Gate of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

Japanese Temple | Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

「豊川稲荷東京別院」


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

Surprises

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 Tomb 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 tomb was here. I refrained from taking pictures of the tomb, 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.

「豊川稲荷東京別院」

驚き

東京に豊川稲荷の別院があると聞いたので訪ねてみました。地下鉄の赤坂見附駅から出て、青山通りに沿って渋谷方面へ5分ぐらい歩いていくと、曲がり角の両側に赤い提灯が並んでいるのが目に入ります。その角に豊川稲荷東京別院の山門がありました。

山門をくぐると、東京にいるとは思えないような雰囲気となり驚きました。

愛知県にある豊川稲荷は有名ですが、今まで一度も訪ねたことがありません。漠然とお狐様を祀った神社だろうと思っていました。ところが、神社ではなく、豐川閣妙嚴寺(とよかわかくみょうごんじ)という曹洞宗のお寺であることがわかり、さらに驚きました。

妙嚴寺がお祀りしている鎮守は、豊川ダ枳尼眞天(とよかわだきにしんてん)という仏法を守る神様です。稲穂を担いで、白い狐に跨っておられたことから「豊川稲荷」と言われるようになったのだそうです。

神使も狐で、祈願成就のお礼として参拝者が奉納した狐の像が並ぶ霊狐塚もありました。境内にはお狐様がいっぱいでした。

更に、境内に大岡越前守忠相公(おおおかえちぜんのかみただすけこう)の霊廟があり、位牌が安置されていました。大岡忠相は、今から300年ぐらい前の江戸時代に8代将軍徳川吉宗公の享保の改革を町奉行として支えた人物です。

大岡越前守忠相公が、愛知県の豊川稲荷から鎮守・豊川ダ枳尼眞天を勧請して、ご分霊を自宅に祀ったのが、東京別院の始まりなのだそうです。

昔よく見ていたTV時代劇『大岡越前』の名奉行ぶりが面白くて、それを演じる役者さんも好きだったので、大岡越前の大ファンとなりました。本物の大岡越前の霊廟がここにあるとは全く知らなかったので大変驚きました。霊廟を写すのは遠慮しましたので写真はありません。

豊川稲荷はお寺でしたが、境内には様々なお堂があり、それぞれに様々な神様、仏様が祀られています。叶稲荷(かなういなり)、融通稲荷、大黒天、身代わり地蔵、子宝観音などです。

更にこの境内内で七福神巡りができるというので驚きでした。驚くことがたくさんあって感心しながらお参りしました。



Ikuyo.K.


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