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Takekiri Eshiki - The Bamboo-Cutting Ritual of Kurama-Dera Temple!

This video, titled "Kyoto Festival Bamboo Cutting Ritual at Kurama-dera (Takekirie)," was created by "Discover Kyoto."
The video shows Takekiri Eshiki, a bamboo-cutting ritual at Kurama-dera Temple in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.

The bamboo-cutting ritual has been carried out at Kurama-dera Temple for over 1,000 years, making it one of the oldest rituals in Kyoto.
The monks dress in armor donned by the warrior monks of old, and energetically hack away at the thick bamboo stalks.
You can hear the cheers from visitors to the temple as the monks perform the ritual.

A Closer Look at Kurama-Dera's Bamboo-Cutting Ritual

The bamboo-cutting ritual is known in Japanese as "Takekiri Eshiki" (竹伐り会式).
The ritual originates from a legend that Buen Shonin, a monk from the early Heian Period, was training on Mt. Kurama when a massive snake appeared.
Through the power of Buddhism, the monk successfully defeated the snake.

During the ritual, 4-meter-long and 10-centimeter-thick green bamboo is likened to the snake from the legend, and two groups of monks wield machete-like blades and compete to slice the bamboo in the shortest amount of time.
The event also holds significance in that it expresses an appreciation for water, acts as a prayer to exorcise evil, and promotes triumph of truth.
It is a soul-stirring and exciting tradition indeed.

More About Kurama-Dera's Bamboo Cutting Ritual

The event kicks off with a performance by the children, as they dances in front of the main shrine building.
Following this, the bamboo-cutting ritual is held by the monks.
The Kurama monks are divided into the Omi (近江座, omiza) of Shiga Prefecture and the Tamba (丹波座, tamba-za) of Kyoto and Hyogo Prefectures.
The monks who win the race to slice the bamboo pole, crowned the shoubu-giri (勝負伐り), finish the ritual by letting out a quick victory cry while running towards the head temple.

It is said that between the Omi and the Tamba (Tanba), the winning region will be blessed with a bountiful harvest.
From 4:16 in the video, you can see the monks hacking away at the bamboo stalks.

Other Popular Sightseeing Destinations in Kyoto!

Image of a woman with a Japanese umbrella walking through Kifune Shrine
Photo:A woman with a Japanese umbrella walking through Kifune Shrine

If you're visiting Mt. Kurama, definitely take the chance to stop by Kifune Shrine (貴船神社, kifune jinja).
After enjoying the beautiful natural scenery at Kifune Shrine, where the deity of water is enshrined, we recommend trying the dining experience over the riverbed!
In addition, the views of Kurama-dera Temple and Kifune Shrine during the fall foliage season are also exceptional.

There are many other scenic spots in Kyoto, such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple (清水寺, kiyomizu-dera) and Arashiyama (嵐山), so consider dropping by these as well if you get the chance.

Summary of Kurama-Dera Temple's Bamboo-Cutting Ritual

Image of Kurama-dera Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Kurama-dera Temple, Kyoto

The bamboo-cutting ritual of Kurama-Dera Temple is a magnificent event with a history of more than 1,000 years.
If you want to fully experience Kyoto in early summer, head out to the verdant Mt. Kurama and experience Kurama-Dera Temple's bamboo-cutting ritual!

◆Kurama-Dera Temple◆
【Address】1074 Kurama Honmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
【Access】Walk from the Kurama Station on the Eizan Electric Railway (叡山電車鞍馬駅)
【Admission Fee】Admission to the temple is free, but entrance to the Reihoden Museum costs 200 yen, and contribution to the protection and upkeep of the mountain is 300 yen.

【Tripadvisor】Kurama-dera Temple
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298564-d3444654-Reviews-Kurama_dera-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html

Written By
Last Updated : Aug. 12, 2022
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Takekiri Eshiki - A Ritual at Kurama-Dera Temple Where the Monks Work Together To Cut Thick Bamboo Likened To Snakes! Experience the Exciting Ritual With More Than 1,000 Years of History!
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