The Ikegami Honmonji temple complex sits on a hill in central Ota Ward, a ten-minute stroll from Ikegami Station. The temple dates from the end of the 13th century, when famed Buddhist devotee Nichiren Shonin constructed the religious site at the request of local feudal lord and faithful follower Ikegami Munenaka. While much of the original structure was destroyed during an air raid on April 15, 1945, the complex still boasts several buildings dating back over four centuries.
Five-Story Pagoda – Reaching to a height of 29.4 meters, this is the oldest five-story pagoda in Tokyo. The thick wooden beams used in its construction allegedly allow the structure to withstand a magnitude seven earthquake. Due to its history, the pagoda has been registered as an important cultural property of Japan.
Kyozo – This 250-year-old structure is tucked back into the far northern corner of the complex. The unique octagonal building holds the entire Buddhist canon in a series of revolving bookshelves.
Tahoto – This strikingly red pagoda is reached via a series of steps leading down the western side of the temple grounds. Constructed on the site where Nichiren himself was cremated, it is considered the only building of its kind in Japan. The intricate carvings on the eaves just under the roof of the pagoda are not to be missed.
The temple holds several events throughout the year, including a spectacular lantern festival from October 11th-13th that commemorates the date of Nichiren’s passing. In the early spring, the traditional Japanese garden on the temple’s edge is a hidden spot for plum blossoms. The rest of the year, the grounds are a quiet escape for local residents from the bustle of the surrounding city.
Ikegami Honmonji is best reached from Ikegami Station on the Tokyu Ikegami line. The temple is a ten-minute walk north of the station’s exit.
- 1-1-1, Ikegami, Ōta-ku. Tokyo 146-8576
- Open year round