Tokyobling's Blog

Graves of Gokokuji Temple

Posted in Places by tokyobling on May 14, 2015

The huge Gokokuji Temple in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward is interesting not least for its graves of many historically significant persons in Japanese recent history. Not least among them is the statesman and Imperial Court Noble Sanjo Sanetomi (三条実美, 13th March 1837 – 28th February 1891). More well known to Westerns might be the grave of Marquess Okuma Shigenobu (大隈重信, March 11th 1838 – January 10th 1922) whose grave is in the first picture. Both of these men were prime ministers of Japan, Okuma during the first years of the Great War, and both of them have huge stone Torii guarding the entrances to their graves. Okuma founded the schools that would become the famous Waseda University in 1882. He also spoke English and managed to remove the official ban on Christianity in 1873.

I took these photos in the winter a few months ago, but now in summer the cemetery is more spectacularly alive with trees, flowers and birds everywhere.





Myosenji Temple – Odawara

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on August 23, 2011

I don’t know if it has been fully expressed or if most of you dear readers have noticed already, but a large part of this blog is not about the fantastic, but rather the details of Japan, the small things that you’d miss if you didn’t know about it, or the places, streets, back buildings and lesser known festivals you’d never visit as a casual tourist or even as a native of this great country. Tokyobling is as much about details and hidden places (although – hidden in plain view) as the grand, large, cool and fantastic. Take this post for example. Who in their right mind, with a blog that received thousands of visitors every day, would blog about a small temple in a suburb that no one ever visits in a small town that hardly draws the big crowds? Tokyobling – that’s who! Your purveyor of the ordinary!

Myosenji is a very local temple that is happily advertising their main business – the leasing of funeral plots and funeral services (which is true of most local Buddhist temples in Japan), hardly marked out even on local maps and absolutely not on anything a tourist might ever look out. For some reason I was drawn to it, certain that there must be something interesting if only I looked hard enough. Sure, the temple is above-average in terms of grooming and quite well kept. There is even an interesting tombstone commemorating the war dead of the Imperial Army Artillery! Not a common find at all! The mausoleum next to it is built to correspond to the large tree giving the roof an interesting shape. But even that is not enough to warrant a Tokyobling post, until you take a closer look at the Buddhist statuary (the usual demons and guardians protecting the entrance to heaven and hell), and beyond that, to the small granite guardian statues of… Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty. Did I miss a hidden Buddhist meaning in the works of Sanrio and Disney? Who know. Still, I’m glad I found it, and glad I could show it to you, because in a million years, I promise that no readers of this blog would ever chance to pay a visit to the beautiful little secret that is Myosenji, in Odawara City, Kangawa Prefecture, Japan.

Besides, it is really close to the beach. Enjoy!

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