Ema Ichi Marcket

Ema are religious wooden plaque on which you write your wishes at a Japanese shrine.

A long time ago, farmers dedicated religious paper plaques (kami ema) for the Matsukura Kannon which is located in southwest Takayama. They wished for the safety of their cows and horses, or for an abundant harvest of silkworm cocoons. Sometimes they brought their cattle to the Kannon for their safety. The Ema Market is where these paper plaques are sold.

People believe if you put a dedicated ema on the wall of a house entrance, your family will be prosperous and healthy. The ema Market is around the 9th and 10th of August at Matsukura Kannon temple, Hon-machi 2 chome, Sogen Temple in the Higashiyama Teramachi.

You may purchase ema at the night market in front of Jinya from the 11th to 13th of August.

Farmers used to put ema outside as cows and horses worked outdoors. Meanwhile merchants put ema inside their houses to attract spiritual horses for the safety of their families and for business success. Nowadays, this is a common practice.

Paper ema were invented approximately 160 years ago. Until Taisyo era (1912-1926) people used visit Matsukura Kannon taking their actual cows and horses, however they were substituted with paper ema.

Not only locals but also many visitors from around the country have visited Matsukura Kannon, Yamazakura Shrine and Sogen Temple. It is one of the popular summer events in Hida Takayama and an important local custom related to folk beliefs.

Some ema are colourful hand drawn while others are woodblock prints with muted colors. In paper ema, horses bend their neck to pray for the kannon.

Ema cost about 2000 Yen dependant on their size, they have become popular recently as souvenirs.

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