Ishiyama-dera Temple Ao-oni Festival
A festival to reflect on the posthumous influence of the Buddhist priest Rocho, who vowed to drive away demons and welcome in good fortune.
This festival is held at the Ishiyama-dera Temple, which has a 1,200-year history and tradition as one of the 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage temples. In front of the temple gates stands a giant, five-meter-tall statue of an ao-oni (a green demon) made out of cedar branches. Legend has it that roughly 800 years ago, following the death of the Buddhist priest Rocho, the forefather of the restoration of the Ishiyama-dera Temple, the priest transformed into a green demon and swore to the people that he would cast out evil spirits and help usher in good fortune. Every year, on the 3rd Sunday in May, the closest date to the anniversary of the priest’s death, a Buddhist service is held, and followers don green demon masks in a sacred dance in reverence of Rocho’s passing.
One of the 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage temples.
- Take the train from Osaka or Kyoto stations and get off at Ishiyama Station on the JR Biwako Line, then take a bus to Ishiyamadera Sanmon-mae bus stop - Approx. 30-minute travel time.
- 3rd Sunday in May