Don’t leave Tokyo without goin to a fire ceremony! (Photo courtesy of Fukukgawa Fudo-san website)
This is a true undiscovered gem of an Old Tokyo neighborhood. Let’s start by going to a fire ceremony at the
temple, and end up under the cherry blossoms! Fukugawa Fudo-san
Fire ceremonies are held in the traditional temple building to the right; the hall of 10,000 Fudo figures is in the modern building to the left.
If you think Buddhist ceremonies are all about serenity and Zen, it’s time to meet the holy roller taiko drumming version! (Photo courtesy of Fukukgawa Fudo-san website)
Patrons pay to have the priest send their prayers to Fudo-san by tossing them on the bonfire in front of the altar. (Photo courtesy of Fukukgawa Fudo-san website)
Afterwards, let’s go into the big modern cube next door, the one with the Fudo sutra written all over the outside in giant Sanskrit characters.
Inside is a fantastic winding corridor lined floor to ceiling with 10,000 crystal figures of Fudo-san. See the 108 giant round beads on the wall? It’s a huge Buddhist rosary, and the devout can pray as they walk along, beneath the gaze of the many Fudo-sans.
The ten thousand tiny statues are carved from the same 700-year-old cedar as the giant Fudo figure at the entrance. Each of these crystal figures can be sponsored as a memorial for a departed loved one.
Now let’s detour upstairs and see the room with the glow-in-the-dark saints
Every one is different (that fiery guy is a representation of Fudo-san himself). Beneath each painting is an offering box and a prayer wheel you can spin.
The temple is filled with other truly gorgeous traditional representations of Buddhist deities, as well as the many figures of Fudo-san.
Back outside, let’s not leave before we make a wish at the dragon fountain!
The three Shenzen dragons are said to grant wishes written on special paper you can buy for ¥100, if they dissolve completely in the fountain. See the ones floating on top of the water, near the end?
The table for buying paper and writing wishes is to the left of the fountain.
And if we happen to be in Monzen Nakacho at the right time of year (late March – early April) we can walk to the bridges crossing the canal by the station to see one of the best displays of
cherry blossoms in all of Tokyo.
Here’s how they look during the day…
Strolling along the canal under the cherry trees is a real treat – gorgeous and uncrowded – especially at twilight when they light the lanterns strung through all the trees.
Next, let’s head down the street to the
Tomioka Shrine, which is a big red and gold one.
The path leading to this small sub-shrine is lined with a particularly beautiful kind of late-blooming cherry
MONZEN-NAKACHO AREA MAP
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it… read more
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.”
Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine , and blogs at Japanagram and Only In Japan The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had