MIKAWA CLAY DOLLS
Since suitable clay was found in Mikawa area and has long been used to make tiles, the tile makers began to form some simple dolls too.
The range of figures is wide, from Hina dolls to the Gods of Good Luck, the Beckoning Cat and other dolls for Good Luck, like our Daruma san.
Famous Kabuki actors are also part of the repertoire.
Nowadays these dolls are very rare. Dolls from various small villages and towns in the area are together called "Mikawa Clay Dolls".
Mikawa clay dolls also used to be called "Oboko" . They are simple in form and very colorful, especially the dolls of warriors and Kabuki actors.
Since the dolls had a familiar feeling they were well loved in former times, when children had no toys and things were scarce.
In the whole of Aichi prefecture, there are about 21 locations producing clay dolls, 12 of which are in the Mikawa area, especially in Western Mikawa
Most of these dolls were sold locally.
The history of TOYOKAWA TEMPLE
Inari Shrines are dedicated to Inari, the kami of rice. They can be recognized by fox statues, as the fox is considered the messenger of Inari.
This temple is also known as a SOTO ZEN temple named TOYOKAWA KAKU MYOGONJI.
It was foounded on November 22 1441 by ZEN priest TOKAI GEIKI..
The main figures enshrined are the Thousand-Armed Kannon Bodhisattva transmitted by Priest Kangan Giin and the protective deity of the temple seen in a vision and carved by Priest Kangan..Dakini Shinten...
This deity is the reason this temple is so widely known as Toyokawa Inari.%c:
Kangan Giin was a famous disciple of Dogen, the founder of the SOTO ZEN sect and EIHEJI Temple.
The 3 son of the 84th emperor, JUNTOKU, he made a great vow to bring salvation to his times, and went to CHINA for intensive Buddhist study..
TOKAI GIEKI, the founder of this temple was the 6 disciple of Kangan..
"The story was..."
Kangan's vision of DAKINI SHINTEN was about700 years ago.
In 1264 he went to CHINA to study Buddhism, and in 1267 on his return to JAPAN he beheld a wonderous appearance a vision of a deity seated upon a white fox, carrying rice and bearing a wish-fulfilling jewl in one hand.
The figure recited a mystical formula...
On shi ra bat ta ni ri un so wa ka
The meaning of these syllabes is...
"WHEN THIS SPELL IS CHANTED, THE FAITH IN ME REACHES EVERYWHERE AND BY THE TRUE POWER OF THE BUDDHIST PRECEPTS , EVIL AND MISFORTUNE WILL BE ABOLISHED AND LUCK AND WISDOM ATTAINED; SUFFERING REMOVED AND COMFORT ACHIEVED AND PAIN TRANSFORMED INTO DELIGHT"
The experience moved Kangan deeply and when he return to JAPAN he carved an image of the form he had seen and worshipped it as a protective deity...
Since that time there have been many miraculous occurrances, and today DAKINITEN is worshipped widely as a deity of happiness and prsperity who averts suffering and brings relief...
"Among the many believers .."
whose deep faith laid the foundation for the revival of this temple are...
IMAGAWA YOSHIMOTO.1519-60, general..
KUKI YOSHITAKA 1542-1600, general....
TOKUGAWA IEYASU 1542-1616, 1st edo shogun.
OOKA TADASUKE 1677-1751, mid edo shogunate official...
WATANABE KAZAN 1793-1841, painter.
IMPERIAL PRINCE ARISUGAWA NO MIYA TARUHITO 1835-95...
"The prince donated"
..a framed sign in his own calligraphy of the words..."TOYOKAWA TEMPLE"
The branch temple in TOKYO'S AKASAKA called TOYOKAWA INARI BETSUIN enshrines the statue of DAKINITEN which was worshipped throughout his life by OOKA ECHIZEN, the famous EDO PERIOD magistrate as his protective deity....
"1st WORSHIP of the NEW YEAR....."
...millions, I mean millions of beleivers from all over JAPAN, come here to pray for PEACE and HAPPINESS....
On January 1, when the main gate is opened, the grounds are packed ...so if you are in the area around that time...and want to experience being push, shoved, this is the place for you..:)
"Important YEARLY EVENTS..."
1st worship of the New year..
Second lunar month, 1st day of the horse....
hatsuuma(1st horse day festival)
Festival of souls(bon odori dance)
this festival includes a large sacred palanquin and procession of divine children and is well known LANTERN FESTIVAL...
Within the temple grounds 2 large paper lanterns, 5 meter in diameter, 10 meter in length....and countless smaller ones..
the CANDLES inside the large lanterns are 1 meter high, 35 cm thick and weight 50 kilos each..
Every month 22