Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Walk around Tamagawa Daishi, Sougen-ji Temple and Yanaka Ginza (Part 1) / 玉川大師、曹源寺と谷中銀座の散歩 (パート1)

I can't remember if it was our influence or not but one of my wife's friends had also started to collect temple and shrine seals. As she lives in Yamanashi Prefecture, she doesn't make it out to Tokyo much. However, we were planning on hanging out together to do a little shrine and temple pilgrimage. Our first destination would be in Futakotamagwa. We were heading to Tamagawa Daishi. What's special about this temple is the sacred site underground. Our other destination is Sougen-ji Temple, also known as the Kappa Temple (kappa being water demon in Japanese folklore). It's said that Sougen-ji Temple houses a the remains of a kappa's hand. My wife's friend made reservations at the temple so we would be able to see it.


As we were walking to Tamagawa Daishi from Futakotamagawa Station, I couldn't help noticing the public art. I love taking pictures of public art as much as I do the shrines and temples. This piece is by an artist called Shin Hongo. The piece is titled [Bird] and is located in front of the Takashimaya Department store.


This looked like something that needing exploring.


Let's see - "Ta no Kami : Kodakara to Kenko". The Ta no Kami is a God of Peasants and appears to be a protector of chidren and health. Of course I'm only guessing.

さて、「田之神 子宝と健康」。やっぱり農耕民を守る神みたいですね。

Perhaps these represented the peasants or farmers.


And this appears to be a fire prevention well.


Here we are at our first destination. Most people know it as Tamagawa Daishi but the official name is Gyokushin-in.

最初の目的に到着。玉川大師です。玉川大師は通称の名前です。正式名は玉眞院 (ぎょくしんいん)。

Hand purification basin / 手水舎

I don't know, the rock doesn't look natural.


Inside the temple. We were about to visit the sacred underground site. Some areas of the tunnel are pitch black and you have to feel the walls to move along. There are over 300 Buddha statues displayed in the underground cavern. It's amazing and very moving at the same time.


I know I said pictures aren't allowed in the underground site, but that doesn't stop people from taking them. I borrowed this from the internet. It's an unofficial picture but gives you an idea of what you will see.


The prayer board is unusual here as well. There are the regular wooden prayer boards but there are also these jizo looking charms hanging there as well.


Kannon to protect you from going senile.


The Mizuko Jizo (Jizo to protect children who have died).


The Six Jizos / 六地蔵

Most likely a deity to protect animals that have died.


I think its a statue of Kobo Daishi.


He doesn't seem pleased to have his picture taken.


A ram in the garden?


Tamagawa Daishi Seal / 玉川大師の御朱印

This was the entrance to Ryoshinkaku Temple Annex. The sign says, "Tamagawa Daishi is next door".


Tunnel art / トンネルアート

Now we are on our way to Taito Ward. We decided we were going to eat lunch at a Chinese place that my wife and I went to in Ameyoko. Our adventure continues...


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