Nov. 21, 2018 UPDATE

A festival where you can try lifting heavy rice cakes at Godai-ji Temple

Sharing Kyoto's writers went to Godai-ji Temple and saw how they lift heavy rice cakes, and were just in awe at how big they were!
Miyuki[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

Godai-Rikison Ninno-e festival was held at Daigo temple on February 23th. It is a popular event for lifting huge rice cakes to pray for their health. Every year, some visitors, both of men and women, participated in the rice cake lifting and they pray for their own health in this year. In addition to that, Miei( the original amulet of Daigo temple) is also very popular among local people. Daigo Station, which is the closest subway station and the way to Daigoji temple are crowded with many people who want to purchase the Miei or see the rice cake lifting event. Diago temple is surrounded with rich green and a lots of cherry blossom trees, these landscape made me relax and comfortable. Please feel and absorb an energy coming from those who challenge the huge rice cake lifting in Daigo temple.

▼Click here for more details about the event

I could feel overflowing energy

which comes from the huge rice cake and challengers

In front of Daigo temple

I was greeted with colorful flags. These vivid color flags seem to cheer the challengers of the rice cake lifting. I could feel their positive energy.

The way to Daigo temple gate

Food stalls were standing on both sides of the way to Daigo temple. I guessed that a lot of cherry blossom trees which covered the top of the food stalls will make us enjoy a beautiful landscape in spring.

Photo: Gate

The gate is a red color, but it is not so vivid, therefore I could feel a historical atmosphere.

The sculpture objects

The statues are placed on both sides of the gate. These statues keep off the bad spirits. Therefore, their facial expressions are very severe and these give a strong impact to visitors.

The way to main hall

The way to the main hall is surrounded with rich green, It brings to me relaxation and healing.

Long line to purchase the Miei

It is a big line to purchase the Miei which is the original amulets of Daigo temple. The Miei protects you from accidents anytime, anywhere regardless of day or night and the Miei is prayed by monks during the pre-ceremony. The Miei is sold on the event day only.

The board

The winners of the rice lifting in each year are written on this board. Name of winners and their time records of lifting rice cakes are described.

Main hall

The main hall is also decorated with colorful flags. If you want to visit the main hall, you need to join the people lining for buying the Miei. The huge rice cakes which are placed on both sides of the road are offered by local companies or organizations.

Round huge rice cake

Square huge rice cake

Shapes are various. Anyway, every rice cakes are really big. I have never seen this size.

Okage rice cake

The Okage rice cake is placed at the back of huge rice cake road. It is believed that we can receive the power of Godairiki by touching the Okage rice cake.


It is the stage where the rice cake lifting event is held

Application of rice cake lifting

People who want to participate in the rice cake lifting need to make an application. It is possible to apply until 11:30am on the event day.


Kyoto's traditional shops like Shogoin Yatsuhashi or Ippodo tea shop open their stalls.

Godairiki rice cake shop

Godairiki rice cakes are also sold in the shopping area. 1 bag which includes some pieces of red and white rice cakes is 500 yen. These rice cakes receive prayer in advance.

Starting ceremony

Finally, the rice cake lifting begins. At first, the ceremony is held in order to pray for successful completion of the event.

After finishing the ceremony, people are trying to lift up the huge rice cake to praying for their own health.

It can’t be lifted easily…
Shouts of cheer have been thrown from the audience. A sense of unity is born between a challenger and the audience. I can’t help cheering up.

Even though it was an extremely cold day, the place was surrounded with a hot atmosphere during the rice cake lifting.

I could catch a good energy which is created by all of the people who were there. This energy will lead to a good health and happiness.

A comment from the staff
Actually it was the first time for me to see the rice cake lifting. It was a more exciting event than my expectation. I was impressed by every challenger, they did their best, regardless each result. The woman who got the first prize in the girl’s part kept lifting the 198 lb rice cake for 6 minutes! It is an unbelievable record! Their contributions surely gave a huge health and happiness not only themselves but also the audience. It was a really great opportunity to receive energy.

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