Tengu Matsuri in Tokyo

Jan 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Festivals

Tengu is the Japanese god of mischief and patron saint of the martial arts and is sometimes referred to as “The Slayer of Vanity”.  Attend the annual Tengu Matsuri (festival), held in honor of this mythical creature from January 30th to February 1st, 2009.

Tengu Mask

“…the bird-like Tengu is a skilled warrior and mischief maker, especially prone to playing tricks on arrogant and vainglorious Buddhist priests, and to punishing those who willfully misuse knowledge and authority to gain fame or position. In bygone days, they also inflicted their punishments on vain and arrogant samurai warriors. They dislike braggarts, and those who corrupt the Dharma (law). ” Source: A to Z Photo Dictionary – Japanese Buddhist Statuary

The Shimokita Tengu Matsuri, or Long Red-nosed Goblins Festival, is held in the trendy Shimokitazawa area of Tokyo that is located just minutes from Shibuya Station.  The festivities include bean throwing, a parade and drumming.  To get to Shimokitazawa, take the Odakyu Line or Keio Inokashira Line to Shimokitazawa Station (Shimokitazawa Area Map)

Mamemaki – Bean Throwing

On January 30th, from 5:30Pm to 7PM, head to the grounds of the Shinryji Temple in Shimokitazawa to witness a mamemaki, a bean throwing ceremony.  The festival is sometimes know as setsubune and is usually held in early February around the new year (based upon the Chinese lunar calendar).  Beans are thrown at those wearing oni, or demon, costumes to ceremonially “toss aside” any evil, ill health or misfortune from the previous year and ensure the opposite for the upcoming year.

Mamemake by approximately 200 children will also take place on February 1st from Noon until 2PM near the North Exit of Shimokitazawa Station.

Tengu Parade

On January 31st head out to Shimokitazawa to witness a parade of tengu parade from the Shinryji Temple which is sure to delight those of all ages from 2PM to 4PM.

Wadaiko Drum Performance

Wadaiko is a form of Taiko drumming and will be performed from Noon to 3PM, also near the North Exit of Shimokitazawa Station.

The image of the tengu mask (above) is from my personal collection and is the image for September in the The Nihon Sun Free 2009 Japan Calendar.

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