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How Japanese people celebrate Buddha’s Birthday?

In April there are many events in Japan that involve flowers, or hana (花). And I’m not talking Cherry Blossom Festival, o-hanami, now. Held on April 8, Hana-matsuri or Flower Festival, is not what you may think of. Sure thing, spring is in the air, different flowers are blossoming, but this flower is special.Buddha's BirthdayIt is the lotus that the historical Buddha, Shaka, stepped on right after his birth. This beautiful legend gave an impulse to one of the monumental traditions in Japanese Buddhism. Formally it is called Kanbutsue. It was brought from China to Japan, and the first ceremony happened in 606 in Nara.Buddha's BirthdayMost Buddhist temples set up a small statue of baby Buddha for the celebration, but some don’t even need to – because they already have one on the premises. Like this little temple in Jiganzendera, Mita. Look how cute he is! The statue has his right hand pointing down and his left hand held up.Buddha's BirthdayHe is sprinkled with ama-cha, sweet tea made with hydrangea leaves.

Memorial services on Buddha’s Birthday are performed at all temples of Japan, but parades where all children can participate (if their parents parents pay the entrance fee), are held on weekend.Buddha's Birthday

Information

Jiganzendera

Address: Tokyo, Minato, Mita 4 Chome
Opening Hours: 10 am – midnight
Regular Holidays: Open daily
Telephone: 03-5795-3160
Access 1: 3 min. walk from Mita Station
Access 2: 9 min. walk from Shirokane-Takanawa Station
Access 3: 13 min. walk from Tamachi Station
Distance to airport: 20 km from Haneda Airport
Official website (only in Japanese):

Article by Olga Kaneda

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