Fukuoka isn’t instantly thought of as a “must see” destination when you think of Japan. However, it has some hidden gems to offer. One such place is Tochoji.
Legend has it that Tochoji was set up by the Monk Kobo-Daishi, who, upon returning from a trip to China, founded the temple with the view of disseminating Tantric Buddhism. It happens to be one of the oldest in Japan that Kobo-Daishi set up. It’s estimated to have been built in 806 AD.
Main temple building.
Currently it nestles within Fukuoka’s Hakata district, though this is not its original placement. Prior to movement, it used to sit near the ocean, until relocation was carried out by Kuroda Tadayuki, Fukuoka’s second lord.
After it’s relocation, it became the Kuroda family temple, and houses graves for second lord Tadayuki, third lord Mitsuyuki, and eighth lord Harutaka. Many miles of land and mountain have been donated to the temple over the years, and it is a designated historical site.
Five tier pagoda.
The Senkujan non-Buddhist statue was carved from a singular piece of Chinese black pine, and stands proud (if not tall) at 87cm. It was designated a National Treasure back in the Meiji period. Rokkakudo is a hut -contained sanctum with revolving bookshelves for the Sutra within. It sits in the Brightly coloured pagoda, and features six feretory doors adorned with art and calligraphy from artisans of its time of conception (1842). Sadly I have no photos, as they are prohibited. Last but not least, Tochoji’s most famous feature is its wooden seated Buddha, Japan’s largest seated Buddha. Work started in 1988, and was completed 4 years later. It’s an impressive 10.8m in height and 30 tonnes in weight. Again, photos of the Deity are prohibited, but you can buy postcards bearing its image for 100 yen.
The wooden Buddha.