Last Saturday there was a Buddhist memorial service called “Shiju-ku-nichi” for one of my family member who passed away at the beginning of April in Tokyo and I attended it.

     “Shiju-ku-nichi” means the 49th day. In Japanese Buddhism, the soul of a human is believed to stay for 49 days in the earth after his or her death. It’s said that the soul of the deceased goes up through seven stages to heaven and that it stays at each stage for seven days. 

     Those 49 days are not only for the deceased but also for his or her family. People who feel deep sorrow at their family member’s death get over the shock through the days.

     The “Shiju-ku-nichi” memorial service was held at Shogyo-in temple in Yanaka, Tokyo, which is a subsidiary of Zuirin-ji temple.

     Zuirin-ji temple is the largest among the temples in Yanaka area, established by Saint Nisshin, who had been a teacher of Tycoon Ieyasu Tokugawa, in 1591. It has a big graveyard in which some famous people’s graves such as Monto Ohkubo and Kyosai Kawanabe.

     Monto Ohkubo built a modern waterworks called Kanda Josui in Tokyo by order of Ieyasu Tokugawa, and Kyosai Kawanabe is a painter who was active from the end of Edo period to the beginning of Meiji period. Kyosai Kawanabe’s grave is taken care by my family temple; Shogyo-in. Kyosai is famous for his paintings of hell, monsters and ghosts. 

     After the “Shiju-ku-nichi” memorial service, I went to a sushi restaurant named Noike with my family in Yanaka.

     In the area, great deal of Edo Japan atmosphere remains still now. I saw many tourists looking around the area with maps that day. I’d like to visit the area someday soon without wearing black.

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