hall to mourn Umewaka-maru, and his mother lived there.
But one day, she followed her son and threw herself into the Kagami Pond on the opposite bank.

It's a very sad story, isn't it?
“I don't care if it's a ghost or anything, I just want to see him for a moment.”
That's how she felt, leaving Kyoto and becoming a Kyojo (madwoman).
She prayed to Amida Buddha and finally met him again, but she couldn't even hug him.
Just imagining it makes me tear up.

The temple was originally named "Umewaka-ji", but in 1590 (Tensho 18), it obtained the mountain name of "Bairyu-zan" from Tokugawa Ieyasu. Also, in 1607 (Keicho 12), when the former regent Konoe Nobutada visited the temple, he broke a brand from the willow and used it as a brush, split the character for "plum", and changed it to "Mokubo-ji".

By the way, "plum" was said to be effective for morning sickness during pregnancy because of its sourness.
"Plum" and "mother" are kanji characters with a deep connection!

Sightseeings in Sumida-ku of Tokyo
  • •	Speaking of Sumida Ward, Skytree!
    Speaking of Sumida Ward, Skytree!
  • Sumida Aquarium Goldfish galore!
    Sumida Aquarium Goldfish galore!

②Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture  Butsumoji Temple

Butsumoji Temple in Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture is a temple of the Myoshin-ji School of the Rinzai Sect
It is adjacent to Mother Farm, a tourist attraction in Chiba Prefecture.
The main deity is Maya Bodhisattva Kannon, the mother of Buddha, who is enshrined for safe delivery, pregnancy, and matchmaking. You can see that there is a connection with "mother" from both the temple name and the main deity.
This Butsumoji Temple has a characteristic in its founding. It was actually founded in 1977, a very new temple. The founder was the businessman Hisakichi Maeda. Hisakichi Maeda was known as the person who founded the Sankei Shimbun, Kansai TV, Tokyo Tower, Mother Farm, etc.

Attractions around Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture
  • Mother Farm
    Mother Farm
  • Enjoy a stop by!! Rest stop Tomiura
    Enjoy a stop by!! Rest stop Tomiura

What is the origin of Mother Farm?

I was curious about the meaning of "Mother" in "Mother Farm", so I looked it up and learned about the surprising background of Hisakichi Maeda. Hisakichi Maeda was born in Tenka-chaya, Osaka, in 1893.

His family was poor, and his mother often said, "If only we had a cow in our house, life would be easier..."
In his later years, he named it "Mother Farm" with the feeling of missing his mother, and built Butsumoji Temple next to the farm.
He never forgot his mother's hardships even after becoming a financial leader.

③Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture  Butsumoji Temple

Butsumoji Temple in Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture is a temple of the Koyasan Shingon sect. Originally, it was Hyakurenji, the betto of Kanasana Shrine, which is south of Butsumoji Temple, but it became unoccupied due to the anti-Buddhist movement.
It was revived at its current location in 1885. In 1890, it was renamed Butsumoji Temple.
The main deity of Butsumoji Temple is Jundei Kanzeon Bodhisattva.
Jundei Kanzeon Bodhisattva is said to have given birth to many Buddhas.

What is Jundei Kannon?

Jundei Kanon is also called Jundei Butsumo or Shichikutei Butsumo.
Jundei means purity and Shichikutei means seven hundred million. In other words, as the mother of seven hundred million Buddhas, she is said to have benefits for disaster prevention, longevity, giving birth, and disease removal.

④Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture  Butsuboji Temple

Butsuboji Temple located in Kokura Kita Ward, Kitakyushu City is a temple of the Obaku sect. In 1665, Tadazane Ogasawara, the first lord of the Ogasawara clan, founded Fukujuji Temple, the family temple of the Ogasawara clan, at the foot of Adachi Mountain (now Juzan-cho, Kokura kita-ku).

In 1748, Butsuboan was built as a branch temple of Fukujuji Temple to enshrine the guardian Buddha of Eiteiin, the second wife of Tadazane Ogasawara. Since then, it was treated as a sub-temple of Fukujuji Temple, but it became independent and became Butsuboji Temple at the time of the Meiji Restoration.

⑤Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture Choboji Temple

Choboji Temple is a temple of the Rinzai sect Tofukuji.
It was founded in 1179 by Yamada Shigetada to pray for the soul of his mother, Choboin. It was originally a temple of Tendai sect, but it was visited by Mujukokushi, who changed the mountain name and temple name to the current ones.
According to the Choboji Engi (origin story), Yamada Shigetada received a dream message from Atsuta Myojin (a Shinto deity) and decided to build the temple.

Choboji and Yamada Shigetada

Yamada Shigetada was a warrior from the late Heian period to the early Kamakura period. He is described as follows in the Sasekishu (a collection of anecdotes): Yamada Jiro Gen no Shigetada of Bishu was a man who fought for his lord at the time of Jokyu (a rebellion in 1221). He was skilled in archery and had a strong and superior character. He was kind and cared for the troubles of the people. He was a very excellent person. The description shows that he was very praised.
Yamada Shigetada not only prayed for his mother's soul, but also founded Chofuji Temple (now Daiei Temple) for his father and Choeki Temple (now Choeki Temple) for his brother.
Even if we take into account that Mujuku compiled the Sasekishu, there is no doubt that he was a devout person and an outstanding figure.

Sightseeings around Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture
  • To everyone from Nagoya  It is not Nagoya-Jyo, sorry for that.
    To everyone from Nagoya
    It is not Nagoya-Jyo, sorry for that.
  • Nabana no Sato in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture Good for moms who love flowers!
    Nabana no Sato in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture
    Good for moms who love flowers!

⑥Nakatado Gun, Kagawa Prefecture  Butsumoin

The last temple of the day is Butsumoin, located in Nakatado Gun, Kagawa Prefecture. This is a temple of the Shingon Sect Daigo School.
Originally, Butsumoin was located on the site of the residence of Tamayori Gozen, who gave birth to Kobo Daishi.
According to the temple's history, this is where Tamayori Gozen prayed to the local deity, Kumade Hachimangu Shrine, and conceived Kobo Daishi.

The temple precincts are full of interesting spots!

There's a mound in the temple grounds where Kobo Daishi's umbilical cord was buried.
Since ancient times, it has been worshipped for its blessings of safe delivery and pregnancy.

・First Birth Bathing Well
There remains a well from which water was drawn for the first birth bath when Kobo Daishi was born.

・Warabe Tsuka
It is said that this is the place where Kobo Daishi, as a child, made and worshipped mud buddha statues.

The year 2023 (Reiwa 5 in the Japanese calendar) marks the 1250th anniversary of the birth of Kobo Daishi. Various events and ceremonies are planned to be held around his birthday, June 15th, in Zentsuji City, his birthplace, and on Mount Koya.

A poster seen at a Shingon sect temple displayed at Sanpoji Temple in Nerima Ward.
A poster seen at a Shingon sect temple
displayed at Sanpoji Temple in Nerima Ward.

Spend Mother's Day together with your mom!

Today, in honor of Mother's Day, we have featured temples with "Mother" in their names.
The feelings of a mother for her child, and a child for their mother... These are things that have not changed throughout history and around the world.
It can be embarrassing to express your gratitude face-to-face, but if you invite her out, she's sure to be delighted. If distance is an issue, a single phone call will do. And for those whose mothers are no longer with us, a simple prayer will suffice. Being physically close isn't the only way to be near someone, after all. At least, that's what I believe.