Daienji Temple and its Many Statues Go here to heal your body with gold or get your baby out of hell

    In Meguro, Tokyo, there is a Tendai sect temple called Daienji. In this temple, the God of wealth, Daikokuten (aka Mahakala), is enshrined.

    japanese shrine outside flags and trees
    statues outside a japanese shrine

    The first thing you'll notice when you enter the temple ground is statues. Lots and lots of statues. These 7 statues are called "shichi-fuku-jin 七福神しちふくじん" – the seven lucky Gods of Japan. They have been a popular group of deities since the Edo period and are often out on their treasure ship called "takara-bune 宝船たからぶね". These aren't the only statues here, however…

    buddha statue shrine japanese maple

    This temple is known for its Gohyaku-Rakan 五百羅漢ごっひゃくらかん, statues of the five hundred disciples of Buddha. There was a big fire in Tokyo in 1772 and historians believe it originated from Daienji Temple. These statues were made as a way to remember the victims and give people a way to pray for them.

    many other buddha statues stone statues all lined up

    In addition to the Gohyaku-Rakan, there are other statues in this temple as well.

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    This black statue is called Toroke Jizo. "Toroke" means "melt." This statue gets its name from its face and arms which look like they're melting. The story goes that a fisherman snatched this statue out of the sea. This Jizo is supposed to have the ability to make people's worries melt away.

    happy baby jizo statues japanese stone statue
    japanese stone shrine statue jizo with chocolate and plums

    There were also baby Jizos. Actually, I feel bad for the one in the upper picture. Why is the bottom baby the only one to get chocolate and plums. It's not fair!

    tall statue with many behind it japanese buddhist shrine

    These statues are Mizuko Jizo. They rescue your babies from hell. Hmmmm…a team of Jizo that go into hell on baby rescue missions – Sounds like a really good manga.

    japanese shrine statue of the buddha covered in gold leaf

    This is a statue of Yakushi Nyorai 薬師如来やくしにょらい, the Buddha of Healing. It's said that if you put a piece of beaten gold (aka golden leaf) on the statue's body in the exact spot where you need healing, your ailment will heal. It's only 500 yen for 3 pieces of gold leaf.

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    This is Daienji's Doso-shin 道祖神どそしん, which means Traveler's Guardian Deity. It protects travelers and/or villages from epidemics and evil spirits.

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    japanese shrine stone statue see no evil monkey

    This is the tower of Koshin 庚申こしん. It was built in the year of the monkey. The "shin" part of Koshin actually means monkey.

    Here you can see a statue of three monkeys that embody a belief of the Koshin faith that may be familiar to you. This belief is 'Mizaru' (see not), 'Iwazaru' (say not) and 'Kikizaru' (hear not). This trio can be seen in many places throughout Tokyo and, of course, in this temple as well. Koshin shinko (belief in Koshin) is the Taoism (Dokyo)-based belief, introduced from China and established in Japan. In the Koshin faith, these monkeys are regarded as messengers.

    small stone sculpture in a pond garden

    There are more statues in this small temple like a funny Kappa (a Japanese water demon that looks like a turtle) holding a fish. Do you think they're friends, or do they have more of a lunchy-type relationship?

    Daienji Temple

    Pros

    • The statues were all pretty unique.
    • A 5-minute walk from the JR Yamanote Line Meguro Station.

    Cons

    • For the most part, this is just another temple.

    Overall Rating

    6

    Accessibility Rating

    9

    Fun Rating

    5

    Uniqueness Rating

    6

    Additional Information

    1-8-5 Shimomeguro
    Meguro, Tokyo Prefecture 153-0064
    Japan

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    03-3491-2793