Gate of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

Japanese Temple | Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin


Do you know about Japanese temples? Toyokawa Inari is a Soto Zen temple called Toyokawakaku Myogonji Temple. 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!

Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin


I had heard that there was a branch temple (Betsuin) of Toyokawa Inari in Tokyo, so I decided to visit. To get there, exit from Akasaka-mitsuke Subway Station and walk along Aoyama-Dori for about five minutes to Shibuya, and you will see a line of red lanterns on both sides of the street at the corner. In the corner, I found the gate of the Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

As I entered it, I was surprised to find myself in an atmosphere that made it hard to believe I was in Tokyo.

Toyokawa Inari in Aichi Prefecture is well known, but I had never visited it before. I vaguely guessed that it would be a shrine dedicated to a fox. However, I was even more surprised to discover that it was not a shrine, but a Soto Zen temple called Toyokawakaku Myogonji.

Main Temple of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin
Main Temple of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

The deity enshrined at Myogonji Temple is Toyokawa Dakini-Shinten, a deity that protects Buddhism. It is said that the name “Toyokawa Inari” originated from the fact that she carried ears of rice and sat astride a white fox.

The messengers of the deity were also foxes, and there was Reibyo-Zuka (mound of foxes) with statues of foxes dedicated by worshippers as thanks for the fulfillment of their prayers. The precincts were also full of foxes.

Reibyo-Zuka (Mound of foxes)
Reibyo-Zuka (Mound of foxes)

In addition, there is the Mausoleum of Ooka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke-KO (Lord Ooka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke) in the temple precincts, where his tablets are enshrined. Ooka Tadasuke was a town magistrate who supported the Kyoho Reforms of the 8th shogun, Yoshimune Tokugawa, during the Edo era about 300 years ago.

It is said that the Tokyo Betsuin was established when Ooka Echizen-no-Kami Tadasuke-KO invited the deity Toyokawa Dakkini-Shinten from Toyokawa Inari in Aichi Prefecture and enshrined her spirit in his home.

I became a big fan of Ooka Echizen because I used to watch the TV historical drama “Ooka Echizen,” and the story of him being a great magistrate is entertaining, and I liked the actor who played him. I was very surprised because I had no idea that the real Ooka Echizen’s mausoleum was here. I refrained from taking pictures of the mausoleum, so there are no photos.

Toyokawa Inari is a temple, and there are various halls in the precincts, each dedicated to various deities and buddhas. For example, Kanoo Inari Sonten, Yuzu Inari Sonten, Daikokuten, Migawari-Jizo, Statue of Kodakara Kannon Bosatsu, and more.

I was further surprised to learn that you can take a tour of the seven deities of good fortune within the temple precincts. I prayed in the temple, impressed by the many surprises I found.