(Shinto Ritual of Fire Walking)

Akibasan Entsu-ji (temple)

Dec. 16

A mountaineering ascetic is running
barefoot through a fire path

Faith in Akibasan became very popular
after the middle of the Edo period

Entsu-ji was established by Kobo-taishi, one of the most famous Buddist priests,
by enshrining his work of Kannon stature which has eleven small faces on her head caved
during the years of the Kojin period (810-824)
In 1391 the temple was rebuilt by Owari family as a jingu-ji which was affiliated with the Atsuta Shrine.
(jingu-ji is a temple which is affiliated with a shrine)
After that, it has been called Akibasan Entsu-ji and belonged to the Soto school.

At the shrine complex, the left building is Entsu-ji temple and the right one is the Akibasan shrine
which enshrines a god of fire, Sanjakubo Daigongen.
(Traditional shintoism and Budhism were fused together from the Nara period until the Meiji period.
However, the Meiji government prohibited that system and forced them to choose one of the two religions and let
them destroy the left temple and shrine buildings. But lucky enough, Entu-ji still keeps the traditional style)

It has been said that Sanjakubo was born when his mother worshiped Kannonbosatsu (Avalokitesvara).
Though he was born in the province of Shinano (present day Nagano Prefecture),
he left home and became ajari (a mendicant priest).
Then he became a master of the Sanjakubo, one of the twleve sub-shrines of the Koshigun Zaodo
in the province of Echigo (present day Kimpu shrine in Zao-cho, Nagaoka city, Niigata prefecture).
While he had studied the religious rites of Acala (Fudo-ho),
he suddenly felt in his hands holding a sword and a cord which
had been thought attributes of Acala, and he began to fly.
He stood on a back of white fox and they flew to the South.
They landed on Mt. Akiba in the Enshu district (present day Shizuoka Pref.).
After that he studied Zen practices under priest Daimyo at Entsu-ji.
Then he also learnd the fire-subduing secret rituals,
which led to an increase in the worship of this deity for protection from fire.

A ritual in the shrine Offerings in front of
the gomadan
A lope is called shimenawa
which shows the border

On December 16th of each year, Hiwatari-shinji is held at Akibasan Entsu-ji.
Shugenja (mountaineering ascetics) hold special rite of esoteric Buddhism.
After the ritual called Shichijuugozen-jinku which offer rice cakes for 75 gods who exist in mountains,
the mountaineering ascetics make lines and walk down to the ground from the Akibasan shrine.
That's the beginning of Hiwatari-shinji, the climax ( 7:00p.m. - )

Ignition Believers walk
around the fire
Shugenja is praying

They blow the shell horns, make sound with khakkhara (bishop's staff), hit bells and recite sutras,
and walk around a large Gomadan (the place to make special fire)
Then they hold some rituals like yamabushi-mondo (mountain priest questions and answers), Houfu-shiki, and incantations, etc.
After that, shugendo start to run on the fire for the whishes below.
Supporters of this shrine follow them and we can try it after them.

Shugenja purify the people
before walking through the
fire path
Religion of Akibasan has several
essences of other religion. A
feather fan (pic above) is a
symbol of faith in
Shakujo(bishop's staff)

Schedule of the rituals

Hibuse-shugo-daikitou 7:00-21:00 Prayer for better fortune , thriving business,
prosperity of family and perish of bad troubles.
Hiwatari-shinji 19:00-21:00 20-30 mountaineering ascetics, who are wearing white kimono and purified by the prayer, speak spells with motions of kuji for concentrations. Then run through the fire path.
This ritual is for the purpose of protection from fire, the disappearance of many troubles by fire, wind, water, theft, traffic accident, poverty, short life, and keep a mercy from fire.

<Akibasan Entsu-ji>

2-3-15 Jingu, Atsuta-ku

TEL : 052-671-6987

Get off at Tenma-cho sta. on the Meijyo Subway Line.
Take exit 1 and walk straight approximately 3 minutes.


Monthly Info.