Dadaoshi at the Hasedera temple


Date: February 14th, every year
Location: Hatsuse 731-1, Sakurai city, Nara prefecture
Access: A 15-minute walk from Kintetsu Hasedera Station. Or take the JR Manyo Mahoroba Line to Sakurai Station. From there, take the Nara Kotsu bus to Hasedera Sando-guchi. It is a 10-minute walk from the bus stop.

from Nara
around Sakurai city

Hasedera temple is located in a slightly out-of-the-way place in Nara. The temple was founded in 686. It is a very old temple. There are many temples and shrines like this in Nara. Todaiji temple, famous for the Great Buddha, was built in 741, so it is older than that. If Todaiji Temple is famous for the Great Buddha, Hasedera temple is famous for the Kannon (Goddess of Mercy), which is said to have been created in 727, but was destroyed by fire several times, and the current statue was rebuilt in 1538.

だだおし 長谷寺公式サイト

Dadaoshi” is the final stage of the annual event, called “Shunie 修二会” hel-d at this temple in February to drive out demons.

Shuni-e is a Buddhist ritual that began in the Nara period (710-794), where people repent before the Buddha for the sins they have committed during the year without knowing. It is held in various places, but the most famous one is at Todaiji Temple. The ceremony, commonly called “Omizutori,” is held for two weeks from the first day of March, the most famous being the 13th. The most famous ceremony is held on the 13th, which usually lasts about 10 minutes, but lasts 45 minutes on this day. Because of the large number of spectators, admission is sometimes restricted. I won’t go into detail about it here, so please confer another site.
Now, even though it’s not that big, the most famous one is “Dadaoshi”.

The Shuni-e at this temple started about a week ago, and the last day will be on the 14th. Around 3:00 p.m., monks bring the seven treasures in the main hall and the ceremony begins. The monks run around the hall and so on. This does not mean they are being idle, nor are they pressed for time. This ritual is supposed to take place in the virtual world of the Buddha, called “tosotsuten,” where things move hundreds of times faster than in the human world, so they are trying to catch up as much as possible. After four o’clock in the afternoon, the last treasure, called “Gofuda,” is taken out. This is the most powerful talisman that the founder of the temple received from Enma, the king of hell, a long time ago. When it appears , the demons (ogres), who have finally lost their patience, come running out.

There are a total of three types of ogre masks. The blue and green masks are relatively recent, but only the red mask was made in the Edo period. The red mask is different from the other masks in terms of power. The red mask represents this event, so it is often seen on the posters. It is not only different in size, but also in carving technique and outstanding expressiveness.

Then, the Buddhist monk presses something called a “danda-in” on the forehead of the attendant. At this point, the demons, unable to take it anymore, run out toward the cloister. This Danda stamp is said to be the origin of the word “Dadaoshi.

The most powerful part is the big torch that follows behind the ogres. A large torch is said to weigh more than 150 kg, and it takes four people to carry it. As a result, the torches swing left and right, and fire sparks fall on the audience each time. It is said that being exposed to these fire sparks will keep people healthy, but it is necessary to be very careful about how you dress. So, a firefighter sprinkles water right behind torches and chases after them. These can be viewed outside the hall, on the cloister side, for an entrance fee only, or you can watch the ceremony inside the hall by applying for a paid Goufuda.

And finally, the red ogre, the last boss, comes out. The people playing the role of the demons are said to have drunk sake to cheer themselves up before appearing on stage, so they wander around the corridors, scaring people.
The rhapsody lasts about 15 minutes. By 5:00 p.m., it was all over. After that, everything goes back to normal in an instant. People take the burnt-out torches home as a souvenir. When this ceremony is over, spring will soon arrive in the area.

Surprisingly, this main hall is actually a national treasure. Hase Temple is also dotted with various other facilities such as a five-story pagoda, and it is also a temple of flowers where seasonal flowers bloom all year round. The long staircase leading to the main hall is the most beautiful part of the temple. It’s worth taking a short walk to see. A different kind of Nara. A different kind of Japan. That’s what you’ll find here.

Follow me!