garden, architecture, art

Ikegami-Honmonji Temple, a treasure house of history – the holy place that Nichiren Shonin chose in his final days

Ikegami-Honmonji Temple is the head temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and is also known as a famous cherry blossom viewing spot.

The Tokyu Ikegami Line, which was created to transport visitors to Ikegami-Honmonji Temple, is a three-car train that connects Kamata Station in Ota-ku, Tokyo, and Gotanda Station in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo.

Here is an introduction to Ikegami-Honmonji Temple, which has been visited by many people since ancient times.

The sacred place where Nichiren Shonin died and the temple of hope for people

In 1282, Nichiren Shonin, on his way from Minobusan to Hitachi (Ibaraki Prefecture) to recuperate from hisillness, stopped at the residence of Munenaka Ikegami in Ikegami-go, Musashi Province (Ikegami, Ota Ward,
Tokyo), where he spent the last days of his life.

When Nichiren died on October 13, Soenaka donated 69,384tsubo of land to the temple, which was named after the number of characters in the Lotus Sutra (69,384), and the temple came to be known as Ikegami-Honmonji.

In the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, Honmonji was patronized by the Kanto samurai, and in the early modern period, it prospered as a prayer temple for various princes such as Kiyomasa Kato, Toshiie Maeda, and the Kii Tokugawa family.

At the end of the Edo period, in 1868, the Tokaido spearhead headquarters of the Army of the Eastern Expedition was located here, and it is said
to be the place where Takamori Saigo and Kaishu Katsu met.

During the air raids of World War II, the historic buildings were destroyed by fire, but the five-story pagoda, main gate, sutra storehouse, and pagoda survived the fire, which is said to have given hope to the local people.


Main gate

It was built during the Genroku era (the end of the 17th century to the beginning of the 18th century), and the plaque inscribed with “Honmonji” is a reproduction by Hon’ya Koetsu, while the original is displayed in the Reihoden.


Five-story pagoda

National Important Cultural Property. The oldest five-story pagoda in Kanto.
It was built in 1607 by Hidetada Tokugawa, the second shogun, in gratitude for the success of his prayers for the healing of his nanny Shoshinin’s illness.


Main Stone Slope(Shikyounannjizaka)

The stone slope on the main approach to the temple is said to have been donated by Kiyomasa Kato (1562-1611), and consists of 96 steps inspired by the Lotus Sutra. There are also gentle stairs on the side for those who are physically fit.


Temple bell

The inscription on the first temple bell donated in 1647 by Yorin-in, daughter of Kiyomasa Kato and wife of Yorinobu Tokugawa of Kishu, has been preserved beside the present bell.



The garden is said to have been designed by Enshu Kobori, and is a circular garden that makes the most of the abundant underground water and natural depressions. 1868, Kaishu Katsu, a vassal of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and Takamori Saigo, chief of staff of the Army of the East, held a meeting to surrender Edo Castle.



Every year from October 11 to 13, a Buddhist memorial service is held to commemorate the death anniversary of Nichiren Shonin. The peak of the festival is on the night of October 12, when a procession of Manto parades through the town. Many worshippers visit Honmonji Temple.

The cemetery of Honmonji Temple is the resting place of many feudal lords and great people. There is an explanatory guide in the cemetery to remind you of the greatness of these people, including Rikidozan, a professional wrestler, and the father and son of novelists Rohan Koda and Fumi Koda.

This is the grave of one of them, a painter of the Kano school. The Kano school was the center of the art world for about 400 years from the Muromachi period to the Edo period. The Kano school moved its headquarters from Kyoto to Eto, where they were active as painters for the Tokugawa government, and many Kano painters are buried at Honmonji Temple.


-Location: 1-1-1 Ikegami, Ota-ku, Tokyo

-10-minute walk from Tokyu Ikegami Line “Ikegami Station”,
-12-minute walk from Toei Asakusa Line “Nishimagome Station” South Exit.

-Official Site:

Auther:keico kodaka

From Kanagawa . I spent four years in the Kansai region.Kansai has delicious food and I love it.I have been working at CREAZIONE since 2019.