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Photo By: PIXTA/iwasaki_2020
Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Tokyo
Population
12,059,237

Jindai-ji Temple

Superstition, history and nature come together over a bowl of soba noodles.

By Runako Thornhill

The streets leading to Jindaiji Temple are so rich with culture, greenery and clear spring waters that one might forget to visit the temple itself – but that would be a mistake. The temple’s history starts in 733, and the treasures still enshrined on the grounds are fascinating windows into Japan’s past. The forested area is easily accessed from central Tokyo and is filled with eye-catching details that make it as interesting as it is peaceful.

Kitaro Chaya

Photo by: Runako Thornhill Colorful statues of Kitaro and Nezumi Otoko greet visitors.

Kitaro Chaya was built in honor of the late manga artist Shigeru Mizuki who lived in Chofu City for much of his life. Upon entering the forested area that leads to the temple, visitors are greeted by characters from his popular yokai (supernatural entity) comic GeGeGe No Kitaro. It is perhaps the most unexpected thing about this pilgrimage. The small collection of shops is decorated with colorful statues and playful illustrations of Mr. Mizuki’s creations.

The Treasures of Jindaiji

Photo by: PIXTA/iwasaki_2020 The temple’s main gate features a thatched roof.

From the 300-year-old main gate with its thatched roof to the rare butterfly habitat on the temple grounds, Jindaiji is chock full of unique details. Before praying at the Main hall worshippers can stop at the incense burner to purify themselves in smoke. Enshrined deep inside Ganzan Daishi hall is the largest statue of a seated monk in Japan. The temple’s Shakudo hall houses two national treasures, a Hakudo Buhdda statue and the temple’s old bell. The statue is the oldest of its kind in eastern Japan and the only National Treasure Buddha in Tokyo.

Edo Noodles and One-Eyed Dolls

Jindaiji

Photo by: Runako Thornhill Surrounding restaurants offer soba options for every season.

The Jindaiji Temple area is known for the Daruma dolls sold at the souvenir shops. Every spring the temple hosts a fair where the wishing totems bought on the temple grounds have their left eyes filled in by a monk.

Once your thirst for culture and history is satisfied, quell your hunger at one of the many soba shops. According to records, Jindaiji has been a destination for soba since the Edo period when local farmers would deliver buckwheat to the temple. Today the restaurants offer seasonal soba dishes and scenic views of the surrounding trees and ponds.

After enjoying all that Jindaiji Temple offers, you can take a short path from the temple area to the nearby Jindai Botanical Gardens.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

Entrance to the temple is free and there is some open seating around the shopping street.

Hours and holidays of the surrounding shops and restaurants vary but even on a weekday, many shops are open between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On March 3 and 4, a festival is held to honor the priest Ganzan Daishi, the Daruma doll market at the festival is one of Japan’s largest. 

 

How To Get There

Address

By train

Jindaiji is accessible by bus from the south gate of Kichijoji station on the Chuo-Sobu line or Keio Inokashira line.

Take bus No. 04 from bus stop No. 06 or bus No. 06 from bus stop No. 04 and get off at the Jindaiji entrance bus stop.

Where To Stay

Chofu Creston Hotel
  • 1-38-1 Kojimacho, Chofu-shi, Tokyo, 182-0026 Japan
  • ¥14,000 - ¥56,500
  • 3.6/5 (576 reviews)
  • 1.8 km
Hotel Livemax Budget Chofu Station
  • 4-2-6 Fuda, Chofu-shi, Tokyo, 182-0024 Japan
  • ¥7,268 - ¥90,440
  • 1.63/5 (316 reviews)
  • 2.0 km
JR-East Hotel Mets Musashisakai
  • 2-1-8 Kyonancho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-0023 Japan
  • ¥25,300 - ¥62,600
  • 4.06/5 (1,765 reviews)
  • 3.8 km
Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel
  • 1-6-3 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-0003 Japan
  • ¥12,200 - ¥63,800
  • 4.44/5 (2,005 reviews)
  • 4.6 km
Kichijoji Excel Hotel Tokyu
  • 2-4-14 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo, 180-0004 Japan
  • ¥14,700 - ¥81,000
  • 4.25/5 (93 reviews)
  • 5.0 km

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