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Updated: January 30, 2019
Jindaiji Temple's Daruma Doll Fair is a spring institution in Tokyo. Its official name is the Yakuyoke (Ward Off Misfortune) Ganzan Daishi Festival. It is said to have started in the Edo period (1603–1867) as an event to venerate Ganzan Daishi, a 10th-century Buddhist priest who led a prominent temple near Kyoto.
Jindaiji is one of the oldest, most distinguished temples in the Greater Tokyo region, and its daruma fair is considered to be among Japan's three greatest. The fair will have roughly 300 booths, most of them selling daruma. The beautiful temple grounds and gates surrounded by crimson dolls make for quite the sight.
Once an hour between 10:00 and 16:00, prayers are offered to ward off misfortune and invite success. Around 14:00, there is a ritual where tea and traditional refreshments are offered to Ganzan Daishi. Within the grounds, you can also have a priest write Sanskrit characters on your daruma—one character for new dolls representing fresh beginnings, and another for old dolls that have reached the end of their lives.
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