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Zenkoji Temple in Kita-Aoyama

Zenkoji Temple (青山善光寺) in Aoyama is the affiliate of the famous Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City. Shinshu Zenkoji was built in Nagano when Buddhism still wasn’t split into sects, so it belongs to Tendai and Jodo-Shu Schools. According to the legend, it was called so because Yoshimitsu Honda saved the temple’s image of Amida Buddha. Zenkoji literally means “Yoshimitsu’s temple”.

Zenkoji Temple in Tokyo was founded in 1601 and represents Jodo-Shu School of Buddhism.Zenkoji TempleThe temple was moved to Kita-Aoyama from Yanaka after the fire in 1703. Nowadays it is squeezed between tall office buildings in Aoyama, but in the 17th century it boasted a territory of 25,000 square meters, granted by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The scenery of Zenkoji Temple in Aoyama was included in several Edo-times guidebooks and was quite famous.Zenkoji TempleThe gates of the temple are guarded by “Two Kings”, or Nio-Mon (仁王門), brought to the location from Hakone.

Zenkoji Temple


Zenkoji TempleThe temple survived another fire in 1862, and for a long time it was forgotten. The reconstruction began only in 1916 and was finished in 1921. By that time Zenkoji became almost forgotten by guidebooks and tourists. I recommend visiting during cherry blossom season and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big city.Zenkoji Temple Zenkoji Temple also has a memorial plate of the prominent Japanese scholar Takano Choei (1804 – 1850). He was pursued for criticizing the Tokugawa shogunate’s role in the Morrison Incident. Choei’s last shelter was in the whereabouts of Aoyama. His remains were never found.Zenkoji Temple


Zenkoji Temple Aoyama

Address: Tokyo, Minato Ward, Kita-Aoyama 3-5-17

Access 1: 5 min. walk from Omote-Sando St.

Access 2: 10 min. walk from Gaien-Mae St.

Official website: Zenkoji Temple Aoyama

Distance from airport: About 20 km from Haneda Airport.

Article by Olga Kaneda

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