Gotokuji temple

Situated in Setagaya ward, Tokyo, a Soto school temple called Daikeizan Gotokuji finds itself lingering with its historical elegance.
Formerly this is the family temple of the Ii family, the lords of the Hikone domain in Edo, and has many cultural assets related to the Ii family.
Despite its easy access from the big city, Gotokuji temple stands in peace and quiet surrounded by lush greens.
Enjoy the seasonal changes in the precincts such as plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, peonies, azaleas, and Japanese maples beautifully colored in late autumn.
The pine trees lining the mountain path from the stone gate to the temple gate and the deep forest where wild birds fly about are also another highlight of Gotokuji.

History

Setagaya area became the domain of the Hikone clan in 1633, the Ii clan assigned “Kotokuin” built in 1480 as a Bodaiji*1 in Edo (the name of the time for Tokyo).
In 1659, “Kotokuin” is renamed in honor of the second lord, Naotaka Ii, “Kyushoin-den-Gotoku-Teneitaii-shi”. Since the buildings are sculpted for an appropriate feudal lord’s cemeteries to today’s appearance.
Gotokuji preserves well the style of typical feudal lord cemetery of Edo era, which marks one of the largest national historical sites in the area.

*1: Bodaiji is a temple which, generation after generation, takes care of a family's dead, giving them burial and performing ceremonies in their soul's favor

Precinct map

※Shohuku-den is under renovation until April 2022.

1.

Cemetery of the Ii clan

In the cemetery, there are the graves of the successive feudal lords and their first wives including Tairo*2, the thirteenth lord of the clan Naosuke and the second generation of the rebuilder of the temple, Naotaka.
Designated as a national historic site in 2008.

*2: Great elder

2.

Butsu-den

Butsu-den, the buddha hall built in 1677. In front of Butsu-den, seated statues of Amidanyorai, Shakanyorai, Miroku-bosatsu meaning respectively the present, the past and the future are enshrined.
Designated as Setagaya tangible cultural property in 1990.

3.

Kaiso-do

Inaugurated in November 1999. Chair-sitting statues of Sokan-daiosho (the first builder of Gotokuji temple), Shudo-daiosho (the 4th generation of the rebuilder of the temple), Shoyo-daishi (Dogen, the founder of Soto school), Josai-daishi (Keizan, the founder of Soto school), Shotoku-taishi, and the spirit tablets of successive chief priests of the temple and the feudal lords are laid to rest inside.

*Open only on January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, during Ohigan period (mid to late March and mid to late September) and Obon period (mid-August)

4.

Jizo-do

Inaugurated in 2020. Statue in half lotus position of Jizo-bosatsu lays to rest inside.

*Open only on weekends, Japanese national holidays, January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, during Ohigan period (mid to late March and mid to late September) and Obon period (mid-August)

5.

Ho-do

Built in 1967, Ho-do, the main hall of the temple enshrines standing statues of Shokanzenon-bosatsu and Jizo-bosatsu, seated statues of Monji-bosatsu and Fugen-bosatsu, and one of the treasures of the temple, the portrait of Naosuke Ii by Naoyasu Ii.

6.

Sanju-no-to

Inaugurated in May 2006, with a 22.5 meter-high Sanju-no-to (three-storied pagoda) enshrines the statues of Shakanyorai, Kasho-sonzya, Anan-sonzya and Manekineko-kannon.

7.

Bonsho

Made by Masatsugu Fujiwara also known as Rokuemon Kamaya, this Bonsho is the most historic Buddhist bell in Setagaya and highly appreciated as an art piece.
Designated as a Setagaya tangible cultural property in the year 2000.

8.

Sanmon

The sign of this Sanmon “Hekiunseki” is said to mean “A gate built to separate the outside world and the precinct.”

9.

Shofuku-den

In the past, there was a cat cemetery situated at the back of the Hikone clan cemetery on the temple grounds. Intricately connected to the Hikone domain lord Ii clan, Gotokuji temple used to receive many people who walks all the way up to the back to share their luck. In 1932, Shofuku-den meaning luck-beckoning temple is built to allow people to visit freely.
※Shofuku-den is under renovation until April 2022.

10.

Akamon

Akamon, meaning red gate, main homestead of the Ii clan, which was donated by the Ii family to the temple. Originally located at the east gate, it was moved to its present location.

11.

Tea room “Muni-an”,
Shoin, Shugetsu-en

Tea room “Muni-an”
Naosuke's beloved tearoom (reconstructed). Kendo Onjo, a former Hikone domain retainer who lived in Gotokuji temple for a half century as a grave keeper after the death of the Grand Elder Naosuke、received the “Muni-an” by the Ii family as his hermitage.

Shoin/Shugetsu-en
The building of Shoin meaning studio is succeeded from the Edo homestead of Hotta clan of former Sakura domain, which was moved after the great Kanto earthquake. Shugetsu-en is the garden that was made at the time.

Cimelia &
Cultural properties