Gokokuji Temple

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Essential Exploring

One of Tokyo's lesser known Temples, the Gokokuji is a fantastic example (and also one of the more picturesque temples) and it deserves far more recognition that it has been given, and so makes its way into our list of Essential Exploring.

One of the few temples to survive the bombing of WWII, and one of the even fewer to have also survived the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Gokokuji offers a rare look at a Buddhist Temple built before the twentieth century.

The Journey

The Yurakucho Gokokuji Station conveniently places an exit directly in front of the Temple. After emerging from the exit you'll find the Temple's main Gate. Through the gate is a wide courtyard which includes several benches and tables under the shade of the trees. Further ahead in the courtyard and to the right is a Shinto Shrine, and directly ahead are a long series of steps which lead up to the Temple's main hall. This walk up to the steps is one of the Temples most picturesque sights.

After ascending the steps you'll pass through another gate (Furou-mon), not unlike the one at the entrance and then you will find yourself standing in front of the impressive Kannon-dou (main hall).


A closer inspection on the Temples’ structure shows that it is indeed old and weathered, enduring several hundred years and catastrophes.

To the left of the temple are several features, including a garden of stone lanterns (varying sizes and shapes), a short viewing tower, and several other buildings.

To the right of the temple are many more buildings including a small pagoda as well as many traditional houses; the preponderance of ancient Japanese buildings gives one the feeling like they've been sent back in time to feudal Japan, however the usual row of cars in the parking lot next to the main hall break this immersion.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped, with pines, azaleas and other bushes and sometimes resembles a garden more than a Temple.

How to get to the Gokokuji Temple

Yamanote line to Ikebukuro, transfer to Yurakucho line and take it to Gokokuji Station.

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