Japanese traditional summer treats are the markets held at temples. Each temple has a “Merit date,” the special date for visits. “Hozuki-ichi” of each temple is held on the set dates. The word “Ichi” means outside market and “Hozuki” means ground lantern. The word is derived from the Chinese lantern plant whose seeds with orange cover resemble a lantern. The plant has been used as an antipyretic medicinal herb used for cough and poor circulation since the 1600’s. Crudely translated, “Hozuki ichi” means the market light.
The most famous “Hozuki Ichi” is at held at the Asakusa Senso-ji, one of the oldest temple in Japan, which was built in 628AD. Merit dates are July 9th, and 10th. Every year, an estimated 500,000 visitors come to this traditional event. On the July 10th prayer date, called, “Shiman Rokusen niche,” a single prayer pray on that day will be considered as have already praied 46,000 days. During the merit date, the temple site and the surrounding area host over 200 Hozuki stores.
Another famous “Hozuki Ichi” is held at the Bishamonten Zenkokuji temple. The temple acts as hosts for “Kagurasaka- Maturi” which is held at the adjacent shopping arcade. “Kagurasaka” is a historic “Geisha House” area where some are still in operation. Special guides wear “Yukata,” which is the traditional kimono summer dress. If you have a Yukata, wear it, the guides will help you accessorize. This service has become popular with many visitors and tourists.
Visit a “Hozuki Ichi” to feel the beginning of Japanese Summer!
Learn Japanese History
Learn Japanese Culture