The Myoken-do Hall In Nakayama Hokekyo-ji
The Myoken-do Hall In Nakayama Hokekyouji Temple
Myoken Sonsei Taisai (The Grand Fair of Myoken Star) is held in the Myokendo
Hall of Nakayama Hokekyouji Temple and Tori-no-ichi (the cock fair) where
a small Kumade (a bamboo rake) shop opens is also held in front of it in
cock days in November annually. Neighbors and supporters of Hokekyouji
Temple come to pray for Myoken Sonsei in the cock days. Though Tori no
ichi in Nakayama Hokekyouji Temple is very small, it has very long history.
Looking at the northern ski at night, there is an immovable star. It is
the polestar, and the star was deified with the god named 'Hokusin-myoken-daibosatsu'.
Generally, it is very popular and affectionately called 'Myoken-san'.
In ancient China, people worshipped the sun, the moon and the stars as they could have mysterious power and virtue, so they observed them to govern their countries. And they thought that the Polestar is the king of heavenly bodies since the all heavenly bodies they could see traveled around the polestar as the center of the heaven, then they worshipped it deeply. This was the origin of Myoken Faith. Though Cinese called Polestar Hokushin, Japanese called it Hokushin-Myoken as it was associated with Myoken-bosatsu in Buddhism. As a result, Myouken is the name of Bosatsu, it is defied the Polestar and the Great Bear with the divinity. Myouken suggests Myoken-bosatsu, it is drawn on the center of the Hoshi mandala (the Star Mandala), it is seldom worshipped alone. It is sometimes called 'Sonnosei (the respectable king's star)' and 'Hokushin-Bosatsu'. And it is ofｔen confused with the Big Bear.
Myoken-Bosatsu has some miraculous virtues of protecting territories, avoiding
fires, giving long lives, healthy childbirth, good matchmakings, recovering
eye diseases, supporting poor people and fulfilling of wishes. Moreover,sinc
some legends says the Great Bear is the sword to protect the lord of Heaven,
it is believed that Myoken is the god of the fortune of war, so Masakado
Taira, Kiyomasa Kato
and so many bushos faithfully belived as a guardian god. In addition,
the Esoteric Buddhism and in Nichiren Sect have Myoken-Bosatsu enshrined
as the principle image to recover eyedisease with 'hokuto-ho (hokuto method)'
and 'sonsei-ho (method of the respectable king's star) as skills of performing
The figures on statues and pictures of Myoken-Bosatsu have two or four
arms, he rides on a dragon, and some have the Great Bear putting on the
hands and others have the Great Bear painted on lotuses in them. Myoken-ko
is organized the believers of Nichiren Sect
who worship the Myoken-Bosatu.
According to Shinto, Hokushin-Myoken-Daibosatsu is called 'Ame-no-minakanusi'. It came to Japan, there had happened the syncretic fusion of Shintoism and Buddhism on it, and many Japanese put it very important religious position and believe it faithfully everywhere in Japan. Beside the sentence in Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) says 'When the heaven and the earth first appear on, the god whose name Ame-no-minakanusi-no-kami first appears on the world. This makes him fused with Hokushin-Myoken-Sonseio on the center of the heaven as the same god. The respectable King of Hokushin-Myoken is the divinity whose regular position is the center of the heaven, so it is admired that he is the respectable king of stars controlling all stars and gods, directions and ways, thus his power also influences among people's fate (stars). It was believed that Hkushin-Myoken-Sonseio is the god who holds power to protect all the stars and fate among the people since ancient ages.
This Hokushin-Myoken-Sonseio is the special god in the basic ideas of Taoism, Divination, Astrology, Feng Shui and the Way of Yin and Yang, so that he has the mighty power to manifest everything, Hokushin-Myoken-Sonseio is widely worshipped among common people faithfully.
Nakayama-Tori-no-Ichi (The Cock Fair at Nakayama Hokekyo-ji Temple) is
held at the Myoken-do next to the Soshi-do in Myouken-Sonsei-Taisai-no-hi,
in other words, every Tori-no-hi (The Cock Day) in November. In the Myoken-do,
Hokushin-Myoken-Sonsei is dedicated, he is the god of peace in the land,
avoiding troubles and helping to get good fortune is introduced by the Chiba Clan
According to Myoken-Hongu-Chiba-jinja Shrine Engi (the history of the shrine),
Myoken had believed faithfully by the Chiba Clan from generation to generation.
When the Founder Nichiren
visited the Chiba-jinja Shrine and took an oath of developing and flourishing
his religious sect, he got an auspicious augury, so he raised his voice
in admiration and said 'The Myoken-Son is very the thing that the god protects
my sect.' After his wish had been fulfilled, he dedicated the Lotus Sutra
with thin letters written by him.
The Washi-Myoken dedicated at The Washi-jinja Shrine and Chokoku-ji Temple came from Hokushin-Myoken, the enshrine deity at the Chiba-jinja Shrine. And alos Yamatotakeru-no-mikoto dedicated at Aidono who became a swan and flew to Hokuten or Myoken's (the northen heaven) in myth. Therefore poeple think that their wishes get to them in Tori-no-hi.
According to Chokoku-ji Temple in Asakusa Tokyo
, Myojo (Venus) started to travel and Washi-Myoken-Daibosatsu appeared,
the Founder Nichiren had prayed for the peace of the country at Kobayakawa's
residnt (there stands Shuzan-ji Temple) in Washizu, Kazusa-no-kuni
(Mobara city, Chiba prefecture). The day is the Cock Day in November
Sometimes Tori no ichi implies the market selling beautifully decorated
KUMADE (bamboo rakes) like Asagao (morning glory) Fair, Hozuki (Chinese
lantern plant) Fair and so on. Accoding to some dictionaries, Tori no ichi
is a market opening at the festival of Ootori Jinja Shrine in every cock
days in November, thus kumade might not be the main object of the festival.
Now Ootori Jinja Shrines dedicate Yamato Takeru no Mikoto as the principle
image, and the god was worshipped by sumurai worriers as he would be the
god of good fortune in battle, and people living in Edo
worshipped him as the god of good fortune in business and bringing good
fortune. The shrines dedicate Ymato Takeru no Mikoto in Edo and areas around
Edo has opened Tori no ichi (the cock fair). The beginning of selling Kumade
started at a Ootori Jinja Shrine in Hanahata Adachi-ku Tokyo since KUMADE
could scrape together a lot of gold, silver and treasures, so kumade became
the principle lucky charm of the fair. And also according to some tradition,
people would bigger kumades than they had bought them last year. Generally,
the first cock day is called Ichi no Tori, the second is Ni no Tori and
the third is San no Tori. The Tori no Ichi held in Ootori Jinja Shrine
in Shitaya Tokyo is the most famous cock fair and several thousand people
visit, so the shrine is faithfully called 'Otorisama' and 'Tori no Machi'.
In tradition, some said that many fires will happen in the year that has
San no Tori. It is because wives in Edo made this rumor to quit their husbands
to go out at night to protect their families and houses from fires.
Chiba Clan was a powerful family in Chiba-gun, Shimousa-no-kuni
(Chiba city, Chiba prefecture
There were two clans, one was the descendant of Chiba-kuni-no-miyakko,
and another one was the descendant of Yoshihumi Taira of Kanmu Heishi
. The Chiba Clan whose ancestor was Tsunekane of Heishi is the most famous.
From late Heian period to early Kamakura period, Tunetane and Hirotsune
Chiba helped Yoritomo Minamoto the founder of Kamakura Bakufu
to join his army. Tsunetane was trusted by Yoritomo and appointed the
Shimousa-no-kami (the Governor of Shimousa), and the descendants of him
had been appointed it from generation to generation through Kamakura period
, so they hold important positions in the Kamakura Shogunate and they had
very influential power in Shimousa.
After the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties
, Chiba Clan had got influential power in Hizen-no-kuni (Saga prefecture).
At Kyotoku War in 1454, the Chiba Clan in Kanto region was divided, Tanenao
led the head family and joined to the army of the Kanto Kanrei of Uesugi
Clan, but Yasutane led the collateral family and joined to the army of
the Koga Kubo (Koga shogun) of Nariuji Ashikaga. Finally, Yasutane won
the war and overthrew the head family, then he succeeded it. However, Yasutane
was defeated and killed by the army of Yoshimasa Ashikaga who was the eighth
shogun of Muromachi Shogunate
. Then his son, Suketane succeeded tne family, then he tried to build strong
relation to the Koga shogun and moved the base from Chiba (Chiba city)
to Sakura (Sakura city) to control Kokujin (samurais in his territory).
Late the Warring States Period of 1538, the Chiba Clan joined the army
of Ujitsuna Hojo of Sagami-no-kuni
) at the first battle of Konodai (Ichikawa city
) to get close to him. Toshitane got married with a daughter of Ujiyasu
Hojo, because Satomi Clan controlling Awa-no-kuni
(the southern Chiba prefecture) gradually increased the power over Kazusa-no-kuni
and Shimousa-no-kuni. Tanetomi, the grandson of Toshitane tried to strengthen
his territory. After Kunitane, the son of Tanetomi,was killed his vassal
suddenly. In 1585, Naoshige, the son of Ujimasa Hojo, succeeded the Chiba
Clan. In 1590, it was ruined by Hideyoshi Toyotomi at the battle of Odawara
The Soma Family in Iwaki-no-kuni (Fukushima prefecture) was a collateral family of the Chiba Clan.
The Chiba Family faithfully believed Nakayama Hokekyo-ji Temple and Nichiren Sect. Therefore temples and Nichiren Sect had had very influential religious power in the Boso peninsula since late Kamakura period. Sougen-ji Temple in Mobara city and Hondo-ji Temple in Matsudo city were very famous, too. And Nichiga, the fourteenth abbot of Myohon-ji Temple in Kyonan-cho, Awa-gun, Chiba prefecture wrote a dictionary 'Iroha-jisyo'.
Nakayama Tori-no-ich (The Cock Fair At Nakayama Hokekyo-ji)
The Map to The Myoken-do Hall In Nakayama Hokekyoji
The Myoken-do Hall In Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple
- The Myoken-do Hall in Nakayama Hokekyouji Temple has great accessibilities
from both Narita and Haneda International Airport.
- From Narita International Airport, take Keisei-line and get off Keisei-Nakayama Sta, take minimally 40 minutes from Narita Airport.. And also take JR Sobu-express line, transfer the line at Funabashi to Sobu-Local line, get off Shimousa-Nakayama Sta.
- From Haneda International Airport, take Keikyu-line bound to Narita, and get off Keisei-Nakayama Sta.
- From Tokyo Sta, take Sobu-Express line bound to Chiba or Narita, transfer the line to Sobu-Local line bound to Chiba, Tsudanuma, or Nishi-Funabashi at Ichikawa Sta, get off Shimousa-Nakayama Sta.
- From Akihabara Sta, take Sobu line bound to Chiba, get off Shimousa-Nakayama Sta.
- Take 5 minute walk from Keisei-Nakayama Sta, and take 8 minutes walk from Shimousa-Nakayama Sta.
- 2-10-1 Nakayama, Ichikawa-shi, Chiba-pref, Japan
The Landmarks in Nakayama Hokekyouji Temple
Takikyakuden is the main hall of Hokekyoji and it has the business office and Kishibojindo Hall dedicated to the goddess of children on the end of the long corrido of the main hall.
In spring, there is millions of cherry blossoms in Hokekyoji and in summer, lotus blooms on ryuo-ike pond. In fall, there are beautiful colored leaves. Every season, visitors could enjoy seeing the sights.
It is characterized the twin hip-and-gable roof structure (hiyoku-irimoya-style), and hengaku written by Koetsu Honami hangs in front.
It was built in early Edo period (1622) by request of Koshitsu Honami supported by Maeda Family in Kaga.
It was built in Kamakura period.
It was moved from Aizen-dou in Kamakura 700 years ago.
It was designed by the famous architect Chuta Ito, it stores many scripts
written by the Founder Nichiren.
It enshrines Kiyomasa Kato, one of the most famous daimyo in Sengoku period.
From Nov 1 to Feb 10, hundreds of Buddhist priests practice severly every year.
The henguku hunged in front of the gate was written by Koetsu Honami, famous artist in Momoyama Period.
It was built for worshipping Jurasetsunyo, Kishibozin, Daikokusama.
It is also called Sou-mon (the main gate).
The founder Nichiren built the small shrine to dedicate the dragon god
to pray for rain.
It enshrins Ugazin who is the guardian deity of Hokekyou-ji Temple.
It dedicates Hokushin Myouken Star that the Chiba Family deeply believed in, Hokekyoji traditionally succeeds. In November, Tori-no-ich is held in the site to dedicate the star.
The founder Nichiren preached first time at the Toki's castle called Wkakamiya Yakata. And Toki built a temple 'Hokkeji', it is the origin of Oku no In.
It was built in 1719 by famous caster Ota Suruga-no-kami in Kanda. It is the bigest great Buddha in Chiba prefecture.
Nichijo was the first abbot of Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple and Naki Icho is a gingko tree having a sad legend.
There are some other landmarks in Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple.
Koetsu Honami specially remained his calligraphy in Hokekyo-ji Temple, and Shiki Masaoka, Kafu Nagai discribed it well.
Cherry blossoms in Hokekyoji are amazingly wonderful.