Sengakuji Temple: the Temple in the Central Tokyo

Tokyo is dotted with many famous temples, and among them is Sengakuji in Takanawa. Famous for the classical kabuki performance "Kanadehon Chūshingura," it is a venerable Zen temple with a rich history.

A temple with historical charm, Sengakuji

After exiting Sengakuji Subway Station and immediately climbing a slope, the center gate of Sengakuji can be seen to the left. After continuing further inside, there is a double roof gate. On the second floor 16 Buddhism Priests lied and dedicated. On the ceiling of the first floor is decorated with the "Edo San Ryu" (Three Edo Dragons), including the dragon called "Dou Ho Dai Banryu” (Large Copper-Engraved Dragon).

As you pass through the “sanmon” (mountain gate), there is a main hall located in front. The former main hall was destroyed by the air raids of the Second World War, and the current main hall was built in 1953. It was rebuilt as a Kamakura style building. Within, Buddhas are honored: the Dogen Zen master and Keizan Zen master, who are part of the Soto sect called Chushingura. Marishiten (Secret Buddha), etc., which is the guardian principal of Oishi. Although it is famous for "Chushingura," originally, this building was for Imagawa Yoshimoto's adolescence, who served Tokugawa Ieyasu.

47 Ronin Who Fulfilled Their Loyalty

Down the path on the left side of the mountain gate you will find "Chushingura," the tomb where the 47 Ronin Samurai were laid to rest.

47 Ronin Who Fulfilled Their Loyalty

After they achieved vengeance on the enemy of their master, they chose to sleep beside their master in death. The picture below is the tomb of the 47 Ronin’s master.

47 Ronin Who Fulfilled Their Loyalty

What is Chushingura?

When an important ceremony was held in the former Edo Castle, Lord Asano of Ako attacked a man known as Kira Kozunosuke. Asano was ordered to commit Harakiri or suicide. On the other hand, Kira received no blame for his offenses committed. In those days, Asano 's vassal was not convinced. Furthermore, because the lord had no successor, the Ako clan fell into crisis with a disconnection of the house.

Eventually, the samurai who lost the clan became ronin, and swore that "If the rebirth of the house does not come true, we will rebuke the master."

On December 14, 1702, in the middle of snow, 47 Ronin went to Kira Mansion. And with the head of Kira whom they had slaughtered, reported the success over the victim to their master. They took the journey from Kira Mansion to Sengakuji (about 15 km, 2 hours and 10 minutes). In February of the following year in the village, they died by ritual suicide in honor of the shogun.

This story later was told as one of ronin fulfilling their loyalty to their lord. It became a story called "Kanadehon Chūshingura,” in puppet joruri and kabuki theater. It is performed and loved by the common people to this day, in movies, dramas, stages etc. The story still continues to attract people.

For those interested in Akogishi, when entering the middle gate, on the left-hand side there is the Akogishi Memorial Hall and Yoshio Wooden Museum. In the Akogishi Memorial Halland the museum about Yoshio, precious relics of Yoshio can be found. A DVD of Chushingura is also shown here. In the direction of the Yoshio wooden statue house,wooden statues of 47 Ronin are displayed.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Akogishi Memorial Hall
  • Holidays: Open 7 days a week 
  • Opening Hours:
    • April 1 - September 30: 9:00-16:30
    • October 1 - March 31: 9:00-16:00
  • Admission fee (Akogishi Memorial Hall and Yoshio Wooden Museum are common tickets):
    • Adult 500 yen 
    • Teen middle school student 400 yen 
    • Children (over 10 years) 250 yen
    • Group for 30 people or more 400 yen

Spot information

  • Spot name: Sengakuji (泉岳寺)
  • Opening hours:
    • Temple Ground:
      • April 1 - September 30: 7:00~18:00
      • October 1 - March 31: 7:00~17:00
    • Memorial Hall:
      • April 1 - September 30: 9:00~16:30
      • October 1 - March 31: 9:00~16:00
  • Street address: 2-11-1 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Access: 
    • 2 minutes on foot from Keikyu Main Line 
    • Toei Subway Asakusa Line Sengakuji Station