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Seven Gods of Fortune

  

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Gokokuin - Tokyo Tourist Guide

護国院

Gokoku-in

 

Tokyo, Taito-ku, Uenokoen 10-18

Tel.: 03-3821-3906
 

 
Gokoku-in boasts a main hall that has survived intact from 1724 in Edo times, in spite of wars and natural calamities. The small temple was founded in the 17th c. by a disciple of Tenkai who constructed the temple complex of Kan'ei-ji of which Gokoku-in served as a subsidiary hall.

 

 
 

 

 

 

The main position at the altar is taken up by a fine Daikoku statue – he even stands in front of the main image, a Shaka Nyorai. That this temple has some affinity with Shinto as well is shown by the presence of a Kagura Hall, a stage for dances to the gods in the precincts.

 

Return to Yanaka map

 

 

 

Daikokuten is one of the Seven Deities of Fortune and is enshrined in this temple. It is one of the stops of the pilgrimage along the Seven Deities temples in Yanaka. 

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大黒天

Daikokuten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          In Japan, Daikokuten, literally, god of great Darkness or Blackness, is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. Daikokuten evolved from the Indian deity, Shiva. The name is the Chinese and Japanese equivalent of Mahakala, another name for Shiva.

        Daikoku's images are found in the temples of Tibet and China and the god enjoys an exalted position as a household deity in Japan. Daikoku's association with wealth and prosperity gave rise to a strange custom known as Fuku-nusubi. This custom started with the belief that he who stole divine figures (gods and goddesses) was assured of good fortune, if not caught in the act of stealing. In the course of time stealing of divine images became so common a practice in Japan that the Toshi-no-ichi or the ‘year-end-market’ held in the Asakusa Kannon Temple became the main venue of the sale and disposal of such images by the fortune-seekers. Many small stalls were opened where articles including images of Daikoku or Mahakala were sold on the eve of New Year celebrations.

          The Japanese also maintain the symbol of Mahakala as a monogram. The traditional pilgrims climbing the holy Mount Ontake wear tenugui on white Japanese scarves with the sacred mantra Om.

          Daikoku is widely considered to be the god of wealth, or of the household, particularly the kitchen. He is recognized by his wide face, smile, and a flat black hat. He is often portrayed holding a golden mallet called an Uchide Nokozuchi, otherwise known as a magic money mallet, and is seen seated on bales of rice, with mice nearby (mice signify plentiful food).

          Daikoku's image was featured on the first Japanese bank note, designed by Edoardo Chiossone.

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Other temples and their deities in Yanaka:

TempleDeity
Tokaku-jiFukurokuju
Seiun-jiEbisu
Shusei-inHotei
Tennou-jiBishamonten
Choan-jiJuroujin
Gokoku-inDaikokuten
BentendoBenzaiten

 

How to get to Ueno Koen

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Ginza Line

 
Ueno-Hirokoji

Ueno

Inaricho

Hibiya Line

Naka-Okachimachi

Ueno 

Iriya

Yamanote Line

Okachimachi

Ueno

Uguisudani

  Return to Yanaka map

 

 

Gokoku-in - Tokyo Tourist Guide, 護国院, shrines Ueno, temples Yanaka, temples Tokyo, temples Taito, Daikoku, Daikokuten, Deities Yanaka, Walking tour Yanaka, Yanaka walking tour, , Tokyo, Japan, city, guide, tourist, travel, hotels, flights, airfares, accommodation, books, museums, Tokyo Museums, Art Galleries, bars, nightclubs, restaurants

 

 

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