Godai Rikison Ninnō’e & Mochi-age｜五大力尊仁王会、餅上げ
The Buddhist memorial service of Godai Rikison Ninnō’e is held at Daigo-ji each year in accordance with the teachings of the temple’s founder, Shōbō Rigen Daishi. With a history tracing back to 907, monks gather at Daigo-ji to participate in ceremonies open to the public in which they call upon the strength of Buddhism’s Five Wisdom Kings (the Godai Myō’ō), including the popular Fudo Myō’ō, who is said to burn away all impurities standing in the way of your enlightenment.
Praying for the health, happiness, and peace of the country, the monks spend a week (February 15th – 21st) blessing paper charms called miei which parishioners can later buy on February 23rd and hang for protection.
On the 23rd, the same day as the largest memorial service for the Five Wisdom Kings, the temple holds another event called the Mochi-age Chikara Hōnō (Rice Cake Lifting Offering of Strength), in which participants compete to see who can hold giant rice cakes aloft the longest.
The rice cake for the women’s competition weighs in at massive 90 kg (198 lbs.), with the men’s competition set at a whopping 150 kg (330 lbs.) Participants draw numbered lots and then take turns trying to lift the mochi, which is made of two layers tied to a wooden stand with vibrant red and white cloth. In order to receive blessings of good health, people offer this show of strength to the deities.
Let the lifting competition begin! If you can place in the top four longest mochi holders, you’ll receive part of the rice cake as well as a certificate as your prize!
Things to See/Do
9:00 Buddhist Memorial Service
12:00 Mochi Lifting Competition (Mochi-age Hōnō)
- General Admission: ¥800* (Lower Daigo Area, Sanbō-in Sub-Temple and Treasure Hall)
- * The ticket costs ¥1500 in spring (March 20th – May 15th) and fall (October 15th – December 10th)
- Junior High and High School Students: ¥600* (Lower Daigo Area, Sanbō-in Sub-Temple and Treasure Hall)
- * The ticket costs ¥1000 in spring (March 20th – May 15th) and fall (October 15th – December 10th)
- General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00 (March – first Sunday in December), 09:00 – 16:30 (December – February) (last entry is 1 hour prior to closing)
- Closed: No closing days
- Tōzai Line Subway ⇒ Daigo Station ⇒ 15 minutes walking OR Community Bus to Daigo-ji Temple
- Keihan Bus ⇒ Daigo-ji-mae Bus Stop