Daruma fairs are held throughout Japan at the beginning of the year. Daruma are round dolls painted bright red in the likeness of Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who founded Zen Buddhism in the sixth century. Legend has it that the monk sat meditating in a cave for so long (nine years!) that he lost the use of his legs. After purchasing a daruma, you are supposed to paint one of its eyes while setting a goal for yourself. Upon achieving your goal, you then paint in the second eye to thank the daruma for its assistance. At the Takasaki festival held in Gunma Prefecture, over 110 stalls are set up on the temple grounds selling around 20,000 dolls each year to the more than 300,000 visitors.

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