Exploring Tokyo: A Morning Walk Along The Meguro River
I’ve been spending a lot of time walking around Tokyo. It’s just so easy to set out and find myself lost in this wonderful new world. I haven’t been blogging about this part of my time here because there is not much to say. I’m often not sure where I was or what I was seeing. I just sort of walk and explore. I’ve been posting photos of my walks on Instagram Stories, but I just keep finding such beautiful things that I want to share. So, here is what I hope is the first part of a recurring series where we embark on a journey through Tokyo, capturing the essence of my morning walk. Today, I ventured out along the Meguro River near Meguro station and found the loveliest little Buddhist Temple. The serene Daien-ji Temple is nestled on the historic Gyōjinzaka slope.
I started my walk at our house near Gotanda station and headed toward the Meguro River. Unexpectedly, the road I planned to traverse was closed, leading me to cross the river and embark on a steep hillside ascent. Along the way, I encountered Daien-ji Temple, an exquisite Buddhist sanctuary with a rich historical tapestry. According to historical accounts, this temple’s origin can be traced back to 1624, when the Shugen monk Taikai Hoin of Mt. Dewa Yudono founded a dojo with Dainichi Nyorai as its principal image. In 1772, a devastating fire ravaged the temple and expanded to consume 628 towns in Edo City, making it one of the three major fires in Edo’s history. To commemorate the victims of this great fire, the stone statue of Gohyakurakan was erected within the temple grounds.
One of the joys of wandering through Japan is the ubiquity of shrines and temples that are everywhere. There are so many that you can easily stop noticing them. Daien-ji Temple’s allure, with its deep-rooted historical significance, echoes the peaceful coexistence of tradition and modernity. Visitors are welcomed to these sacred places, and unless marked otherwise, exploring is encouraged. To honor the sacred sites, remember to approach them with quiet reverence. You can choose to make a short prayer in front of the sacred objects and toss a coin into the offering box.
You’ll often find a fountain and ladle at Buddhist temples in Japan. They’re not for a quick sip but serve a unique purpose – cleansing! It’s like a spiritual “wash your hands before dinner” ritual, showing respect for the sacred stuff inside
You might recognize the famous “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys – they’re a common symbol in Buddhism. But did you know their origins date back to Nikko? Dive into their story and more in my Nikko travel post.
My greatest hope is to ignite the spirit of wanderlust in each reader. Tokyo, like much of Japan, is a treasure trove of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, I encourage you to venture beyond the well-trodden paths and allow your curiosity to lead the way. As you traverse Tokyo’s vibrant streets, pause to investigate the shrines and temples that subtly emerge in your surroundings. These sacred sites are more than architectural marvels; they’re portals to the past, each brimming with stories steeped in history and tradition. So go on and embrace the joy of wandering, and remember, every corner of this bustling metropolis has a story to tell.