Tokyobling's Blog

Takaosan Kitouden – Drive in Temple

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on April 2, 2014

At the holy Takaosan mountain in Tokyo’s Hachioji city you’ll find the Kitouden (高尾山自動車祈祷殿), a sub temple to the famous Yakuoin which is devoted solely to traffic safety, and naturally it is a drive in temple. Well, not as much drive in as drive up to, but still. The temple is open to a large parking space where observant car owners, bikers and cyclists pull up to receive their yearly blessing. In the ceremony a monk will read prayers over the vehicles and the visitors and at the end of it you get a sticker to put on your car.

Quite correctly, buddhist monks are of the opinion that there is no such thing as an “accident” in traffic and that they can be avoided by having the correct attitude, the right state of mind and a heightened awareness of everything from your own stress as a driver to the mood of the drivers around you. It is the monks hope that the prayers will help you keep concentrated on traffic safety and thus avoid injury to yourself or others. Being calm and aware are two very buddhists attitudes so they fit right in with traffic safety!

The temple building of the Kitouden itself is not very interesting but the statues of the ferocious tengu facing the cars are fantastic, and very photogenic. My favorite is the seated tengu, taking the aspect of Buddha himself.














2 Responses

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  1. Timi said, on April 7, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I gotta agree with the seated tengu being the best, but the other are pretty well-made and nice as well! * – *


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