Do you know about Japanese temples? The main hall of Teishoji Temple seen through the gate has a calm and quiet appearance with the autumn leaves of the mountains in the background. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!
Teishoji Temple is a Shingon Buddhist temple founded in 1933 by Sadayakko Kawakami, Japan’s first actress. It is said that Sadayakko deeply believed that it was O-Fudo-sama (Acala) who protected her in difficult situations in her life. The temple was built in Unuma, Kakamigahara City, Gifu Prefecture, with private funds, modeled after the various halls and temples of the then Naritasan Shinshoji Temple (whose principal image is Acala).
Teishoji Temple is located near the Kiso River, where one can feel the expanse of the sky, mountains, and the earth.
The gate is a Niomon gate, a massive gate with two statues of Kongorikishi enshrined.
Walking through the gate, the main hall, made of all hinoki cypress and built on a concrete foundation, is both novel and massive.
There are eight dohameita (panels) around the main hall, with carvings of spiritual experiences that Sadayakko is said to have encountered, saved by her faith in O-Fudo-sama during her lifetime.
This is one of them.
Sadayakko’s Later Years
Sadayakko retired from acting in 1917 on the seventh anniversary of her late husband Otojiro Kawakami’s death.
Afterward, it is said that Sadayakko had three dreams. The first was to work with Momosuke Fukuzawa, an old acquaintance, to accomplish the Kiso River Power Development Project. The second was to establish a silk weaving factory, which she had been familiar with since childhood. And the third was to create a children’s theater company.
Sadayakko, who accomplished all of them and built the temple of her dreams, ended her stormy life in 1946. Sadayakko’s remains are buried in a tomb on the hillside of Teishoji Temple.
Teishoji Temple Today
The temple was later administered by the Naritasan Nagoya Betsuin in 1960, and was extensively restored and operated as “Naritasan Teishoji Temple.” Various halls and temple buildings were registered as Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan in 2006. It is also well known as a temple for the improvement of various arts and performing arts.