Kyu-sho mie-ku(旧正御影供) is held on March 21st according to the Luna Calendar.
It is a memorial service celebrating Kukai’s entrance into eternal meditation.
The ceremony of gratitude called ‘Otaiya’ starts around 6pm on April 29th this year. The event continues on the next day with a morning ceremony in Okunoin and an afternoon ceremony in Garan. During this event, all the doors of all the buildings of Garan are open to the public.
Although some of the buildings in Garan are always open, Miedo (御影堂) is only open to the public once a year.
The opportunity for anyone to visit the inside of Miedo makes this 2 day celebration a special one indeed.
In preparation for the afternoon ceremony in Garan, many flowers are decorated and candles are offered there. It must be a great honor for worshipers to take part in decorating this sacred area. Yet, I think there is even more anticipation for the worshipers to join the priests in the walking tour later that night.
Regardless of which part of the event might be your favorite, considering that there is only one day each year for the public to be invited inside Miedo Hall, this fact alone makes this event worth attending.
From 18:00 in front of Miedo Hall
(1) Complimentary flowers, candles and picture cards are handed out to all guests.
(2) Dancing and Buddhist songs are performed on the stage behind the Kondo（金堂).
(3) You’ll need to obtain a ticket to be able to enter Miedo Hall and to attend the night walking tour with the priests. The tickets are free, but you have to get one in order to participate.
(4) The tickets will be handed out from a desk near Miedo Hall at 17:00
You may get a ticket for both the night walking tour and the entrance to Miedo Hall.
(5) There is not a limited number of tickets.
(1) The ceremony will start at 9:00am at Lantern Hall（燈篭堂）in Okunoin.
(2) The ceremony starts at 13:00 at Miedo（御影堂）in Garan.
This ceremony is more outstanding than the one in Okunoin. One of the main attractions of this ceremony is the procession that begins at Kongobuji（金剛峯寺）. After exiting Kongobuji the procession then heads into Garan from the east entrance（東口） until finally ending in the front of Miedo Hall.
The procession is lead by an abbot being carried in a man carried cart.
Following the cart, there will be many priests wearing their spectacular and vibrant robes.
(3) Another point of interest is the scattering of Sange(散華). Sange is a small and beautiful leaf shaped paper. In the front of Miedo Hall the priests will toss Sange into the air and let them scatter out into the crowd. Those who are able to get one of the Sange are thought to be blessed by Odaishi-sama.
(4) There will also be ikebana (flower arrangement)
(5) In addition, there will be an open tea ceremony