Kyokusui-no-En

Kyokusui-no-En

April 29; first Sunday in March
In ancient Japan high-ranking people entertained themselves with a custom called Kyokusui. They filled a lacquer wine cup with sake (rice wine) and placed it in a stream. Participants sitting on a bank downstream tried to write a five-line poem before the sake reached them. They would then snatch the cup out of the stream and drink the sake.
The poems were written on a strip of thick paper known as a tanzaku . Most of the poems were waka, which is a traditional form in Japanese poetry. It has five lines with a total of 31 syllables: five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third, and seven in the fourth and fifth lines (5-7-5-7-7).
Kyokusui-no-En is a reenactment of this ancient pastime held April 29 in Kyoto. A similar ceremony is performed in Fukuoka on the first Sunday in March.
CONTACTS:
Kyoto Prefectural Tourism Office
Japan External Trade Organization
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 42nd Fl.
New York, NY 10020
212-997-6466; fax: 212-302-1581
www.pref.kyoto.jp
ACROS Fukuoka Foundation
1-1 Tenjin 1-chome
Fukuoka 2F
Chuo Ku, 810-0001 Japan
81-9-2725-9100
www.acros.or.jp
SOURCES:
IllFestJapan-1993, p. 33