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Gokokuji Temple

Gokokuji Temple is a Buddhist temple that is off the beaten path and well worth a visit. It is considered one of the oldest temples in Tokyo.

By Abhijit Sen

Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, with a seemingly endless supply of sights, sounds and experiences to enjoy. But amidst all the excitement and energy, it can be easy to overlook some of the city’s hidden treasures. One such place is Gokokuji Temple, a beautiful and historic Buddhist temple that’s off the beaten path but well worth a visit.

Temple Background

Gokokuji Temple - Tahoto Pagoda

Photo by: PIXTA/ degu66 Check out the nearby pagoda.

The temple was founded in 1681 by the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in honor of his mother. Gokokuji Temple is one of the oldest and most significant temples in Tokyo. It survived numerous earthquakes and air raids that had previously destroyed much of the city. The temple’s importance to the people of Tokyo is reflected in its designation as an important cultural property of the city.

Dedicated to Shingon Buddhism and centuries of worship and reflection have created a beautifully kept compound of temples and monuments. The temple’s rich history is reflected in the kannondo (main temple), which houses a collection of art dating back to the Genroku period. The temple grounds are open for visitors to discover various structures, including the Shoro Do Belfry Tower, Yakushi Do, and Daishi Do. Gokokuji Temple has a six-armed Honzon Nyoirin Kanzeon Bodhisattva statue made of Chinese natural amber. With a benevolent expression, the statue watches over sentient beings with a warm gaze.

A Peaceful Oasis

Gokokuji Temple - Sakura

Photo by: PIXTA/ ABC Drop by in early April to experience the flower festival.

Aside from its rich history and culture, Gokokuji has a peaceful and serene atmosphere. It is a perfect spot for an afternoon stroll. The temple’s grounds hold a large cemetery with stone pathways, a Buddha statue and a beautiful garden.

Every year, the temple celebrates hana matsuri (flower festival) on April 6 to commemorate Buddha’s birthday. The temple is also popular during cherry blossom season as it has many varieties of cherry trees. During these times, the temple is bustling with activity, and visitors can enjoy a lively and festive atmosphere. The temple dates back to the Edo period and continues today.

Things To Know


Visiting hours are from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., but the facility is closed from 12 p.m.–1 p.m.

How To Get There


By train

To get to Gokokuji, take the Yurakucho line subway to Gokokuji station and walk for a few minutes. Alternatively, take the JR Yamanote line to Ikebukuro station, then take the Toei-bus to Gokokuji-mae.

Where To Stay

Hotel MyStays Higashi Ikebukuro
  • 4-39-13 Higashiikebukuro (Tsuginobiruonozo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-0013 Japan
  • ¥8,900 - ¥11,000
  • 4.35/5 (2,049 reviews)
  • 0.8 km
Hotel Livemax Tokyo Otsuka-Ekimae
  • 3-44-12 Minamiotsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-0005 Japan
  • ¥10,200 - ¥71,400
  • 3.4/5 (240 reviews)
  • 0.9 km
Sunshine City Prince Hotel
  • 3-1-5 Sanshiyainshiteipurinsuhoteru, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-8440 Japan
  • ¥23,355 - ¥107,469
  • 4/5 (5,438 reviews)
  • 1.0 km
Hotel Resol Ikebukuro
  • 2-30-14 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 171-0022 Japan
  • ¥9,025 - ¥18,500
  • 4.24/5 (1,621 reviews)
  • 1.0 km
APA Hotel Yamanote Otsuka Eki Tower
  • 3-31-10 Minamiotsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-0005 Japan
  • ¥9,000 - ¥16,500
  • 1.0 km

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