Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tokoji and Rankei Doryu

Hōgaizan Tōkōji 法蓋山 東光寺 is a temple associated with Rankei Dōryū 蘭渓道隆 (also known as Daikaku Zenji 大覚禅師) (1213-1278). He, from Southern Song 南宋(1127-1279), dynasty of China, was a founder of Kenchō-ji 建長寺 which is one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan. After he tried to diffuse Rinzai Zen 臨済禅 at Sennyūji 泉涌寺 in Kyoto and so on, he came to Kamakura 鎌倉 on invitation by Hōjō Tokiyori 北条時頼 and became Kaizan, the first resident priest, of Kenchō-ji. Then he played a further active role in popularization of Zen in Kamakura & Kyoto, but, entrapped by a scheme, he had been banished to Yamanashi (Kai) for a period of time. Takeda clan which was a Shugo 守護, military governor, of Kai, gave him a warm welcome. With the help of Takeda clan, he resuscitated a temple and renamed it "Tōkōji."

Taken in front of Sanmon 山門, of which at the back you can see Butsuden 仏殿


Chūmon 中門 (Middle gate) and a bell tower 鐘楼


Azumaya 四阿 (Arbor)

Butsuden, built in Tenbun era 天文年間 (1532-1555) and designated as a national important cultural property, where it is said there are some sword-cut-marks of Nobunaga's troops.

Butsuden and Bhaisajyaguru statue 薬師如来像 as the principal image 御本尊

Hondō 本堂

Busshintō 佛心塔, built for the purpose of performing services in perpetuity for the repose of departed souls.

Tokoji's Official Web Site (Japanese version only)

■ View Hōgaizan Tōkōji 法蓋山 東光寺 on Google My Maps

■ Refer to Kofu-Gozan & Kai Zenkoji and Kai Pilgrimage

■ Reference Data
・Tokoji's Official Web Site


  1. Sorry this is slightly unrelated. I can see through the gate to some beautiful trees the garden design important in this kind of temple.

    I love Chinese Royal tombs for their formal design features (was recently in Shenyang), are there tombs in Yamanashi which are simlar do you think ?

  2. Thank you for visiting my site, Mr.怪物 괴물. The Chinese Royal tomb in Shenyang is Fuling Tomb 福陵(東陵) ? I think Japanese Royal tomb's style is pretty different from Chinese style. So I don't know if Japanese and Yamanashi ones are what you expect or not.

    The famous and large royal tombs in Japan include ones :
    ・Nintoku Tenno-ryo 仁徳天皇陵, the tomb of Emperor Nintoku in Osaka (Kofun style) (This is the largest tomb in the world.) Google Map
    Tosho-gu 東照宮, Futarasan Shrine 二荒山神社 & Rinno-ji 輪王寺, the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康 (2 shrines & 1 temple) in Nikko 日光

    Most of Tenno(the emperor)'s tombs are huge, but some of Shogun 将軍's tombs are simple style of having only gravestones and close to the other's.

    There are some famous kofuns, temples & shrines in Yamanashi, too.
    ・Choshizuka kofun 銚子塚古墳 & Maruyamazuka kofun 丸山塚古墳 Google Map
    Kuonji temple 久遠寺 on Flickr
    Erinji temple 恵林寺 on Flickr
    Takeda shrine 武田神社 on Flickr