The principle image of Motsu-ji is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagatae), and the deity of Buddhist prayers called Matara-jin(摩多羅神) is enshrined in Jogyo-do Hall. The Matara-jin image is exhibited to the public once every 33 years. Local people have worshipped Matara-jin as the deity of crops since long ago.
A prayer for good health and agricultural fertility is offered to Matara-jin from January 14th to the 20th. On the last day, a festival called Hatsukayasai(二十日夜祭) is held.
Around 3.p.m., flowers are offered to Amida Nyorai and vegetables are offered to Matara-jin in the hall. Some rituals are held.
Around 7:30.p.m., people in their unlucky years (yakudoshi) head for the hall to offer vegetables. Men in their unlucky years strike torches together on the grounds of the temple. It's called Hitakinobori.
|Ennen no Mai|
From around 9.p.m. to midnight, the dance called Ennen no Mai(延年の舞) is performed in the hall. It has been designated a significant intangible folk cultural asset of the country.
photo by Iwate Tourism Association