The Candy Doctor Festival is a fun translation of Chichibu’s “Ameyakushi” festival. Ameyakushi can mean candy doctor. But its actually not that far fetched a translation, because the festival does have its roots both in candy and a doctor, kind of!…
Ameyakushi “Candy Doctor” Festival
The Ame is actually for “candy”, for the “Bukkaki candy” that was sold on the grounds of Jigenji Temple. There are still candy stalls in the precincts, but they no longer sell the “bukkaki” candy. The “doctor” of the temple is for the medicine Buddha, Yakushi-nyorai, said to be the guardian of the eye. Moreover, the name is also a pun on the season in which the festival falls – rainy season. Rain in Japanese is also “ame”.
The festival is held on July 8th annually, regardless of what day of the week it is. In 2023, it just happens to fall on a Saturday. The festival is on in the precincts of Jigenji Temple, which is the 13th stop on the Japan’s 100 Kannon Pilgrimage. Dozens of candy and festival stalls usually set up on Seijin street for the occasion. However, in 2023, it would seem the stalls will be on the Higashimachi side instead, which is actually closer to Ohanabatake station. Trivia: the Chichibu area is known as having a “festival every day of the year”!
Event: Ameyakushi Festival あめ薬師縁日
Date: July 8th annually.
Time: 9 am to 10 pm.
Cost: No admission fee
Venue: Jigenji Temple, 札所13番 旗下山 慈眼寺, 26-7 Higashimachi, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0042. View on Google Maps.
The temple is about a three minute walk from Ohanabatake Station on the Chichibu Railway line. And the festival area is right beside it. In addition, Seibu Chichibu Station on the Seibu Chichibu line is only about a five minute walk away.