Rain Rituals (amagoi)

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. Legends about Amagoi .

Rain Rituals, Dances and Prayers (amagoi)

***** Location: Japan and other areas
***** Season: Late Summer
***** Category: Humanity

For a riceplanting culutre like Japan, the seasonal rain is very important, it is a question of life and death! If the rain does not fall enough during the rainy season we have a "Dry Rainy Season" (kara tsuyu 空梅雨), like now in 2005 in Western Japan, where the terraced rice fields in my area did not get enough rain even to prepare the mud fields for planting. Many are not planted at all and the ones who were planted do not have enough to keep them watered. Water reservoirs are dried out...
Whereas in the northern districts of Japan, endless rain has caused the rivers and fields to overflow with water...

the gods of rain
swaying here and there -
floods versus droughts

This is the time when farmers turn to the Gods and Buddhas (kami hotoke) for prayer. There are some kigo related to this.

rain rituals, amagoi 雨乞い
prayer for rain, ame no inori 雨の祈り,
ame inoru 雨祈る

prayer and wish for rain, ki-u (kiu) 祈雨
amulet for rain, ki-u fuda 祈雨札
Sutra when praying for rain, ki-u kyoo 
祈雨経, amagoi kyoo 雨乞経

dance when praying for rain, rain dance, 
ki-u odori 祈雨踊り

The prayers and rituals for rain take many forms in Japan. Some are accompanied by special dances, some by a lion dance
(shishimai 獅子舞), fires are lit on the tops of mountains and sutras are chanted.

Some Rain Dances and Lion Dances are part of regional festivals held every year in spring or early summer and are quite pleasant events for the population. See the haiku of Shiki below.
But the real Rain Rituals take place during the end of summer, when the weather situation calls for it and the farmers are desperate. They have a quite different severe atmosphere.

In the following, I will try and introduce some of these rituals. Rain Riutals have already been performed during the Nara period and are mentioned in old records like the Nihon Shoki.

In some areas, large boulders are inscribed with the characters for "Jizo", but people came to call them "Jizo who loved Rain" ama koi Jizo 雨恋地蔵 and used them for rain rituals.

Gabi Greve
Reference: Saijiki for Rituals and Ceremonies


Kiu, shiu
Kiu 祈雨 refers to praying to kami for rainfall and
shiu 止雨 refers to praying to them for the cessation of rain.

Since both are rain-related prayers or rituals,
"rainmaking" (kiu) and "rain-halting" (shiu) are often grouped together.

In the earliest record of court-sponsored rainmaking, Nihon shoki includes an entry on praying to the "all kami " and "all shrines" as well as to "famous mountains and large rivers," mentioning in particular that Empress Kōgyoku personally prayed for rain. In Shoku Nihongi, Emperor Monmu (683-707) offered a horse to the Mikumari kami and prayed for rain in the 4th month of the 2nd year of his reign (699), indicating that rainmaking festivals gradually became performed to worship specific deities.

The practice of attaching the rainmaking function to a specific kami became conspicuous from the reigns of Emperor Shōtoku to Emperor Kōnin (the second half of the eighth century), and Niukawakamisha shrine (now, Niukawakami jinja nakasha) was perceived as the rainmaking deity and named Amashigami.

In the Heian period, Niukawakami Shrine remained the center of rainmaking festivals until the reigns of Emperors Kanmu and Heizei (781-809). In the subsequent reign of Emperor Saga (809-23), Kifunesha shrine (now Kibune jinja) located close to the Heian capital (present-day Kyoto), however, also became a rainmaking deity alongside Niukawakami Shrine.

From around the time of Emperor Saga, rain-halting festivals to pray for the cessation of rain and the control of wind and rain became popular. In rainmaking and rain-halting festivals from the mid-Heian period onward, offerings were being made to eighty-five rainmaking kami, centering around Niukawakami and Kifune Shrines; to these two shrines, black horses were offered at rainmaking festivals and white horses were offered at rain-halting festivals. Thereafter, both types of festivals came to be widely held at non-imperial shrines.

On the other hand, there are numerous examples of rainmaking rituals among the populace, including temporary seclusion in a shrine, rainmaking dances, angering the "Water kami " (suijin) to induce rain, invoking rain by sprinkling around holy water, and summoning rain clouds by sending up smoke from a mountaintop.
source : Shimazu Norifumi, Kokugakuin


Here is a story about Saint Nichiren and a rain ritual I remember from living close to Gokuraku-Ji in Kamakura. Nichiren is the founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and the welfare of the country was one of his concerns.

In 1271, the country was troubled by persistent drought. The government, fearful of famine, ordered Ryokan, the well-known and respected chief priest of Gokuraku-ji temple, to pray for rain.

When Nichiren Daishonin learned of this, he sent a written challenge to Ryokan offering to become his disciple if the latter succeeded in bringing on rain. If he failed, however, Ryokan was to become the Daishonin’s follower.

Ryokan accepted the challenge, but in spite of his prayers and those of hundreds of assistant priests, no rain fell. Instead, Kamakura was struck by fierce gales. Ryokan not only did not become a disciple of the Daishonin, but actually began to plot against him in collusion with Hei no Saemon.

Read more of the intriques following this unsucessful rain ritual:


Amagoi Matsuri, Kifune Jinja, March 9
The Great Rain Ritual at this shrine (Kibune Jinja, Kifune Jinja 貴船神社) , which is dedicated to SUIJIN God of Water . This shrine is located at the entrance of the waterways of Kyoto, a most important location in olden times.

Horses offered to the gods in rain rituals
Black and white horse offerings Kibune Shrine 貴船神社の馬

. Kifune Shrine Festivals and Haiku .

The Waterfall for Rain Rituals, 雨乞の滝
It is not very big and does not carry much water. It falls in three steps.

The Rain Ritual 雨乞祭

Priests spraying water during the festival.

Suzuka Valley and Waterfall, 鈴鹿谷
The Main Shrine, 貴船神社本宮
The Rock Garden, 石庭

Page with many thumbnails of the places within the precincts.

The Dragon Character of the Deity

高おかみの神の「おかみ」という漢字は (雨かんむりに口を三つ、その下に龍)

Copyright (C) 1997-2000 All Rights Reserved by Kibune Internet Project


. Tamukeyama Hachimangu and Rain Rituals
Tamukeyama Hachiman no tachi ema 手向山八幡の立絵馬
standing votive tablet from Tamukeyama Hachiman shrine


. Shrine Mimeguri Jinja 三囲神社 / 三囲稲荷社 .
2 Chome-5-17 Mukojima, Sumida, Tokyo

A student of Matsuo Basho named 晋子 Shinshi wrote a poem and after that, it rained.

amagoi ya ta o mimeguri no kami naraba

rain rituals -
if the gods are here now
to see the paddies

. Takarai Kikaku 宝井其角 .
- Enomoto Kikaku (1661-1707)
- Shinshi Ki 晋子忌 Shinshi Memorial Day


Mount Rain Ritual, Amagoi-dake 雨乞岳


In Shiga prefecture.

The Suzuka Mountain Range
Here the Dragon God resided and people prayed to him for rain. The famous giant "Dadaboshi" who lived there too, heared the people pray and decided to make a water resesrvoir for the people. He started digging and dumped the earth in a place in Suruga province. His pond got bigger and bigger and started fillilng up with water. Now we call this "Lake Biwa" and the place where he dumped the earth is called "Mt. Fuji".

鈴鹿山脈は雨乞い信仰の対象となっていて、山脈の最高峰、御池岳(一二四二メートル)の山頂はカルスト地形の湿地帯、二番目に高い山は雨乞岳(一二三八メートル)で、山頂には小さい池があって、モリアオガエルが棲息する。 山脈の北部には、龍ヶ岳(一一〇〇メートル)があり、御在所山の西には龍王山(八二六メートル)がある。龍王とは、雨乞の水神のことをいう。


kuri saite sora no hikusa yo suzuka koe

chestnut blooms
the sky so lowly
Suzuka pass

Kanehisa Michiko 金久美智子
(Tr. Nakamura Sakuo)


Detailed Japanese Information about the RainRituals at Suzuka Mountain Range.
From a b ook

Worldwide use


Drought in Kenya is probably not a kigo -- if it were, it would be a rainy season kigo.
During the dry season, dry weather is normal, even desirable, as crops need sunshine to ripen. But during rainy seasons, rain is needed, and if it does not come, we have drought, and we
potentially have famine.

There is a wonderful prayer for rain in the modern Kenyan prayer book, a powerful prayer too. Having once used it during an Evening Service in All Saints' Cathedral Nairobi, several people commented to me afterwards about the beauty of the words and the wonderful way they channelled their prayers.

Prayer for Rain
Almighty God, Giver of life and strength,
creator of rain and sky, dust and earth,
preserver of people and plants and animals :
as our cattle leave their enclosures,
as we work on a dry and weary land
we look to you, our heavenly showers,
quench our thirst, strengthen our herds,
raise our crops and refresh our land;
Through Jesus Christ, the water of life.


(c) Our Modern Services, Anglican Church of Kenya, 2002.

Isabelle Prondzynski


North America, Indian Rain Dances

Some Links to explore:

Rain Dance of Zuni
This dance is always performed at the Pueblo of Zuni on August 19th. Both men and women participate, and all are masked. ... Zuni Nick says the song varies from year to year, and it is the privilege of all to improvise the new song for each RAIN DANCE.

Learn how to do a real Zuni Indian rain dance.
This site has a lot of other symbolic dances as well.


turquoise dots
on a black stone frog -
Zuni rain prayer

parched desert -
a small spotted frog
invokes rain

- Shared by Elaine Andre -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013

.. .. ..

Island Powwow's Rain Dance Held as Drought Finally Ends

Story of a rain dance held at the opening of a pow wow.


.. .. ..


Pow-wows are the very heart and soul of life for the Native People. Dancing draws man closer to all living things and through them to unseen forces of the Universe itself. Dancing is a way of expressing feeling, whether there is sadness or happiness or a felling of friendliness. It is a way of asking for rain, for good hunting, for good fishing, for success in war.

It is also a way of thanking the Great Spirit for what he has given to his children-food for the hungry, fur to keep warm, rain for the thirst, sun for the crops, and wisdom for the foolish.

An excellent site on Indian dancing that includes details as to how and why they dance, in particular at their pow wows. The asking for rain is just one of many dances performed.

.. .. ..

The Rain that Follows the Sacrifice
By Ida Postma

.. .. ..

Sponsored byt the RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

A very comprehensive site on Indian culture and ceremony.

.. .. ..


The ceremonies are invariably called "dances. Among these are the rain dance, a puberty right, a harvest and good crop dance, and a spirit dance.

Very extensive esplanations.

.. .. ..

First Nations in Canada
An excellent site on the Canadian Pacific Coast Tribes.

.. .. ..

Sing Down the Rain
written by Judi Moreillon and illustrated by Michael Chiago




The Tibetan approach to ecology
by Tenzin P. Atisha

In the third and fourth months in every year rain is scarce in Tibet. The Tibetan Government undertook the following measures to ensure proper rainfall:

First, every year during these months, eight monks from Namgyal monastery were went to seven lakes in and around Lhasa. They would recite special texts to summon the rain.

Second, the Tibetan Government would issue a decree banning construction work, both public and private, when the rainfall was not satisfactory. During the fourth month in particular, construction work was completely stopped.

Third, the Tibetan Government would invite 'gomchen' or hermits who specialized in summoning rain over lakes, to perform special rites in the area around Lhasa.

Finally, if the rain still did not come the government ordered a mass reading of the Kangyur (the doctrine of the Buddha) in the fields for several days. At this time no meat would be served. After completing the reading of the 108 volumes, the scriptures were carried in a circular procession around the fields by monks. The public also joined in this ceremony dressed in their best attire.

Another method employed by government to summon rain was to order the public to play with water in the streets for two or three days. Even the ministers and high lamas were not spared, water was thrown over everyone who went in the streets. This was done during the months of water scarcity to prompt the water god.

Read this most interesting article here:

Things found on the way

The Park of God's Well in Kyoto
Shinsen-En 神泉苑
Already during the Heian period, a dragon was believed to live in the park and if you pray sincerely to it, rain would fall.

. 神泉苑 Shinsen-En Garden ("Sacred Spring Garden") .

Look at more pictures of this lovely historical park.

This is the park, where the famous lady Ono no Komachi prayed for rain.
Amagoi Komachi 雨乞小町. Lit. rain prayer Komachi.

Komachi ends a drought by offering the following poem as a prayer for rain:
"It is only reasonable since this is the Land of the Rising Sun for the sun to shine.
Nevertheless it is also called ama-ga-shita" (both 天 [heaven] and 雨 [rain] reads ame/ama).

kotowari ya/hi no moto nareba/teri mo sen/saritote wa mata/ama ga shita to wa

Usually depicted is the petitioning Komachi by the shore of a pond in heavy rain with a servant behind her opening a long-hand umbrella.

The famous priest Kukai, Kobo Daishi 弘法大師 空海 would also perform rain rituals here on behalf of the Tenno.
He recited a special sutra, Shoo-u-Kyoo 請雨経 for seven days in sincere prayer. Then the good dragon godess, 善女竜王, appeared and started to draw dark clouds together and voila! rain fell !
The Rain Sutra 請雨経 in Japanese:


Kuraokami, Takaokami 高おかみ神 , Kuramitsuha
Kuraokami no kami, Takaokami no kami

Kami produced from the blood that dripped from Izanagi's sword when he killed the kami of fire, Kagutsuchi.
When Izanagi's consort Izanami gave birth to the kami of fire, she was burned and died. Enraged and saddened at the loss of his wife, Izanagi beheaded Kagutsuchi with his "ten-span sword," and numerous deities were produced from Kagutsuchi's blood.

According to Kojiki, Kuraokami and Kuramitsuha were produced from the blood as it collected on the hilt of Izanagi's sword and dripped through his fingers. According to an "alternate writing" related by Nihongi, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi by cutting him into three pieces, thus creating the three kami
Ikazuchi no kami, Ōyamatsumi, and Takaokami.
The word kura is said to mean a narrow gorge beneath a cliff, while okami refers to the dragon tutelary of water, and mitsuha suggests the water as it begins to emerge, or a water-spirit.
source : Yumiyama Tatsuya, Kokugakuin, 2005

. 水速女命 Mizuhanome - Deity of water .

. Rain Rituals at Afuri Jinja 阿夫利神社 .
大山 Oyama, Kanagawa


The Dragon and Rain Rituals
Chinese ideas, such as amagoi, or praying to the dragon-deity for rain (雨乞い), probably accompanied the dragon concept. Such ideas, which probably played important roles in a rice-farming-based culture like the Yayoi, assume that the water-associated dragon-deity has control over natural phenomena such as rain, the lack of rain, hail, and so on.

Read an interesting essay about ancient rain lore.
Dragon in Japan .


Raiden Shrine 雷電神社 Shrine of the Thunder God

In the swamp of the precincts is a dragon, who is the object of the rain rituals.
雷電神社 板倉町

Kyoto, Kameoka
Izumo Daijinguu. Great Shrine of Izumo
A special dance is performed.
出雲大神宮 亀岡市丹波国一宮で、明治までは出雲神社と呼ばれていた。徒然草の一文に「丹波に出雲という所あり」と記述されており、そこに出雲大社の分霊を勧請したといわれるが、元々は御影山を神体とし、有力氏族が祀られた社であったとされる。本殿は足利尊氏が修築したもので、三間社流造の檜皮葺。祭礼では雨乞い神事である風流花踊りが知られる



kigo for late autumn

Niukawakami matsuri 丹生川上祭 (にうかわかみまつり)
Niukawakami festival

A festival for rain rituals at the shrine
Niukawakami Jinja 丹生川上神社
in Nara, October 16

For the rain rituals, a black horse was used to induce rain and a white horse to make a long rain stop.

The shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period.
In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers were sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines including the Niukawakami Shrine.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !



. Suijin 水神 God of Water .
Mizu no Kamisama 水の神様

. Mikumarinokami - Mikumari no kami  .
and shrines in her name, Mikumari Jinja 水分神社
"Water-dividing kami," tutelaries of the allocation of running water.


teruteru boozu てるてる坊主 "Teru-teru Bozu dolls"

- quote
The origins of teru teru bozu dolls
The words of the teru teru bozu song hint to us of the tradition’s origins as an ancient superstition similar to a rain spell or chant calling down rain. The difference is that the teru teru bozu spell appears to be a reversal spell to procure not rain, but fair weather. The offering of a golden bell and sake calls to mind the many ancient archaeological artifacts of large numbers of buried bronze bells that have been found in Japan during the Yayoi Period which significantly was when the rice paddy culture was introduced from the continent into Japan. Sake and fruit wines have been traditional offerings to the kami gods since Jomon times. One wonders if there isn’t a connection.

The story that is most commonly known and cited by the Japanese, as explaining the origins of teru teru bozu, however, is this:

There was a monk who promised a village plagued by constant rains that he could stop the rains that were ruining their crops and bring good weather. When the rain continued and the monk was decapitated by the unimpressed villagers.

The story rings true and plausible but hints of far older practices from prehistoric-to-proto-historic times. We know, from the oldest Japanese historical records of the mythological age and of the era of the earliest emperors of Japan, as well as from archaeological excavations (evidence is found in Asuka, Nara and elsewhere) that there was an ancient practice of human and/or animal (horse, cow, etc.) sacrifice to river gods as well as of soothsayers, fortune-bearers and virgin maidens who traveled with seagoing expeditions, and who were thrown overboard to the sea gods as propitious or conciliatory offerings.

According to scholars, the tradition of weather-watchers and a rich folk culture of hiyorimi (weather-watching rituals and practices) can be traced with certainty to Heian period (749 – 1185) continuing through the Edo period (1603 to 1867). It has been suggested that the teru teru bozu weather-watching practice/ritual in particular was adapted from a Chinese practice which involved putting the teru teru bozu on the end of a broom to sweep good spirits your way.

Continue here
- source : japanesemythology.wordpress.com


tsuki akashi amagoi odori mi ni yukan

a red moon -
let us go to see
the rain dance

amagoi ya oriori nozoku miya no soto

prayers for rain -
once in a while I have a look
outside the shrine

Tr. Gabi Greve

. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 visiting shrines and temples .


ama goi no tatsu nottekomi te se no hayashi

Fujiwara Takao

praying for rain -
the dragon rushes on
to the rapids

(Tr. Nakamura Sakuo)

Japanese Haiku about RAIN


Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

taimatsu ni amagoi-gyoo ya yoru no mine
Tan Taigi

rain rituals
in the light of torches -
mountain peaks at night

(Tr. Gabi Greve)

炭 太祇 たん・たいぎ(1738-1791)

amagoi ni yo hito kyoo yomu zoo kanaa
Kuroyanagi Shoo

for a rain ritual
he reads the sutras -
a monk at night
(Tr. Gabi Greve)

黒柳召波 くろやなぎ・しょうは(1727-1771)

Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo


Regenzauber, Regenrituale

赤土に雨乞の火を祝女が焚く  新 城 太 石(unbekannt)
aka-tsuchi-ni amagoi-no hi-wo noro-ga taku  SHINJOH

Auf der roten Erde/macht die Schamanin Feuer/fuers Regenmachen.
(uebersetzt:TAKANOKURA Yuhki)

the lady shaman
lights a fire on red earth -
rain rituals
(Tr. Gabi Greve)

.. .. ..

雨を乞ふ真夜の火柱立ちにけり  篠 崎 圭 介(1934~)
ame-wo kou mayo-no hibashira tachi-ni-keri  SHINOZAKI Keisuke

In der Mitternacht/steht eine Feuersaeule,/um den Regen zu bitten.
(uebersetzt:SATOH Kihakusoh)

a pillar of fire
lights the midnight -
praying for rain

(Tr. Gabi Greve)



Another kind of Regenzauber:

Regenzauber -
ein Netz aus gläsernen Perlen
fängt sich den Lichtstreif.

Magie de la pluie -
un filet de perles cristallines
capte le rai de lumière.

magic of rain -
a net of glass pearls
captures the lightbeam

(Tr. Gabi Greve)



From the SHIKI archives

head of Waterworks Bureau
prays for rain at the shrine
offering a bottle of sake

*Rain at long last here! Thank Rain-God.
I know a rainmaker who is head of the Waterworks Bureau of Matsuyama City. He sneaked out every morning to make secret prayers at his shrine. He believes that his continuous prayer for rain has been answered this week!

taiko drums
beating the crisp welkin -
villagers dance 'til it rains

(In some remote village it takes place.)

even the dragon
sheds tears of sympathy -
rains of joy for mortals

Takashi Nonin


>... rain dance -
>... dust billows around
>... the dancers feet

parched fields -
a farmer whittles
his own dowser*

*Divining rod to seek out sources of underground water.

Carole MacRury


desert dust; lips thirst.
still to watch rain dance, drunken
me with your sweet wet.

Look at the photo go go with this haiku:


Nakamura Sakuo and the Issa Haiga

Related words

***** .. .. .. .. Rain in various KIGO (Japan)

***** Water Shortage (Tropics)

***** Drought (hideri, Japan)


Fudo Myo-O and Rain Rituals - Amagoi Fudo -

. Suneori amagoi 脚折雨乞 .
鶴ヶ島 龍神祭 Tsurugashima Dragon Festival


. Legends about Amagoi .

- #amagio #rainritual #regenzauber -


Unknown said...

Wonderfull Gabi san.
You have done big job.
All that you have collected here
are surely helpfull for Japanese cultur's lover.

Thank you sharing it with me.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much gabi san
Hajimemashite sakuo san

arigatougozaimasu wonderful page.

I hope the land has good havest this year.
it is cool night after rain
I saw many fireflies near river in my town yesterday.


Unknown said...

Thank you, etuko san for your visiting this site.
I have not seen fireflies here in Tokyo.
If rain stop to fall in this evening, I will look for them by my bicycle.


Anonymous said...

Dear Gabi,

the free-thinker in me don't need prayers but I adore the folklore used in rain-praying. Thanks for the good work.

My respect.
Geert Verbeke

stamp your feet
to honour nocturnal flowers

Geert Verbeke

Cow Lady said...

Thanks for this Gabi. It seems there are many rituals to invite rain, but how about to convince rain not to come? I'm sure Kobo Daishi could have done it, but he is no longer around. Perhaps we have to slay the dragon...I'll keep haning out my teru-teru bouzu. Take care in all this rain!

Anonymous said...

today too
today too...
cheating clouds

kyoomo kyoomo kyoomo kyoomo ya damashi kumo


by Issa, 1821

This haiku has the prescript, "Praying for Rain."

Tr. David Lanoue

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kifune Shrine Kume 貴布弥(きふね)神社(奥御前神社)

岡山県久米郡久米町桑上 Kuwakami village, Okayama

Deities in residence

Taka Okami 高寵神(たかおかみ)
Kura Okami 闇寵神(くらおかみ)
These two are dragon deities who provide abundant water for the region.
They are the main deities of the Kifune shrine in Kyoto.


Gabi Greve - Masaoka Shiki said...

Masaoka Shiki

amagoi o yoso goto ni iu shakan kana

the plasterer says
it is not for him,
this rain ritual . . .

shakan - the stucco master

teru teru bozu said...

Tracking down the origins of the teru teru bozu (てるてる坊主) sunshine doll tradition

. . .

The origins of teru teru bozu dolls

The words of the teru teru bozu song hint to us of the tradition’s origins as an ancient superstition similar to a rain spell or chant calling down rain. The difference is that the teru teru bozu spell appears to be a reversal spell to procure not rain, but fair weather. The offering of a golden bell and sake calls to mind the many ancient archaeological artifacts of large numbers of buried bronze bells that have been found in Japan during the Yayoi Period which significantly was when the rice paddy culture was introduced from the continent into Japan. Sake and fruit wines have been traditional offerings to the kami gods since Jomon times. One wonders if there isn’t a connection.

The story that is most commonly known and cited by the Japanese, as explaining the origins of teru teru bozu, however, is this:

There was a monk who promised a village plagued by constant rains that he could stop the rains that were ruining their crops and bring good weather. When the rain continued and the monk was decapitated by the unimpressed villagers.


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

yatori Jizoo 矢取地蔵 Jizo catching the arrow
aimed to kill Kobo Daishi
yaoi Jizoo, ya-oi 矢負地蔵 "arrow-collecting Jizo"
The statue now has a wound at the place where the arrow would have hit Kukai.
In 824 during a drought, Emperor Junna 淳和天皇 (786 - 840) ordered Kukai Kobo Daishi, priest at the Eastern Temple 東寺 To-Ji, and priest Shubin 守敏, head priest at the Western Temple 西寺 Sai-Ji, to perform rain rituals at the sacred park Shinsen-En 神泉苑.
Shubin did the rituals first, but no rain fell to ease the drought.
Next Kukai did the rituals - and whow, it rained for three days and three nights.
This is known as the "Rain Ritual Fighting" 雨ごい合戦 in the records of Kukai.

But Shubin was quite angry at this outcome. He waited in ambush at the Rashomon gate and tried to shoot an arrow at Kukai to kill him.
At this moment a monk in a black robe appeared and protected Kukai, catching the arrow with his hand. The monk was a personification of Jizo Bosatsu.

Gabi Greve said...

a legend from Ariyoshidai, Yamaguchi

Zenji Kappa 禅師河童 Kappa the Zen Priest.

Once upon a long time
in the region of the cave Shoohoodoo 秋芳洞 Shohodo (Akiyoshido cave in Yamaguchi) there was a long period of drought and only strong sunshine. There has been not a drop of rain for such a long time, all the wet rice paddies had dried up. The farmers living there did not know what to do and worried all the time.

But it was not only the humans that were in trouble. At the Dragon Riverside 龍ヶ淵 near the cave there lived a Kappa who needed water, and since there were so few fish left in the river, he was always hungry. So he went to the temple Jijuuji 自住寺 Jiju-Ji, because they had a special pond with carps - and indeed - he stole one carp and ate it!

Then the Kappa heared that the priest of the temple, Zen Priest Jien Zenji 寿円禅師 had retired to the cave to pray for rain (雨乞 amagoi).


Gabi Greve said...

Manga Nihon Mukashibanashi

Kappa no amagoi 河童の雨ごい Kappa doing a rain ritual

Once upon a time
in the forest of a small village there was a little old swamp. In it lived a lone Kappa who often played bad tricks on the villagers.

One day a traveling priest came to the village, went to see the swamp and asked the Kappa why he would do such bad tricks. The Kappa said he was really distressed to be born as such a creature and just had to run around like wild and be bad.
When the priest heard this, he began to lecture the Kappa:


Gabi Greve said...

Sometimes the Daija as a deity is venerated in rain rituals.

- daija, orochi 大蛇 the huge serpent, great snake -

. Legends about ike no nushi 池の主 と伝説 the Master of the Pond

Gabi Greve said...

zui-un 瑞雲 auspicious cloud art motives
sai-un, saiun, sai un 彩雲 "colorful clouds"

amulets to bring rain

Gabi Greve said...

Chiba - Mount Takagoyama is 雨乞いの山 a mountain for rain rituals.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Nagano

佐久市 Saku

Mount Senningatake 仙人ヶ嶽 - 637 m
The chi no ike 血の池 "blood pond" of Senningatake is about 150 m to the North of 閼伽流山 Mount Akarusan.
The pond got its name from a Hotogogisu, who sang at the pond and spit out blood so the water got all red.
If a priest performs rain rituals there, it will definitely rain soon. They even did it in the Showa period.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Gifu, 小坂町 Kosaka
After a rain ritual near Mount Ontakesan a farmer went to the Jigokudani 地獄谷 the Valley of Hell, to express his gratigude.
On a boulder he saw a frightening creature with a long nose like a Tengu, sitting and staring into the valley. Soon after that a huge storm broke out.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukagawa, Koto ward, Tokyo
In 1787 during a long dry period, the villagers offered prayers for rain and also made a renga 連歌 linked verse with prayers for rain.
After three days the leader had a dream. The Kami Deity told him the rain would soon come and so it did - with quite a thunderstorm!

Gabi Greve said...

Okayama 貴布禰神社 Shrine Kifune Jinja
津山市桑上190 / Tsuyama, Kuwakami 190

The messenger of Yamanokami at this Shrine is
ookami 狼 a wolf. 狼様 Okami Sama

During the Shrine festival from the 13th to 15th day of the eleventh lunar month, in former times, there were two baby wolves born on the 14th day in the shrine. This is the beginning of their veneration. There is 小祠 a small Shrine in the North-Eastern corner of the innermost room of the building. People are not allowed to peek into this room, but may come and pray for protection from illness, disaster and other misfortunes.

- main deities in residence
高オカミ神 / 高龗神 Taka Okami no Kami / Takaokami
闇オカミ神 / 闇龗神 Kura Okami no kami / Kuraokami


Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Nagano
amagoi Jizo 雨ごい地蔵尊 rain rituals with Jizo
Once upon a time
When it had not rained for a long time, the villagers gathered at the crossroads and bound a large black boulder lying there, pulled him to the river 千曲川 Chikumagawa and pushed it in with the prayer to let rain fal soon.
And indeed, that night there was a heavy rainfall.
The villagers pulled out the black boulder and set him up to venerate, calling it
O-Tasuke Jizo お助け地蔵尊 "Jizo who has helped us" or amagoi Jizo 雨ごい地蔵尊.
To our day the villagers pray to this boulder as Suijin Sama 水神様 Deity of Water.

Gabi Greve said...

chinoike, chi no ike 血の池 と伝説 Legends about "blood ponds"
#chinoike @chinoike

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Yamaguchi, 美祢市 Mine city 秋芳町 / しゅうほうちょう Shuho town
ryuujin 竜神 the Ryujin Dragon Deity
Once there was amagoi 雨乞い a rain ritual in a cave of 秋吉台 Akiyoshidai.
The priest held a special ritual and gave a kechimyaku lineage chart to the Dragon Deity.
If the paper sinks down to the bottom of the pond, there will soon be rain.