Friday, February 19, 2010
Kuhonbutsu Temple, Tokyo
Another (mostly) unknown treasure in Tokyo is the sprawling Kuhonbutsu Temple, located right next to Kohonbutsu Station on the Oimachi Line, just 20 minutes from Shibuya (and 5 minutes from us).
It's oh-so-conveniently sandwiched between Futakotamagawa — rated the fourth most popular place to raise children in Tokyo — and Jiyugaoka... the fourth most preferable place to live single, footloose and fancy-free.
Aside from this odd sense of spiritual (dis)placement, that which sets this holy place apart from all the other local shrines and temples is the sheer size of the sanctuary, as well as the three wonderfully renovated, historic main halls that house a set of nine massive statues of Buddha, captured in subtly different poses.
It's like Madonna, circa 1989, if she were tastefully cast in bronze.
Kuhonbutsu Temple (本堂 - 九品仏浄真寺) was also apparently constructed several hundred years ago on the old grounds of Okusawa Castle, and parts of the aged foundations of this can still be discovered if you look hard enough.
So if you’re looking for a spot of relaxation, reflection and contemplation away from the hustle and bustle of the 24-hour metropolis at play outside the temple’s walls, this gorgeous location is the place to discover it—with the stand-out here being the serenely photogenic bell tower (sho-ro), built in 1708, adorned by a huge clapper that was cast in honor of the two great bodhisattvas (Kannon and Seishi), and fittingly designated a national cultural treasure.