Tōka Ebisu十日ゑびす大祭

Summary

Bamboo charms at Tōka Ebisu at Kyoto Ebisu Shrine.

The first major festival in the new year, Tōka Ebisu is held at Kyoto Ebisu Shrine over a five-day period from January 8th to the 12th. The enshrined god, Ebisu, is one of the Seven Lucky Gods and considered the god of fishermen and commerce. The festival is based around Ebisu's birthday on the 10th  hence the name Tōka (Tenth Day) Ebisu. Though the religious ceremonies are primarily performed before the main hall out of sight from visitors, numerous goings-on occur on the shrine grounds each day as thousands flock to the small Gion area shrine in order to pray for success in their businesses for the coming year.

Kagura Dance at Tōka Ebisu at Kyoto Ebisu Shrine.

Locals and tourists alike mingle to pray, purchase lucky charms for the coming year to display in their businesses, and enjoy the tasty festival food from the stalls gathered in the area while Ebisu's song rings out intermittently.

In front of a small altar, a shrine maiden performs sacred kagura dances to bless branches of leafy green bamboo (fukuzasa) for parishioners to receive, and other maidens are quite busy helping people select which lucky amulets they want to attach to the stalk, such as red sea bream, boxes of money, and full rice granaries.

Maiko at Tōka Ebisu at Kyoto Ebisu Shrine.

On certain days women in traditional clothing (one day actresses, one day maiko) arrive at the shrine to pass out the lucky bamboo. Depending on what day you participate, you can watch a variety of rituals such as mochi making, a palanquin procession, and the presentation of a lucky fish.

An interesting local quirk at this shrine is that if you watch closely, people who make prayers go around the back of the building afterwards to rap their knuckles against a wooden panel.  It’s said that Ebisu is a bit hard of hearing, so if you want to make sure he heard your wish, give that panel a gentle tap!

Things to See/Do

  • Food Stalls

  • Kagura Dance

  • Shinto Ritual

  • Period Costume

  • Parade

  • Tea Ceremony

  • Charm

Schedule

8th: Good Luck Festival

10:00 Hoikago Palanquin Procession
14:00 Boiling Water Ritual
14:30 Mochitsuki Ritual

9th: Night Ebisu Festival

09:00 Good Luck Tuna Dedication
10:00 Hoikago Palanquin Procession
14:00 Inner Shrine Ceremony

*Open all night!

10th: Tōka Ebisu Grand Festival (Hatsu Ebisu)

11:00 – 12:00 Lucky Bamboo (from TOEI Actress)
13:00 – 14:00 Lucky Bamboo (from TOEI Actress)
14:00 Inner Shrine Ceremony

11th: Luck Remains Festival

14:00 – 16:00 Lucky Bamboo (from Gion Maiko)
20:00 Inner Shrine Ceremony
20:00 – 22:00 Lucky Bamboo (from Miyagawachō Maiko)

12th: Lucky End Festival

09:00 Gates Open
20:00 Inner Shrine Ceremony
22:00 Gates Close

Access

Kyoto Ebisu Shrine

Address

〒605-0811 京都府京都市東山区大和大路通四条下る四丁目小松町125

TEL 075-525-0005
WEB http://www.kyoto-ebisu.jp/

Admission

  • General Admission: ¥0

Hours

  • General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Closed: Never