First Visit of the New Year
Worshippers come from near and far to pray for a safe, peaceful, prosperous year. The temple grounds echo with calls of “Happy New Year!” as visitors purchase charms for protection from evil, family safety, and success and prosperity in business.
A traditional celebration to ward off evil and misfortune and bring good luck and happiness. After a protective fire ritual at the Main Hall, sumo wrestlers join men and women of unlucky years (yakudoshi) in scattering beans and shouting, “In with good fortune! Out with demons!” for peace and tranquility, rich and joyful lives, and a bountiful harvest.
Spring Fujiwara Festival
At 10:00am May 1, the festival begins with a memorial service for the Ōshū Fujiwara lords. At 10:30, parades of flower-bearing children, singers, and holy men of Chūson-ji set out from the Main Hall for the Konjikidō. The main event May 2 is a ritual fire offering (goma) at the Kaizandō Hall. The highlight of May 3 is Yoshitsune’s Eastern Flight Processional, recreating Hidehira’s warm welcome of the fugitive general Minamoto no Yoshitsune and his band of retainers in Hiraizumi. The greeting procession leaves from the base of Chūson-ji at 10:00am. At 1:00pm, the main procession of 91 participants leaves Mōtsū-ji for Chūson-ji, and both groups pray and make incense offerings at the Konjikidō.
Two kinds of Noh are performed at Chūson-ji’s Outdoor Noh Stage on May 4 and 5. In addition, there are numerous other events around Hiraizumi and at Mōtsū-ji in particular.
Chūson-ji’s Noh stage stands amidst the temple’s towering, ancient cryptomerias, a perfect location for this annual performance. Begins at 5:00pm.
Fall Fujiwara Festival
At 10:00am on November 1, the festival begins with a memorial service for the Ōshū Fujiwara lords. At 10:30, parades of children bearing fall leaves, singers, and holy men of Chūson-ji set out from the Main Hall for the Konjikidō. The following day’s main event is a chrysanthemum memorial service in which participants offer up a single chrysanthemum bloom and receive one which has been blessed in exchange. This ritual is performed to ensure good health and longevity, and is based on an ancient Chinese tale. On November 3, Noh can be seen on the temple stage and local performing arts throughout the temple grounds.
Around this time, the trees begin to shed their leaves, and the temple to regain its tranquility.