Sengakuji Temple – the Resting Place of the 47 Ronin
Most notable as the final resting place of the legendary 47 ronin, Sengakuji Temple is well worth checking out.
Sengakuji Temple is a small temple in the south of Tokyo, popular particularly as the burial place of the legendary 47 Ronin. The story of the 47 Ronin is one of the most loved in Japan and consequently draws many visitors to the temple each year. Away from this, the temple is quiet and calm, perfect for a retreat from the city.
Sengakuji Temple Overview
Founded by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1612, the temple only became note following the burial of the 47 ronin. Today, find at the site a museum dedicated to their memory and on December 14th – the anniversary of the burial – a well-attended festival takes place at the site. For those of you unfamiliar with the story:
Based on real events, though mythologized and distorted through the years, the story of the 47 ronin resonates deeply in Japan, appealing particularly to the respect held for the spirit of the underdog and to unflinching loyalty.
In 1701, lord Asano Takuminokami attacked lord Kira Hozukenosuke at Edo castle (Tokyo) having felt repeatedly slighted by the lord in the past. Failing to kill the lord, lord Asano was sentenced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) and his whole family was removed from power. Lord Kira went unpunished.
Asano’s samurai (now ronin or masterless samurai) were consequently left masterless and without purpose until, led by Oishi Kuranosuke, they succeeded in avenging Asano’s death by killing lord Kira in his home. Victorious, they took Kira’s severed head to Sengakuji Temple to be displayed. Ultimately, all 47 were sentenced, like their master, to commit seppuku and buried at the temple.
Address: 2-11-1 Takanawa, Minato-ku,Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3-3441-5560
Getting to Sengakuji Temple
Alight at Shinagawa Station on the Yamanote Line. Directions to the temple can be found from here.
Alternatively, take the Tokyo Metro to Sengakuji Station and walk for 3 minutes.
Duration Of Visit
All year, 7 am – 6 pm. Museum: 9 am – 4:30 pm