By Jeremy Yap
Though originally founded at the end of the 16th century, the current location of Koganji Temple dates back to the late 19th century. Known for its healing powers, this character-filled Buddhist temple is part of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism.
As one would expect, there is a legend behind this temple. The main Buddhist deity here is Enmei Jizo Bosatsu who is known for having the power to heal. One day, a lady accidentally swallowed a needle (or thorn) which she eventually managed to spit out after ingesting a piece of paper with the image of the deity on it. After this episode, the name 'togenuki jizo', which means 'enlightened one who pulls out thorns', would eventually be used as the nickname for the temple.
The temple itself is quite a solid looking structure though its entry gate exudes a kind of old world charm. Between the gate and the main hall of the temple is a very large and robust koro incense burner with an awning over it. The wafting fragrant smoke can be quite noticeable at times. The grounds also feature its famous Kannon statue upon which visitors pour a ladle of water when they visit. After pouring the water they will then rub the affected area on the statue in pious hope that whatever ails them will heal up or go away.
Despite the impressive structures, the temple grounds aren't all that large. A trip here is inevitably combined with a stroll through the area just outside the gate, the famous Sugamo Jizo Dori. Often dubbed as the Harajuku for seniors, Jizo Dori is filled with street stores offering everything from traditional crafts, restaurants, food bars and clothing.
The temple is a 4-minute walk from Sugamo Station on the Toei Mita Line or the JR Yamanote Line.
Was this article helpful?
A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 200 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via firstname.lastname@example.org