“Omizutori” (Water-Drawing Festival) is one of the religious austerities performed in the Todaiji Nigatsu-do in Nara Prefecture every year. It is correctly called “Shuni-e.” Every year, basic practices are performed from March 1 to the 14th. Since winter has ended when this event finishes, it is also called the event which tells spring. This is a traditional event which continues from the Nara period, and has not stopped since 752.
Huge “Otaimatsu” (big torches) runs about the stage of Nigatsu-do, and sparks are poured from a railing. 11 Buddhist monks called Rengyo-shu religiously purify themselves by abstaining from eating meat and hold a training camp, confess their sins to the principal image of Nigatsu-do Hall Juichimen Kannon-zo (Eleven-faced Kannon) and pray for the security of the state and affluent life for the nation. It is the miraculous festival which continues for approximately 1,300 years which has not stopped once from the Nara period.
There is a rear approach located on the north side of the Kondo (Daibutsu-den [Great Buddha Hall]) of the Todai-ji Temple famous for “the colossal Buddha of Nara”, the way of the emotional stone pavement spreads out. It is the way surrounded by the white wall and the mud wall, and the building in these depths is “the Nigatsu-d of theTodai-ji Temple.” It is a stage where “Omizutori” is performed.
There is a well called Wakasa-i (Wakasa Well) which draws the water offered to “Juichimen Kannon” (Eleven-faced Kannon) in front of the Nigatsu-do. Water is offered to the Kannon in order to apologize for man’s sinfulness. It is “Shuni-e” that it became a form and it is religious austerities offered to “Juichimen Kannon.”
It is said that water vein is connected from Obama(an ancient Japanese administrative district called Wakasa) to Fukui in this Wakasa-i.
Ten days before “Shuni-e” being held by Todai-ji Temple, shinto rituals of “Omizokuri” (Water-Sending Festival) is performed in Jingu-ji Temple of Obama. It is said that the water sent by the shinto rituals reaches Nigatsu-do, and it is “Omizutori” to scoop the water.
The tradition continued for approximately 1,300 years still binds Fukui and Nara together by an invisible relationship.
|Name:||Todaiji Temple Omizutori (Water-Drawing Festival)|
|Address:||Zoshicho 406-1 Nara, Nara 630-8211 Japan|
|Access:||Kintetsu Nara-sen Line “Kintetsu-Nara-eki” station (20 minutes walk)|