Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nagoya : Toganji Temple

Nagoya is not usually on tourists' to be visited places in Japan unless the visitor is in Nagoya on business or is in the surrounding regions for a long period of stay. But Nagoya does have some interesting places to visit and is also well connected to the more popular Kyoto, Tokyo, Nara and Osaka. Plus the city is famous for its cuisine, "Nagoya Meshi" which does attract a lot of Japanese tourists. 

Having moved to Nagoya a few months back, my family and I are still in the process of discovering the various things that the city has to offer. In the initial days of our life in Nagoya, we did not explore much, thanks to the hot and humid summer. But that did not stop us from visiting few spots now and then. One such place is the Toganji temple. 
Toganji temple is a relatively less known temple in Nagoya and is usually not on the tourist's itinerary. The temple dates back to the 16th century when it was built by the war lord Oda Nobuyuki in memory of his father, Oda Nobuhide, the head of the Owari clan which ruled the region. The temple was moved to its current location in 1714. 

The temple belongs to the Soto Zen sect of Buddhism and interestingly has many links to Hinduism. The temple grounds have a hall where Benzaiten-sama, the Buddhist version of Hindu goddess of learning Saraswati is enshrined.

Benzaiten sama is honoured in a festival on May 7th and 8th each year. Just outside this hall is a Shiv Lingam, a manifestation of the Hindu God, Shiva.
The entrance to the temple grounds can be easily missed, thanks to a narrow path leading past maple trees being the main approach.
This path however looks colourful during Autumn. 
The narrow path leads to a Chinese style gate and a path on the left leads to the temple's main hall.

The temple also contains a huge wood block and it is believed that touching this wood block with one hand purges sins committed in the past. 
Towards the right, the path leads to a stone stairway, descending which leads one to a giant green coloured seated image of the Buddha. 
The Toganji temple is known for this Buddha Statue, even though it is a more recent addition, having been erected in 1987.
The pedestal of this 15 meter high image is decorated with Buddhist iconography and in predominant Indian style, yet another reminder of the temple's links to India. 
 A large bronze hand of the Buddha is also placed opposite the Buddha statue.  
The temple grounds are small but they also contain an ancient pine tree, a thick bamboo grove and a small shrine, which appears to be dedicated to dead pets. 

Toganji temple is a short walk from the Motoyama subway station on the Higashiyama and Meijo subway lines. 

Address : Nagoya 464-0819, Chikusa ku, Yotsuya-dori, 2-16, Motoyama

Phone: : 052 781 1427

Entrance fee: Free 

Parking : Limited parking available. 

1 comment:

  1. This temple,which I have been to, is small,neat and attractive.The garden area around the big green Buddha,was far less so...I am talking about 2007.The Buddha as big as it is,is not positioned in a way that it stands out as you walk towards it.It is situated at the bottom of the grounds,well below the temple gardens up much higher,where you first enter.Overall,if you have time up your sleeve, whilst in Nagoya,it is a worth a visit.This is a good article,that has been well presented with photos.