Oomoto Grounds at
Home of the Grand Setsubun Festival,
We visited the Baishoen Headquarters of Oomoto in the town of Ayabe on February 3 for the Grand Setsubun Festival. Ayabe is the birthplace of the Foundress, Nao Deguchi.
The grounds include this small lake with five islands in it. I was told that these symbolize the five continents.
On the largest island is a small shrine.
Many small shrines dot the grounds. Here, as elsewhere, the fruits of the Earth are offered to God.
A view of the thatched roof of the traditional building.
On the grounds is a building for pottery with kilns, a wheel, and a resident potter. Above is the older "ascending" wood fire kiln.
As in Kameoka, architecture and nature are integrated in great beauty.
Performing the ritual.
The restaurant we walked to for lunch after touring the Baishoen (the Garden of Plum and Pine Trees) Headquarters.
We ate the evening meal in this restaurant with the Mayor of Ayabe (far end of table, center), dignitaries of the town, and of Oomoto. The first person on the right is Mr. Kanakogi of Oomoto and the first person on the left is Reverend Yamazaki. The mayor told me (through a translator) that he was a long-time world federalist.
Spring Festival, and Autumn Festival
The main worship hall is large enough to hold hundreds of people. It is the main worship center for Oomoto.
The boat at the center of photo is used in certain Oomoto ceremonies.
This is a photo of sacred Mount Hongu where the Foundress of Oomoto, Nao Deguchi, spent time in communication with God.
One, very old traditional building is preserved on the grounds. Here water is being boiled over a charcoal fire. The smoke leaves through a hole in the roof, and the interior walls and ceiling are black from years of smoke.
Poetry from Oomoto followers everywhere is written on signs over the walkways.
Here are clay bowls in progress and a gas-fired kiln.
A stone tub of water for the purification ritual before worship.
The grounds include beautiful stones carved with sacred inscriptions.
The view from the restaurant window. Ayabe is on the Wachi River in the mountains 80 kilometers northwest of Kyoto.