Shibamata Taishakuten Temple – Home of the Lotus Sutra Wood Carvings

Shibamata Taishakuten Temple is most notable for its exquisite Buddhist carvings which are a wonder of craftsmanship. See them for yourself.

Shibamata Taishakuten, formally Kyoei-zan Daikyouji Temple, is a Buddhist temple in the Shibamata district of Tokyo. The temple is famous for its “prayer wall” composed of panels depicting scenes from the Lotus Sutra (a central text of Mahayana Buddhism). Each painstakingly etched panel tells a story, not least of the skill and artfulness of the craftsmen who made them.

Shibamata Taishakuten Overview

Photo Credit: Taiju Muto via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Taiju Muto via Flickr cc

Shibamata Taishakuten was founded by Nichiei Jōnin in the 17th century. A statue of the god Taishakuten disappeared from the temple not long after its opening. Long feared lost, the statue was eventually discovered submerged in a spring, from which it was retrieved and restored to its former glory. The spring is still thought of as sacred.  Taishakuten is best known for its  Lotus Sutra carvings. Protected by glass, the carvings are treasured but can be viewed for ¥400.  

Wall Cravings Photo Credit: nappa via Flickr cc

Wall Cravings Photo Credit: nappa via Flickr cc

The Lucky Dragon’s Pine Tree

Dragon Pine Tree Photo Credit: Zengame via Flickr cc

Dragon Pine Tree Photo Credit: Zengame via Flickr cc

In front of the temple stands Zui-ryu-no-matsu – the Lucky Dragon Tree. Aged at almost 500 years old, it’s had plenty of time to grow, and it certainly shows. If you look carefully you’ll see the resemblance to a certain mythical beast that gives the tree its name. The tree’s secret to a long life? Sake. Which is to this day mixed in with its fertilizer. 

The Birthplace of Tora-san

Photo Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA via Flickr cc

Shibamata is also famous as the home of Tora-san, the lead character in the TV series Otoko wa tsurai yo (男はつらいよ, It’s tough being a man). The show follows the adventures of an anti-hero salesman as he travels through a rapidly modernizing Japan. It’s the longest-running series in film history, with more than 80 million viewers between 1969 and 1995. 


Address: 7-10-3 Shibamata, Katsushika, Tokyo

Telephone: +81 3-3657-288

Getting to Shibamata Taishakuten

Take the Keisei Kanamachi Line and alight at Shibamata Station. Five minutes on foot from here. 

Visitor Information

Duration Of Visit

1 hour

Period Of Visit

All year. 


9AM to 4PM (closed December 31 and January 1))

Closing Days

New Year Holidays (December 31 and January 1).


Free (carvings and garden access: 400 yen).

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Ines Smaili

Ines Smaili

Hi, I'm Inès, I love to travel all around the world especially in Japan, I will share with you all the information needed to have the best trip of your life!

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# Things to Do in Tokyo # Things to Do in Japan

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