Tokyo - Sengakuji (Day 2 part 3)
The 47 Ronin is a famous Japanese story of Honor, Loyalty and Revenge. I have read the book, watched the movie and at last had the opportunity to pay my respects to the actual burial site of the 47 Ronin which is located in the Takanawa neighborhood of Minato ward in Tokyo.
Sengaku-ji is a short walk from Sengaku-ji station (as long as you choose the correct exit). You go up a small hill and it basically ends directly at the temple. For some reason on maps it looks much harder to get to than it is. I notived this with a lot of things in Japan. It is important to note that Tokyo is huge but sometimes things are much closer together than they appear on the map.
I chose this day to visit Sengakuji as it is located between Asakusa and Odaiba which was my primary destination for the day. It is all just a short ride along the Toei Asakusa line.
I arrived around 11:00 am on an overcast morning. There was a scattering of people walking around the temple grounds when I arrived all of whom appeared to be there alone with the exception of a small family which added to the solemn feel of the temple and graveyard. I had somehow expected more activity but it never really developed. I had a feeling that although they offer an English Pamphlet they do not really get many foreigners visiting the temple. At the entrance is a very impressive statue of Oishi Kuranosuke, the leader of the 47 ronin (pictured at the top of this blog entry).
Several of the buildings appeared newer inside the courtyard. As I headed up to the left I entered a small but ancient cemetery. The graves of the 47 Ronin were very easy to find all located in the same small area. There was incense burning at each of the grave markers a sign that someone had recently paid respects. There were several photographers taking pictures and a few people came to offer prayers. I felt everyone was being very respectful in a way you don't often see these days. It was a very interesting experience.
Apart from the cemetery there was not much to the Temple itself from what I saw so I did not linger very long. I decided to continue up the hill a little and see more of the area as I headed back to Sengakuji station. There are some impressive buildings in the area and it is kind of a mixed use area residential and commercial. I enjoyed the walk but it was time to go to Odaiba so I quickly made it back to the station after about 15 minutes of walking around the area.
To see more of Sengakuji please visit my set of photos from the Minato area of Tokyo - http://kfrates.zenfolio.com/p899850998
Keywords: 47 Ronin, Cemetary, Graves, History, Japan, Japanese, Minato Ward, Photography, Sengakuji, Takanawa, Takanawa neighborhood, Temple, Tokyo
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