From where we left off previously, Part 1 covered the Warehouse District; the Bell of Time, and the Kawagoe Kurazukuri Museum.
In Part 2, we visited the Kawagoe Festival Museum & Candy Alley before heading to Honmaru Goten and even attended and also participated in the Junior High School Matsuri!
In Part 3 here, we saved the best for last!
I’ll be blogging mainly about the Kitain Temple: Star & main attraction of Kawagoe – The final part of our coverage and guide to Kawagoe!
Thw word Tahoto, means: ” many-jeweled pagoda” and is a form of Japanese pagoda found primarily at Esoteric Shingon and Tendai school Buddhist temples.
It is unique among pagodas because it has an even number of stories – only two.
The second story has a balustrade and seems habitable, but is nonetheless inaccessible and offers no usable space.
Its name alludes to Taho Nyorai, who appears seated in a many-jeweled pagoda in the eleventh chapter of the Lotus Sutra. With square lower and cylindrical upper parts, a mokoshi ‘skirt roof’, a pyramidal roof, and the finial, a Tahoto or the larger Daito – was one of the seven halls of a Shingon temple.
After the Heian period the construction of pagodas in general declined, and once new Tahoto started becoming rare.
There are many pagodas within the premises of temples in Japan.
This one in Kitain, is a two-storey pagoda, which is considered very rare, since most pagodas now have an odd number, and many more floors too, such as three, five, or even as much as seven floors.
Among its halls are the only remaining palace buildings of the former Edo Castle.
|Bright pink cherry trees – Spring is definitely the best time of year to visit!|
Originally part of a three-temple complex built in the year 830, Kitain Temple flourished and became the main temple at the turn of the 17th century under the leadership of Tenkai, an extraordinary personality who developed trusted friendships with the first three shogun of the Edo Period.
Sadly, in the year 1638, a fire destroyed most of Kitain Temple.
To help rebuilt it, the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, ordered several palace buildings to be moved from Edo Castle to Kawagoe.
These are today the only surviving buildings of Edo Castle because of the damage Tokyo suffered during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and World War II.
|Kitain Temple compounds|
Damn!! The large collection of Buddha statues that were undergoing undergoing maintenance works during the period we visited.
|Omikuji and Ema – wooden plates with wishes written by visitors.|
But no matter!!
As we were more then contended, being mesmerized by the red semi-circular bridge that truly deserved a photo.
It is a truly traditionally beautiful bridge.
The temple, being very noted for it’s main hall, is noted for its main hall, which was part of the original Edo Castle, and the statues of 540 Rakan, disciples of the Buddha.
(Due to being under maintenance now, the statues are out of bounds)
This highlight (during the maintenance as mentioned above) during a visit to Kitain Temple in the past, were the Gohyaku Rakan statues, 540 stone statues of the disciples of Buddha, each with its own facial expression.
It would be interesting to wander among the statues, which will offer good photo opportunities.
These were previously located in a small separate courtyard on the Kitain Temple grounds.
After the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, passed away in Sunpu – present day Shizuoka, his remains were transported to Nikko.
During the journey, a memorial service was held by Tenkai at Kitain, which resulted in the Semba Toshogu Shrine being built within its premises.
Accordingly, the three most important Toshogu shrines in Japan are the ones in Shizuoka, Kawagoe and Nikko, respectively.
Different Types of Snow
More on the Toshogu shrine in Nikko, link above.
Feel free to click!
To complete the tour of the Kitain Temple area, take some time to stop by Nakain: the Middle Temple, which was one temple of the initial three-temple complex.
Nakain: the Middle Temple, exists as a separate institution today as there were 3 previously.
and can be reached in a five minute walk.
|The Minamiin South Temple|
Ever worse, as of this time, Not much survived of the third temple, the Minamiin : the South Temple.
Thankfully, the main temple still being here – Kitain Temple is very peaceful and very beautiful.
And there were lots of different little seating areas too, which would have been perfect to sit down enjoy a little picnic.
To conclude, my favorite in the area is just that tiny Inari shrine, which was on a little island in the middle of a pond, mentioned above.
And what makes it unique is that the Inari shrine could only be accessed by crossing the arching red bridge, one that’s truly beautiful.
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