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Tokaku-ji - Tokyo Tourist Guide

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Toukaku-ji

Kita-ku Tabata 2-7-3 || Tel.: 03-3821-1031

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             Although this temple is devoted to Fukurokuju, the first thing that catches your eye  are two statues of Nio - protectors of the temple - that are not recognizable as such, because they are nearly completely pasted over with red paper.  There is a reason for this. They are not newly arrived Nio, waiting to be unwrapped. In fact, they are known as the Red-Paper Nio.  Believers who are sick or who have physical problems paste a strip of red paper on the Nio on the same spot that corresponds to their problem. Since this is of course a private matter there is no telling how many people have done this, but it is clear that a large number of people believe in their healing power.

Return to Yanaka map

          Tokakuji is a pleasant temple, with a small garden at the back where you will find stone statues of the Seven Deities as well. It is a fitting goal for the Yanaka Tour.

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Fukurokuju in Tokakuji

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        This temple was built for the Deity Fukurokuju, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Japanese mythology and present day religion.

         The name Fukurokuju is written with three Kanji (Characters)  fuku, "happiness"; roku, "wealth"; and ju, "longevity".

         It has been theorized that he is a Japanese assimilation of the Chinese Three Star Gods (Fulushou) embodied in one deity. Most related in appearance to the Chinese star god Shou, he is the God of wisdom and longevity. According to some, before attaining divinity, he was a Chinese hermit of the Sung Dynasty and a reincarnation of the Taoist god Xuanwu. It is said that during his human incarnation, he was a sennin; a philosopher who could exist without eating food.

        He is sometimes confused with Juroujin, who by some accounts is Fukurokuju's grandson and by other accounts inhabits the same body as Fukurokuju.

        Usually portrayed as being bald, with long whiskers, he is said to be an incarnation of the Southern Polestar. In many depictions, Fukurokuju has an abnormally high forehead. The sacred book tied to his staff either contains the lifespan of every person on earth or a magical scripture. He is accompanied by a crane and a turtle, which are considered to be symbols of longevity. He is also sometimes accompanied by a black deer (ancient legends say a deer turns black if it is over 2000 years old).

        He is the only member of the Seven Lucky Gods credited with the ability to revive the dead.

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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

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