If awards were being given out for the most untemple like temple in Japan, Honganji would be a strong contender. A Jodo shinshu sect temple, that's located not far from Tsukiji fish market, it looks rather more like an art gallery, or European parliament building than it does a Buddhist temple. I have passed it many times, usually when visiting Tsukiji markets or visiting a friend who was being treated at the National Cancer Centre across the road, but never popped in to see it.
Today was the day, inspired partly by Katsu, a friend in Kyoto who suggested it, partly because it's somewhere that I have been meaning to go, and partly because the Tsukiji Harumi map was on the top of the walking tours of Tokyo pile that I picked up at Tokyo Metropolitan Govt a couple of weeks ago.
In terms of architecture, Honganji is obviously different, but more striking for its difference was the attitude. I get a headache trying to discern the differences between Jodoshu, Jodoshinshu, Tendai, Soto Zen, Rinzai Zen, Nichiren and its manifestations, Shingon and any and all sects that I haven't mentioned, but Honganji's Jodoshinshu was the first time to see what appeared as inclusive Buddhism in Japan. Hiro was hungry so we didn't stay long, though I was interested to note they have English seminar there each month (just what I might need if I am ever going to contribute to a Zen text translation project I agreed to do months ago when I had a whole lot more time).
I intend to go back again someday to check out out in more detail.
Chanting for what looked like a memorial ceremony up the front
other people were coming and going as they pleased.
In such a grand marble building in Europe, I doubt cattle would be
the animals on the bannisters.
|Looking out to a courtyard|
Unorthodox for a Japanese temple..
|Detail above the door|