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Updated: April 20, 2020
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), various facilities around Tokyo may change their operating days or hours. In addition, some events may be canceled or postponed. Please check official facility or event websites for the latest updates and information.
Nishiarai (also spelled Nishi-Arai) Daishi is a prominent temple that was established in 826. Since 1954, it has been hosting a daruma memorial service, a traditional event when people bring the daruma dolls they've used over the past year to the temple and then purchase new ones for the coming year. Daruma are typically used to make wishes, such as for your family's safety or for business prosperity.
During the memorial festival, which falls on the first Sunday of February in 2020, the used daruma are burned during a solemn ceremony. First, Buddhist priests signal their entry with the blowing of conch-shell horns. They then gather together and chant sutras as they set fire to the collection of thousands of daruma.
You can, of course, buy a daruma to take home. Additionally, inside the main grounds, there is a Setsubun bean-throwing event to welcome spring and to drive away bad fortune. Numerous souvenir shops and dango (sweet dumpling) stands line the street leading up to the temple, so there will be no shortage of things for you to enjoy!
Please check the official event website for the latest updates on opening dates and times, prices, and other information.