The Intorduction of Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple
People who come to Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple must be surprised at seeing
it and say that they don't believe there is such a huge temple in this
residential area. Actually, Nakayama is called a bed town of Tokyo, but
it was a crossing point between Sakura Michi
(now Route 14) and Kashima Mishi (now Kiorosu Kaido), and it had a small
ferry connecting to Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay), so it was a busy town in Edo period.
Going up the approach road to Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple from Shimousa Nakayama
Station and crossing Route 14 and the rails of Keisai Line beside Keisei
Nakayma Station, there is the main gate of the temple resistered as a municipal
cultural asset by Ichikawa City standing on the road. Looking up to the
road, there is a Niomon Gate built in late Edo period stading in the blue
sky. Behind the gate, some branch temples
of Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple and many cherry trees
are standing on the both side of about 200 meters long approach road.
viewing from the end of the approach road, there is a Goju no To
(a five-story pagoda) on the center and Soshido Hall on the left of the
site. On the small hill behind Soshido Hall
, there are three halls and a gate, the gate is named 'Yonsoku Mon
', and the center hall is Hokkedo Hall
. The Goju no to, Soshido, Hokkedo Hall and Yonsoku Mon are all Important Cultural Properties designated by National Government. The lelf one is called Setsudo Hall
built in Edo period. On the next to the Goju no To, the biggest great Buddha in Chiba prefecture sits. Going on the road between the great Buddha
and Soshido Hall and passing through Hoden Mon Gate and a small forest
behind it, a white hall like pagoda named Shogyoden Hall
built in Taisho Era stands in the woods. In the site and in the branch
temples, other many beautiful buildings stored. It is almost like an architectural
museum of Buddhism in Japan. Visitors could enjoy seeing the architectures
built in Muromachi and Edo period in the temple that it takes 30 minutes
from Tokyo Station by train.
Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple looks like a museum having many historical and cultural assets in it. In addition, both fully blooming Sakura in spring and sparkling golden leaves of gingko trees in it are dramatically wonderful.
Why don't you visit Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple?
The Short Summary of Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple
Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple
Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple is one of the five head temples of Nichiren Sect
, and it is famous for the founder Nichren
visited and achieved preaching first time.
In the middle ages, Nakayama was called Yanaka-go, Wakamiya-sho, where Jonin Toki
and Noriakira Ota who were bureaucrats of Chiba Clan
, Governor of Shimousa Province
lived in. Soya lived in Soya and them became believers and strong supporters
of Nichren. It was in the Kencho era (from 1249 to 1255) in the middle
of Kamakura Period
. They built their jibutsu-do halls (the nobility’s private Buddha statue
hall), and now Hokekyo-ji Temple is on them. The hall of Toki in Wakamiya
was called Hokke-ji Temple, and the hall of Ota in Nakayama was called
Honmyou-ji Temple. Early years, both temples were here in Nakayama area
and worked hard in missionary. In Tembun 14 (1545) in Sengoku period
, those temples were united and entitled Hokekyoji Temple.
Jonin Toki entered into the priesthood of Nichiren Sect so he named Nichijo
and he became the first chief abbot of Hokekyoji Temple, the second chief abbot was Nikko, Noriakira Ota’s son, the third chief abbot was Nichiyu, a strong relative of the provincial governor of Shimousa, Tanesada Chiba’s son and Hokekyoji Temple became flourished his era from late Kamakura Period
to Nanboku period. Actually, Tanesada was not the governor at that time, but he led a influential group in the clan and had power to control the Chiba clan and Shimousa province. He donated the land in Shimousa(North Chiba, East Tokyo, East Saitama, South Ibaraki) and Hizen (Saga prefecture), so he supported Nichiyu. Nichiyu moved his grand-father’s remains to Hokekyoji Temple to keep long, this showed Hokekyoji Temple would be the uji-dera for Tanesada group in Chiba clan (temple for Chiba clan). Nichiyu laid the foundation for Hokekyoji Temple. In Edo period
, Hokekyoji Temle was worshipped as one of the five head temples of Nichiren
Sect and disseminated to the common people throughout Japan. The records
remained that it controlled 132 branch temples during Kanei period (1624-1644)
and 200 branch temples during Tenmei period (1781-1789), and also had 28
tachus (minor temples in the site of main temple). (noted by Jiin Hon-matsu
Hokekyouji Temple stored ‘Rissho-ankoku-ron
’ and ‘Kanjin-honzon-sho
’ written by the founder Nichren himself, and many National treasures and
Important Cultural properties and the Buddhist scripts. They had kept by
the bureaucrats of Chiba clan, Nichijo at its treasure house and bunches,
so Nichijo achieved collecting and storing them with great zeal, this tradition
is still being succeeded. Now those treasures are strongly stored in Shogyoden
Moreover there were very important historical treasures that they are some
documents in the middle age in Japan (Kamakura period) found behind a lot
of pieces of papers where Nichiren had wrote scrip by himself. They are
called Shihai-monjo; documents behind used paper. These are the documents
written at offices in Chiba clan, Jonin Toki provided them for Nichiren
to write his letters and masterpieces. Nichiren used their behind, so they
remained by luck. They are usually difficult to remain in-real on the history,
the slave trade and debt on reality in the middle age in Japan are shown
on the documents, so they are very important historical and literal materials
in East Japan in Kamakura period.
Nakayama Hokekyoji-Temple is the temple that remains thousands of legends
of the founder Nichiren, in addition the temple is famous for not only
the head temple, but it stores also thousands of cultural properties and
historical properties in the site, Soshi-do, the Goju-no-to, and other
buildings and some important scripts written by Nichiren, etc, were stored,
it sounds like a museum.
A Map of the landmarks at Hokekyouji-Temple
There are a lot of important old buildings in Hokekyo-ji Temple. Hokke-do
hall, Yonsoku-mon gate, Soshi-do hall and Gojyu-no-to (the five-story pagoda)
are the important cultural properties designated by the National Government.
The picture above shows the locations of these buildings in the site.
The Cultural Properties Preserved In Hokekyou-ji Temple
The Listo of the Cultural Properties Preserved In Hokekyou-ji Temple
- The list of the sub temples
Nakayama Hokekyouji Temple
2-10-1 Nakayama, Ichikawa-shi, Chiba-pref, Japan
- Hokekyouji Temple has a great accessibility from both Narita and Haneda
- From Narita International Airport, take Keisei-line and get off Keisei-Nakayama
Sta, take minimally 40 minutes from Narita Airport.. And also take JR Sobu-express
line, transfer the line at Funabashi to Sobu-Local line, get off Shimousa-Nakayama
- From Haneda International Airport, take Keikyu-line bound to Narita, and
get off Keisei-Nakayama Sta.
- From Tokyo Sta, take Sobu-Express line bound to Chiba or Narita, transfer
the line to Sobu-Local line bound to Chiba, Tsudanuma, or Nishi-Funabashi
at Ichikawa Sta, get off Shimousa-Nakayama Sta.
- From Akihabara Sta, take Sobu line bound to Chiba, get off Shimousa-Nakayama
- Take 1 minute walk from Keisei-Nakayama Sta, and take 5 minutes walk from
The Wonderful Sights In Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple
Takikyakuden is the main hall of Hokekyoji and it has the business office and Kishibojindo Hall dedicated to the goddess of children on the end of the long corrido of the main hall.
In spring, there is millions of cherry blossoms in Hokekyoji and in summer, lotus blooms on ryuo-ike pond. In fall, there are beautiful colored leaves. Every season, visitors could enjoy seeing the sights.
It is characterized the twin hip-and-gable roof structure (hiyoku-irimoya-style), and hengaku written by Koetsu Honami hangs in front.
It was built in early Edo period (1622) by request of Koshitsu Honami supported by Maeda Family in Kaga.
It was built in Kamakura period.
It was moved from Aizen-dou in Kamakura 700 years ago.
It was designed by the famous architect Chuta Ito, it stores many scripts
written by the Founder Nichiren.
It enshrines Kiyomasa Kato, one of the most famous daimyo in Sengoku period.
From Nov 1 to Feb 10, hundreds of Buddhist priests practice severly every year.
The henguku hunged in front of the gate was written by Koetsu Honami, famous artist in Momoyama Period.
It was built for worshipping Jurasetsunyo, Kishibozin, Daikokusama.
It is also called Sou-mon (the main gate).
The founder Nichiren built the small shrine to dedicate the dragon god
to pray for rain.
It enshrins Ugazin who is the guardian deity of Hokekyou-ji Temple.
It dedicates Hokushin Myouken Star that the Chiba Family deeply believed
in , Hokekyoji traditionally succeeds. In November, Tori-no-ich is held
in the site to dedicate the star.
The founder Nichiren preached first time at the Toki's castle called Wkakamiya Yakata. And Toki built a temple 'Hokkeji', it is the origin of Oku no In.
It was built in 1719 by famous caster Ota Suruga-no-kami in Kanda. It is the bigest great Buddha in Chiba prefecture.
Nichijo was the first abbot of Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple and Naki Icho is a gingko tree having a sad legend.
There are some other landmarks in Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple.
Koetsu Honami specially remained his calligraphy in Hokekyo-ji Temple, and Shiki Masaoka, Kafu Nagai discribed it well.
Cherry blossoms in Hokekyoji are amazingly wonderful.
There are some noted spots, Kaii Higashiyama Memorial Hall and so on, near Hokekyoji.