The “Bishamonten” are dedicated to the God of war. Oiwa Bishamonten is one of the three famous Bishamonten in Japan. The other two are located on Kurama mountain in Kyoto Pref. and on Shigi Mountain in Nara Pref.
The main hall was rebuilt in 1762(Houreki 12nen) and in 1993 it was widely repaired. The principal image is 1.8inches tall and is made of pure gold. It is said to have been made by Shotokutaishi (the regent of Emperor Suiko in the Nara period).
Here many votive pictures of horses are dedicated. Visitors can imagine the situation during those times. This temple is one of the points on the pilgrimage to the Seven Deities. They said the temple was established by Gyoki, who was one of the greatest priests. This temple is one of the Ashikaga Prefectural Nature Preserve hiking course access points.
Akutai Matsuri & Tainagashi no Shiki
Akutai Matsuri (Festival)
In the Saishouji Temple, Oiwa Bishamonten which is one of the three famous Japanese bishamontens, from New years’s Eve, on Dec 31th to Jan 1st, “Akutai Matsuri” is held. This is a peculiar event during which people come and go from the temple and verbally abuse each other in loud voices, by saying “Bakayaro(You fool)”. But it is understood that words which have the “Bo” sound e.g. “Binbo(poverty)” and “Dorobo(thief)” are banned from being said.
Takinagashi no Shiki
After “Akutai Matsuri”, “Takinagashi no shiki” is held. It is also a peculiar event. In the early morning of New year’s Day, people sit up straight in front of Bishamonten. A libation (Sake offered to a god) is poured by a priest, onto a person’s forehead and nose. The sake which drips from their nose is then collected in a cup. Then they drink it, hoping that they will receive never-ending divine help like a waterfall. The signal to stop is the raising of their left hands.
Oiwa Bishamonten (Saishoji Temple) 264 Oiwacho, Ashikaga City (Ashikaga-shi), Tochigi Prefecture 326-0841, Japan Tel: 0284-21-8885, 0284-21-0211, 00310-9-6203 Fax: 0284-21-8867 ACCESS: 5mil. from JR Ashikaga Station 25min by car 3.8mil from JR Yamamae Station 15min by car, 60min walk 5mil. from Tobu Ashikagashi Station 20min by car City bus(Seseragi) get off at Mie Yubinkyoku(Mie post office) 40min walk PARKING LOT: 3 or 4 cars at the bottom of the stairs of Saishoji Temple A city parking lot is near Onna Zaka
Website: http://www.cnet-ga.ne.jp/kenta/mitsu/saisyou.htm (Japanese)