What is the proper way to venerate Zenkoji Temple’s once-every-seven-years Gokaicho event? Asahi Beer seems to think it’s marketing gimmick, as they have slapped a big Gokaicho emblem on their beer bottles.
Here are some other Gokaicho related events — perhaps not as fun as beer but likely to be much more memorable.
Wind of Tibet Festival
@ Saihouji Temple, Zenkoji
Tibetan Buddhist monks have their own way of celebrating Gokaicho, with traditional dancing, a colorful mancala, even a Rakugo demonstration (in Japanese, nominal fee). From May 7th to 11th. More info here.
“Zenkoji Earthquake and Inariyama” Lecture
@ Kurashikan in Inariyama, Chikuma City
During the Gokaicho event 162 years ago, as many pilgrims were passing through to Zenkoji, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit. In Inariyama, one of the closest post towns to Zenkoji on the feudal Zenkoji Road, 182 villagers and 121 travellers lost their lives. At this lecture, there will be a talk about the effect of the earthquake on the town (in Japanese, but with explanatory visuals).
09-May (Sat.) Cost is 200 yen; Contact is Takamura-san, 090-9666-0852 or feel free to contact us here at Kamesei.
“Zenkoji Faith: Pilgrims and Devotions” Exhibit
@ Nagano Prefectural Museum of History, Mori, Chikuma City
Zenkoji Temple is open to all believers and its immense scale it testament to the faith and devotion of its supporters, many who make a pilgrimage at least once in their life. The prefecture’s official history museum takes this opportunity to make a chronology of that faith. If you ever wondered what all the buzz is about Zenkoji and Gokaicho, this is a great place to find out. Through 06-June.
More info here (in Japanese).