The colorful Kokuzoji Temple festival with daruma market in January annually. Image from the official site

Each year for two days in January Kokuzoji temple (Kokuzoson) is abuzz with worshippers who come to enjoy the atmosphere of the temple’s fair. Unlike in many Western countries, New Year goes on until the middle of January in Japan. This fair is part of the temple’s New Year festivities. Thus, many people come to buy daruma and / or lucky charms at the fair (or festival as its sometimes translated). Kokuzoji Temple is located in Chichibu City. It is one of Chichibu’s Thirteen Buddha Sacred Sites and is known affectionately by locals as “Kokuzou-sama.”

Kokuzoji Temple Festival / Fair

The temple’s festival or fair is on from the night of January 12th to the 13th every year. Street stalls are lined up in the precincts and along the approach to the temple. The stalls sell Daruma dolls, lucky charms, and other items such as jewelry. Dangling trinkets and jewelry glistening silver and gold at dusk is a popular photo op at this fair. Despite the cold, the festival draws crowds from near and far away. Some people also practise hatsumode, their first prayers of the year, while attending the fair.

Information

Event: Kokuzoji Temple Festival / Fair / Market 虚空蔵尊縁日

Date: January 12th and 13th annually.

Time: from the evening of the 12th to the evening of the 13th.

Cost: there is no admission fee to the market.

Venue: Kokuzoji aka Kokuzoson 虚空蔵尊 , 4704 Kamimiyajimachi, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0024. View on Google Maps.

Access

The temple is about a fifteen to twenty minute walk from Chichibu Railway Chichibu Station and about a 30 minute walk from Seibu-Chichibu Station. If you come by the latter, check out the illumination around the station. There is free parking in the nearby Miyaji ground, which is about a 45 minute drive from the Hanazono Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway.

The featured image, at the top of the post, is from the official website.


Honjo Kokuzoson Daruma Market

Daruma Market Honjo Kokuzoson Reisai

Daruma Market Honjo

On the 13th of January annually there is also another popular Daruma Market in another Kokuzoson in Saitama Prefecture – the one in Honjo City! Apart from daruma they sell farming tools, bamboo goods and New Year decorations. This festival also draws crowds all day long.

Official event page.

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