Toganji Temple in Nagoya, Aichi and its Mysterious Buddhist Statue
Unfrequented Temple Enshrining the Soul of Nobunaga Oda’s Father
Toganji Temple is located in Chikusa Ward, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture.
While it is a prestigious temple boasting a magnificent Buddha statue which rises up to 15 meters (including the pedestal part), the temple is nestled deep in the woods and has remained an unfrequented spot known only to those in the know.
Toganji was founded around 1540 as a temple of Soto school Buddhism by Nobuyuki Oda (brother of Nobunaga Oda, the famous feudal warlord) for the purpose of enshrining the soul of his late father, Nobunari Oda.
The temple was moved to the present location in 1712. The temple originally did not have the statue. The seated Buddha was erected relatively recently in 1987 and was given the present color at the time of the renovation in 2006.
Nature, Away from the Bustle of the City
Coming out of Motoyama Station of Nagoya Municipal Subway Higashiyama Line, you will get to the busy residential area with many students, mothers with kids going by. Then you will find the entrance of Toganji Temple, which is surrounded with greeneries but naturally blends in the residential neighborhood.
One step inside the temple site, you will find a mysterious space surrounded by nature.
You will go through two gates to proceed to the back of the temple. The second gate is named “Furomon,” literally meaning “no aging gate.” The gate with impressive red rails and pillars reflected against a white wall is wrapped in a distinctive aura that you will typically find in Ghibli movies.
Going past Furomon gate and further into the back area, you will soon find yourself completely surrounded with nature. The sacred atmosphere here makes you feel like you have trespassed into some sanctuary area.
In the sheer silence, you can hear not a sound of car motors here. It is another world where you can hardly believe that you are still somewhere in an urban area.
Grass Green Colored Nagoya Budda Statue
Going straight from Furomon gate, you will find the information panel of the Buddha statue.
Follow the instructions on the panel, go down the narrow stone stairs and you will get to an area with many tombs. Walking past those tombs, you will soon come across the Budda statue called “Nagoya Daibutsu.”
The statue looks somewhat Indian in its artistic style. With a deep grass green colored body dressed in a beautiful gold garment, the statue is wrapped in a stately and mysterious atmosphere.
The statues of animals and priests surrounding the saint and even the pedestal are the great features you should check out. All the details including the wrinkles on the skin of each statue are meticulously carved out and very impressive to look at.
Near the tall seated Buddha is also a statue of the Buddha’s left hand which is of the same size as that of the large statue.
Others Things to See
Toganji Temple also has the largest wooden gong (mokugyo) in Japan of one-meter in diameter, which you can actually touch, as well as the sleeping statue of Benzaiten, which you can touch only twice a year, at the main temple hall (admission fee of 1,000 yen applies). Left to the main hall, there is another hall called Benzaido where you can draw an oracle.
If you ever have a chance, plan a short trip to pull yourself away from the bustle of the city and enjoy the mysterious Buddha statue! Information: Map
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