Henro 34 Gokoku Harvest


Temple 34 . Tanema-ji 種間寺

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住所 高知県吾川郡春野町秋山72
Tel  088-894-2234

ご詠歌 The Temple Song

よのなかに まけるごこくの たねまでら
      ふかきにょらいの だいひなりけり

yo no naka ni makeru gokoku no Tanemadera
fukaki Nyorai no dai hinari keri

Kobo Daishi is said to have brought the seeds of the five grains: rice, barley, two types of millet and soy beans from China and planted some here.
gokoku 五穀(米、麦、粟、きび、豆) see below
The temple name, "space between the grains" reminds us of this legend.

Some Buddha sculptors from Korea where washed ashore here in olden times and started to carve the Yakushi Nyorai Buddha statue in thanks for their rescue.


This temple features a special Kannon statue which grants wishes for an easy birth and bringing up children.

Kosodate Kannon 子育て観音

She stands in a separate hall with a roof over her head, holding a baby in her hand.

Around the open walls are offerings of water ladles without a bottom (hishaku 柄杓), with the wish for "yoku tsuujiru", the baby may pass easily".

Here is one made from bamboo with a bottom:

Here is a detail of the many offerings on the side:


The main deity of this temple is Yakushi Nyorai.

Yakushi Nyorai 薬師如来、Buddha of Medicine


Gokoku, the Five Grains 五穀

soy, wheat, barley, proso millet, and foxtail millet

They are regular items of temple food in Japan.

Farmers also pray for the "GOKOKU", meaning a bountiful harvest, at temples or Shinto shrines.
gokoku kigan 五穀祈願
gokoku hojo (gokoku hoojoo) 五穀豊穣,
the fertility of the five grains
Gokoku Hojo / English Reference : also Festivals, usually in Spring

The old state rituals of Takayamasai, Goryuusai (Goryūsai 五竜祭) and Raikoosai (Raikōsai) were especially famous.

The number FIVE also means PLENTY in the symbolic language of ancient Japan. In Chinese, it also means "all the grains and cereals".
FIVE in Chinese also refers to the five elements.

There are
The Three Guardian Gods of the Five Grains
Gokoku shugo no san nin no kamisama

One of them is Oo Anamura no Kami, another name for Okuninushi no Kami.
五穀守護の神 大己貴命(大国主命)

五穀神: Ogetsuhime (Oogetsuhime )オオゲツヒメ
the Food-Goddess. She produced food from different parts of her body.
The Land of Awa (粟(阿波)国) is called Ogetsuhime. Today it is Tokushima prefecture.
Ohter spellings of her name: 大宜都比売、大気都比売神、大宜津比売神
She is also known as "Ukemochi no kami" (Uke-Mochi-No-Kami) 食保(うけもち)神, deity who preserves food or the soul of the rice grain. Wakaukanome.

A deity appearing in an "alternate writing" quoted within Nihongi. The name uke is synonymous with uka, meaning "food," with the result that ukemochi no kami means a tutelary of foodstuffs, although some theories suggest that the kami is identical to Ōgetsuhime. According to Nihongi, Amaterasu commanded Tsukuyomi to go to Ukemochi, whereupon Ukemochi produced various foods from her mouth, including "things broad of fin" and "things narrow of fin," "things rough of hair" and "things soft of hair," and these she presented on one-hundred serving tables as a feast to Tsukuyomi.

Tsukuyomi, however, was enraged at being served foods that were "polluted" (since they had issued from Ukemochi's mouth), and drew his sword and killed Ukemochi. Hearing of this, Amaterasu sent Amenokumanoushi to investigate; it was found that cattle and horses were produced from the head of Ukemochi's dead body, rice was produced from her belly, and wheat and beans were produced from her genitals.

Amenokumanoushi took these items to Amaterasu, who was pleased, saying that the foods would serve to feed human beings. Amaterasu planted the various grains and seeds in fields and paddies, a story said to represent one type of food-origin myth.
© Nakayama Kaoru


Toshigami, originally an agricultural deity (God/Goddess of the seasons and the vegetation cycle) became a New Year deity, but to Shimabuku, Toshigami was not just a deity of the incoming new year, Toshigami was still an agricultural deity and was greeted to ensure the protection of the gokoku or five grains, rice, wheat, barley, beans, and millet, which Okinawan farmers needed grow to survive.
© www.isshinkai.net

Toshigami, 歳德神 the God of the Year

A Buddhist prayer before meals

Ten no sankou ni mi wo atatame, chi no gokoku ni tamashii wo yashinau. Mina kore Honbutsu no jihi nari. Tatoe itteki no mizu, hitotsubu no kome mo kudoku to kouku ni yorazaru koto nashi. Warera kore ni yotte shinmi no kenkou ni mattou shi, Busso no oshie wo mamotte shion ni housha shi, houshi no jougyou wo tasseshimetamae. Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

The rays of the sun, moon and stars which nourish our bodies, and the five grains of the earth which nurture our spirits are all the gifts of the Eternal Buddha. Even a drop of water or a grain of rice is nothing but the result of meritous work and hard labour. May this meal help us to maintain the health in body and mind, and to uphold the teachings of the Buddha to repay the Four Favours, and to perform the pure conduct of serving others.
Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Itadakimasu.
© www.nshi.org/Buddhisme

Here is a Daruma Kite from Hadano and Beckoning cat
They have been made since the Kamakura period with the prayer for a good harvest (gokoku hojo 五穀豊穣)

© kanagawaya


Shikoku Henro 88 Temples 四国遍路88札所

Two short Haiku Henro Trips, Summer 2005


. . . .. . . . . . H A I K U

tsuyu fukashi gokoku mai ha to shiromeshi ha

the rainy season deepens -
those who eat five grain rice
those who eat white rice

© Sato Natsuko 佐藤 夏子

Tr. Gabi Greve

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Rice mixed with five grains


. WKD : Rice, kome米 types of rice .

. WKD : Wheat (mugi 麦) .

Foxtail millet (awa), barn millet (hie) and
egg millet (kibi)
. WKD : Millet and Kigo .

. WKD : Beans (mame 豆) .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

. Autumn Festival (aki matsuri 秋祭り)
Giving Thanks for the five grains and other harvested items of this year.



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