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
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.
The Lucky Dragon’s Pine Tree
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
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.
Duration Of Visit
Period Of Visit
9AM to 4PM (closed December 31 and January 1))
New Year Holidays (December 31 and January 1).
Free (carvings and garden access: 400 yen).