Calendar of Observances

Beginning of the year

January 1

Gantan'e (Shusho'e/ New Year's Day Service)

January 8

Ogoshin (Cleaning of Shinran Shonin's image)

January 9-16

Goshoki Ho'onko (Memorial Service for Shinran Shonin)
A week-long annual service culminating on Shinran Shonin's memorial day, January 16. Ho'onko is the largest among annual Hongwanji observances. Jodo Shinshu followers from throughout Japan and overseas visit Hongwanji during this time to pay respects to our beloved founder.


  • Memorial service

  • Vegetarian meal (advance reservation required)

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Early half of January

Seijinshiki (Coming-of-Age Ceremony)

February 7

Kisaragi-ki (Memorial Service for Lady Kujo Takeko)
Lady Kujo Takeko, the sister of the 22nd Monshu, Ohtani Kozui, is known for her efforts as the founder of the Buddhist Women's Association and her volunteer work during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

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Spring

7 days centering
the spring equinox

Higan'e (Spring Equinox)

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April 8

Hanamatsuri (flower festival) / Kambutsu'e (Buddha's Birthday)
Celebrating the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha, visitors to Hongwanji can take part in pouring sweet tea on the statue of baby Buddha that is placed in a small decorative pavillion. Other observances recognizing Sakyamuni Buddha include Jodo'e or Bodhi Day on December 8, which is said to be the day Buddha became enlightened and Nehan'e or Nirvana Day, on February 15, which is believed to be the day when Sakyamuni passed away.

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April 13-15

Spring Service
April 15, the last day of the annual Spring Services, coincides with the observance of the Rikkyo Kaishu Kinen Hoyo (the Establishment of Jodo Shinshu).

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April 17 & 18

Eitaikyo (Perpetual Memorial) at Otani Mausoleum

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May 20 & 21

Gotan'e (Founder's Birthday)
Shinran Shonin, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu teaching, was born on May 21, 1173 at Hino, southeast of central Kyoto. A variety of events including a Noh performance and tea ceremony in the Hiunkaku pavilion (National Treasure) are conducted annually on this day.


  • Noh Performance

  • Tea Ceremony

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Summer

June 8-11

Eitaikyo (Perpetual Memorial) at Otani Mausoleum

Late July to Early August

Jido Nembutsu Hoshidan (Nembutsu Volunteer Program for Children)
A 2-day summer program for children (grades 3 to 7) inviting them to experience being at Hongwanji while learning about the Jodo Shinshu teaching and nurturing their appreciation for religion.

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Early August

Bon Dance Festival

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August 6-10

Morning Dharma Gathering at Otani Mausoleum

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August 6 -10

Urabon'e (Ullambana / O-Bon observance)
Also referred to as Kangi'e (Gathering of Joy), based on the legend of a disciple of Sakyamuni Buddha, Mogallana. Wanting to save his mother who fell into the realm of hungry ghosts, Mogallana conducted Dharma gatherings following the Buddha's advice. As a result, his mother was saved and he rejoiced.

August 15

Memorial for Those Who Perished in War
Conducted at Otani Mausoleum

Autumn

September 18

Memorial Service for All Who Perished in War(Conducted in Tokyo at Chidorigafuchi National Memorial Park)

7 days centering
the autumnal equinox

Higan'e (Autumn Equinox)

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October 15 & 16

Ryukoku'e (Memorial for Shinran Shonin) at Otani Mausoleum
In Jodo Shinshu tradition, the annual memorial observance for Shinran Shonin is known as Ho'onko (lit., gathering expressing appreciation) and is an opportunity in expressing our gratitude to Shinran. Ryukoku'e is the observance of Ho'onko that is conducted at Otani Mausoleum, which features the traditional procession of costumed priests and lay followers between the temple hall and Shinran's gravesite.

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Mid-October to November 23

Chrysanthemum Exhibition(Co-sponsored by the Kyoto Chrysanthemum Prosperity Association)
A wide variety of potted chrysanthemums are contributed and displayed in the courtyard for visitors to Hongwanji to enjoy.

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November 22 & 23

Eitaikyo (Perpetual Memorial) at Hongwanji

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Winter

December 20

Osusuharai (Year-end Cleaning)
Annual cleaning of the main temple halls by beating the dust that collected over the year out of the tatami mats using bamboo slits and blowing the dust out of the temple halls by using enormous paper fans has become a public attraction.


  • Volunteers cleaning

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December 31

Joya'e (New Year's Eve Service)

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