Monzen-Nakacho Area

FudoFireCeremony2

This is a true undiscovered gem of an Old Tokyo neighborhood. Let’s start by going to a fire ceremony at the Fukugawa Fudo temple, and end up under the cherry blossoms!

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. The characters on the outside are Sanskrit, and they spell out the Fudo Sutra.
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 wild and wooly fire-breathing, taiko drumming version!
If you think Buddhist ceremonies are all about serenity and Zen, it’s time to meet the holy roller taiko drumming version!
Patrons pay to have the priest send their prayers to Fudo-san by tossing them on the bonfire in front of the altar.
Patrons pay to have the priest send their prayers to Fudo-san by tossing them on the bonfire in front of the altar.

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.
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.
Now let's detour upstairs and see the room with the glow-in-the-dark gods.
Now let’s detour upstairs and see the room with the glow-in-the-dark saints

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 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?

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...
Here’s how they look during the day…
...ad here's how they look at night, under the light of the lanterns strung through the trees.
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

Read a novel set in Tokyo

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of one of Hoshi’s customers…read more

 

 

5 Replies to “Monzen-Nakacho Area”

  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog, Jonelle! I had stumbled upon your blog, particularly this page since my friend was telling me that there’s a temple with taiko drums and fire purifying rituals at a temple near the restaurant Mikawa Zezankyo that we had dined at. And this post was just that. :) Anyway, great to have found your page. I find it very cool that you live in both Tokyo and San Francisco (I’m a Bay Area native as well). Wish we had found your blog sooner–This is definitely a guide that I wish I’d had! It’ll come in handy in the near future when we visit Tokyo again.

    1. I loved the food on your blog! I can tell we seriously intersect in what we like to eat. I have to say, one of the unexpected joys of blogging is meeting people like you, who I might never have come across IRL, even though we’re roughly on the same part of the planet part of the time!

      If you do go back to Tokyo, I’d be delighted to point you to a couple of more secret restaurants/cafes that I don’t suggest to everyone, because there are a few favorite places I can’t send people who might not appreciate that they’re getting something special. Send me a message via my Facebook author page (Jonelle Patrick Author) and I’ll give you my email!(^O^☆♪

  2. Thanks for this post! We will be visiting Tokyo in early July, and one of our friends lives in Monzennakacho, so I was just browsing around to see what else there was to see near her place. I would not have wanted to want to miss this–thanks for writing it up!

    1. What a great area to live in – your friend is so lucky. You’re going to have so much fun! The warm summer nights are really great, and there’s so much fun stuff to do then. Be sure to get some senko hanabi fireworks at the convenience store! (^_^)

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