FESTIVALS December 2022
GISHI MATSURI (Faithful Retainer Festival) at Kosho-ji temple
in Suehiro-machi, Matsuyama city
DOGO ONSEN NENMATSU OSOJI (Year-end cleaning) 9:30-10:00
The Dogo bath buildings are cleaned at the end of the year so that everything will be fresh for the New Year.
The baths are closed on the following days for cleaning:
Dogo-onsen Honkan (Main Bath) Dec. 6
Dogo-onsen Bekkan (Bath Annex) Asuka-no-yu Dec. 7
Tsubaki-no-yu Dec. 7 Ashiyu (foot bath) Dec. 6 till noon
(Tel. 089-921-5141) E-mail: dogojimu.matsuyama.ehime.jp
Dec. 6 HARI-KUYO (Memorial Service for Needles)
Hari-kuyo started in the 18th century in the Edo era to give women a break in those days of danson-johi (predominance of men over women). Broken or old needles were placed at a small altar and people gave thanks to the needles’ faithful service. Women did not do needlework on that day. This traditional event has been handed down as an annual event of schools for tailors, dress and kimono makers. In Matsuyama it is observed at Matsuyama Business College in 1-bancho 1-chome 4, where teachers and students of fashion-beauty course stick about 1,300 needles used in dress-making classes into large konnyaku (devil’s tongue) cakes at an altar, giving thanks to them and praying for better sewing skills. The priest of Shoju-ji chants a sutra. Later the needles are put in Harizuka (a burial mound for needles) at the temple.
Mid Dec. SUSUHARAI (Soot Sweeping) Temple Cleaning at Ishite-ji
This is not only a thorough cleaning, but it also has the religious significance of purification. The faithful of Ishite-ji will clean the temple as a rite to prepare for welcoming the New Year. The cleaning will begin at 9:00.
Mid Dec. HO-ONKO (The memorial service for St. Shinran )
At Enko-ji temple on Gintengai Street near Matsuyama City Station
Furofuki-daikon no Osettai (Service of Daikon simmered in kelp broth with yuzu (citrus)-flavored soybean paste sauce) Free servings.
Details of the event have not been announced yet.
Mid to late Dec. SHIWASU (The year-end rush)
Shiwasu was the name used for December in the old days when Japan followed the lunar calendar. It is still being used today to mean the last month of the year, when everybody is very busy trying to tidy up loose ends. The shi in shiwasu means a teacher or master in education or the arts, or a religious leader such as a priest. Wasu means to run. In other words, shiwasu is the time when even the teacher, who is ordinarily calm and dignified, has to run around trying to get everything done.
Dec. 22 TOJI (Winter Solstice)
It is said that you won’t get a cold or paralysis if you eat pumpkin or azuki-gayu, porridge with azuki beans, on toji, the shortest day of the year. Some people take a bath with yuzu peel (citron).
Dec. 31 OMISOKA (New Year’s Eve)
On this day people finish doing the yearly house cleaning and prepare osechi-ryori, the New year’s food. Late at night people eat toshikoshi-soba, buckwheat noodles, and go to a local temple to ring out the evils of the past year and pray for health and happiness in the coming year.
Dec. 31 JOYA-NO-KANE (The watch-night bell)
Joya-no-kane is the ringing of temple bells just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. The bells are struck 108 times to relieve the human suffering caused by men’s earthly desires, which amount, according to Buddhist belief, to 108. In Matsuyama, one of the most popular places to go at midnight is Ishite-ji. There you ring the bell, rub smoke from the large incense burner over your body to ensure good health and are given a pair of chopsticks and small mochi, rice cake.
Closed on the last few days of the year
Government offices: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Shimin service centers —– Iyotetsu Takashimaya, : Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Fuji Grand Matsuyama : Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Banks: Dec. 31 to Jan. 3 / Post offices: Dec. 31 to Jan. 3
City libraries —- Chuo, Mitsuhama, Hojo, Nakajima : Dec. 28 to Jan. 4
City passport center: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3 (Fuji Gran Matsuyama Annex 2F)
NOTES: Events might be canceled or postponed to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus infection. Please check the latest information.