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Held every January 4 and 5, “Batabata Ichi” is the first bazaar of the new year at Mt. Kanboku’s Anchoji Temple. The tradition is said to have started with the bartering fair begun by imperial estate administrator and founder of Anchoji Temple, Amagi Yasunaga (for whom the region was also named), while the name “Batabata Ichi” is rumored to have come from the name for a spinning drum toy (“Amagi batabata”) that was sold on the temple grounds and supposedly warded off smallpox.
Toy drums are still sold today and come in two patterns (the faces of a young boy and a young girl), which are customarily bought as a set. Even now when the fear of smallpox has been virtually eliminated, many people praying for their child’s healthy growth buy them!
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