Party till you drop! OSAKA

SPECIAL: Summer is here! Special on“Naniwa Summer Festivals”!!

You can feel the coming of summer on your skin these days. It’s about time you made plans for the summer.
So, this Osaka Fan Club introduces you, earlier than others, to summer festivals recommended for the coming season and Osaka sightseeing.
Osaka, a town of history and merchants, has lots of temples and shrines long worshipped at by the people. So lanterns and pendant strips are hung throughout the town when summer comes, enlivening us with the festive mood.
We are focusing on the "Aizen Festival", one of “Three Major Naniwa Summer Festivals”, the earliest summer festival in Osaka, starting at the end of June, to pick out the points to see together with the “Tenjin Matsuri Festival” and “Sumiyoshi Festival”.
Filled with festivals brimming with fervor and spirit to blow away the heat. The energetic Naniwa people will work themselves to fever pitch with their summer festivals. We suggest you come along and experience the live fervor.

What are the Three Major Naniwa Summer Festivals?

The “Aizen Festival”, “Sumiyoshi Festival” and “Tenjin Matsuri Festival” are known as the “Three Major Naniwa Summer Festivals”, and are traditional summer attractions in Osaka.
Of the three, only the Aizen Festival is held at a temple. You may wonder why festivals are usually held at shrines. When Buddhism and Shinto were separated in the Meiji era, separating temples from shrines, only Aizen-do (Shoman-in) retained its position of a “Temple built by Shotokutaishi for Japan”, and it subsequently inherited the festival.

June 30 – July 2
Oldest summer festival in Japan, bringing summer to Osaka
Shoman-in Aizen-do (Aizen-san)

Shoman-in Aizen-do (Aizen-san)
A two-minute walk from the Shitennoji Yuhigaoka Station of the subway Tanimachi Line, this temple was built by Shotokutaishi in the first year of the Emperor Suiko Era (593) as Seyakuin (public clinic for the poor), one of four temples built at the same time. Seyakuin was built based on the Buddhist belief; it was a welfare facility that grew and cultivated medicinal plants, and used them to cure the poor. Later, Shotokutaishi preached the Shoman scripture and enshrined the statue of Queen Srimala (Queen Shoman) and from this point onward, the temple became known as Shoman-in Aizen-do. The temple is also known as Aizen-do, since Aizen-Myoo, the god of good matchmaking and happy marriages, is enshrined in Kondo.

Aizen-Myoo, enshrined in Kondo

Aizen Festival
Known as the oldest summer festival in Japan, it was started by Shotokutaishi. Generally speaking, summer festivals were originally started from “purification to pass summer” for a sickness-free summer. Aizen Festival still maintains these practices. About 30 priests get together for a big memorial service led by the chief priests of Shitennoji at Taho Pagoda, designated as an important cultural property, on June 30.

Lots of visitors come for solemn prayers to ward off evil influences and bring in good luck. Since Aizen-Myoo, the god of good matchmaking and happy marriages, is enshrined here, and aizen means indigo dye in Japanese, many people engaged in the dyeing and apparel industry and also women come here to worship.

The festival starts with the Hoe palanquin parade, recreating the scene of geisha girls in new kimono from Shinchi and Shinmachi in Kita coming for worship in Hoe palanquins in early 18th century. Actual geisha girls participated in the parade until around ten years ago, but recently they have been supplanted by Aizen Girls in yukata (summer cotton kimono) selected by public contest to brighten up the festivals.

The Festival begins with the Hoe palanquin parade on June 30

This is the first of summer festivals and a lot of Osaka folk start wearing yukata at Aizen Festivals. Therefore it is also called the “Yukata Festival”. 12 Aizen girls in uniform yukata, the stars of the festival, parade along the 1.5km road from JR Tennoji Station to Aizen-do along Tanimachisuji for about 2 hours, cheering

Here comes Aizen, Ho, eh, kah, go ♪
Pretty ones, Ho, eh, kah, go ♪
Good business, Ho, eh, kah, go ♪
Accompanying the palanquins in their original yukata are 40 women studying at Osaka Yuhigaoka Gakuen Fashion Department. “Aizen Women’s Troupe” will join in to carry the palanquins from this year, adding more color to the parade.
Full of details to catch her heart
●Discount in Yukata
Since it is Yukata festival, worshippers in yukata will receive a rosary bracelet from Aizen girls (18:00 - , 100 per day, 300 during the festival). Men and children are also eligible. Couples and families can come for worship in uniform yukata and rosary bracelets!
●Hello Kitty talisman pouch
Exclusive in summer, talisman pouch of Hello Kitty as Aizen girl (Talisman sold separately). You don’t have to be a Hello Kitty-fan to own such a cute pouch.

●Evil-free for half a year with take out
At the big memorial service, priests walk the corridor of Taho Pagoda chanting sutras and scattering imitation flowers resembling lotus petals. Flowers in five colors represent the Buddha coming down from paradise. After the service, you can pick them up to keep in your wallet or use as a bookmark.

●Taho Pagoda at sunset,
inviting romantic mood

Aizen-do is situated in Yuhigaoka which is famous for its beautiful sunsets (yuhi in Japanese). Around 18:30 – 19:00 at festival time. Gazing on Taho Pagoda in the rays of the fading sun is romantic. After the sun sets, visit the numerous stalls on the premises, turn on the hunger switch!
June 30 13:30 - 16:00 Hoe palanquin parade, 17:00 Big memorial service to pass summer
July 1 19:00 - Miss Aizen Contest
June 30 - July 2 both days  
All day Special viewing of Aizen-Myoo (national important cultural property) and Dainichi Daisho Kongo-son (designated cultural property of Osaka prefecture), presenting flower talismans, sale of Hello Kitty talisman pouches
18:00 - Souvenir for worshippers in yukata
18:00 - 22:00 Entertainment show, dance and cheers by “Sesshu Danjiri Bayashi Kazura”
●Shoman-in Aizen-do (Aizen-san) / 06-6779-5800 FOR DETAILS
●Aizen Festival FOR DETAILS
July 23 – 25 Tenjin Matsuri Festival (Osaka Tenmangu Shrine)
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine
Sugawara-no-Michizane, a famous 10th century scholar and warrior, is enshrined here as the principal deity, and worshiped by many people as a god of scholarship and fine arts. The original shrine hall was constructed in 949 A.D. on Emperor Murakami’s command to comfort the troubled spirits of Michizane. It was destroyed by fire several times, and the current main hall and the entrance gate were built in 1845.
July 23 Eve festival  
17:00 - 20:00 Moyooshi Daiko drum, Jiguruma Bayashi music, Shishi-Mai, Tenjin Matsuri Festival Bayashi music (OBP)
20:00 - 21:30 Ootoriko Mikoshi (portable shrine), Tenjinko-Shishi (Kitashinchi)
July 24  
All day Jiguruma Bayashi music
7:45 - Yoimiya festival
8:50 - Hokonagashi Ritual
16:00 - 19:00 Moyooshi Daiko drum
15:30 - 19:30 Shishi-Mai home base tour
16:00 - Dondoko Boat Entering shrine ritual
July 25  
All day Jiguruma Bayashi music
13:30 - Honmiya festival
15:30 - Rikutogyo
18:00 - Funatogyo
19:00 - 21:00 Dedication Fireworks Display
22:00 - Entering shrine ritual, Kangyosai ritual
●Osaka Tenmangu Shrine / 06-6353-0025 FOR DETAILS
●Tenjin Matsuri Festival FOR DETAILS
July 19, July 30 - August 1
Sumiyoshi Festival (Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine)
Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine
Sumiyoshitaisha (Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine) is the headquarters of some 2000 Sumiyoshi shrines throughout Japan. It enshrines three gods that have long been worshiped for protecting the nation, for protecting sea voyages and for promoting waka (31-syllable) poetry. The main shrine is designed in the oldest style of shrine construction and is registered as a National Treasure.
July 19 Evening Mikoshi - Arai Ritual
July 30 20:00 - Sumiyoshi Festival Eve Festival
July 31 17:00 - Nagoshi-harai-shinji ritual and Rei-taisai (Great Annual Festival)
August 1 14:00 - Land Procession Festival
●Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine / 06-6672-0753 FOR DETAILS
●Sumiyoshi Festival FOR DETAILS
●Mikoshi - Arai Ritual FOR DETAILS
Recommended! You may want to drop by these restaurants on the way back from the Aizen Festival.

Wassy’s Dining Souple
Always 1,000 kinds of bottled wine available! Hideaway type restaurant, run directly by a wine specialty store in Shitennoji

(Japanese language only)

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