BLOGWalking2021.02.12

The town name "閻魔前町 (Yen-ma Mae-cho)" in Kyoto

On the 16th of each month is "Yenma-sama no Ennichi (The festival of King of Hell)".

Yenma-sama means Yenma-Houo (King of Hell), and he is known for his "pull out a liar's tongue".

In addition to Chinese characters that are difficult to read, there are a number of places and towns in Kyoto where the origins are worrisome.

For example, it was one of the three major funeral sites in Heian-kyo "Rendaino".

There is a "閻魔前町 (Yen-ma Mae-cho town)" in this area where we can avoid telling a lie.

As the name suggests, it is derived from the fact that Yen-ma-sama is in front of us.

Injo-ji Temple, located in Yen-ma Mae-cho, is known by the nickname "Senbon-Yenmado".

It is said that Injo-ji Temple was founded by a court noble ONO no Takamura.

He was one of the poets in Hyakunin Isshu (one hundred waka poems by one hundred poets) and had divine power to travel back and forth between this world and that world.

It is said that he worked in the Imperial Court during the day and served Enma-sama in the underworld at that world.

Yen-ma sama is said to be an incarnation of Ojizo-sama and is in fact the closest Buddha to humans in this world.

Enma taught ONO no Takamura the "a method of welcoming spirits" in which ancestors' souls are greeted in a stupa.

To spread it, ONO no Takamura built a small shrine on the north side of Suzaku-oji Street (Present Senbon-dori Street).

It is said that Injo-ji Temple originated from enshrining the statue of Yen-ma Hoo (King of Hell) carved by ONO no Takamura.

Even today, the statue of Yen-ma-Hoo, reproduced in 1488, is enshrined in the main hall as the principal image.

The principal image statue of Yenma-Houo is usually closed to the public.

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The door of Yen-ma sama is opened on the 16th of each month on the "Yenma-sama no Ennichi (The festival of King of Hell)" and visitors can see him.

The statue of "Enma-Hoo Pope" which is enshrined in the precincts was made by a local fire company.

This is also quite powerful, don't you think?


Injo-ji Temple (Senbon-Yenmado)
34 Yenma-Mae-cho, Senbon-dori Rozanji-agaru, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City
3 minutes walk from Senbon Kuramaguchi, City bus stop

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