The Treasures of Monzen Nakacho – Fukagawa Fudo-do
We took advantage of a sunny day to visit Monzen Nakacho and the Fukagawa Fudo-do (Fukagawa Fudo Temple). Situated conveniently on the Oedo line, the town itself is a cute, shop-filled place that’s easily navigable by walking. We visited on the 15th of the month, so we got to see the flea market at Fukugawa Hachiman Shrine, and then ate at a scrumptious soba at a tiny restaurant between the shrine and the huge temple. The Temple itself is simply humongous, set back majestically from the main road. What makes this Temple special though, is the sutras read by the colorfully dressed priests in a fury of taiko drums and fire. After a spectacle of color and chanting outside on the stone walkway, visitors, as long as they are respectful and willing to take off their shoes, are invited inside into the main room of the temple where the high priest chants and blesses people as the fire rages behind him and the drums crescendo and lull in rhythmic succession. After the ceremony, we got to walk through the shrine. We saw the thousands of tiny Buddhas set behind glass and rubbed the ball-like stones beneath them for luck. Upstairs is a rendition of the shrine trek of the island of Shukoku, where it is said that worshiping is like making the trek itself. The beauty and majesty of the contrasting red and black and crystal accents add to the atmosphere of shimmering excitement when combined with the incomparable fire and drumming. It might be one of my favorite things I’ve done in Tokyo in all the years I’ve lived here. I’d highly recommend a trip out there. Enjoy the photos and video.