|Address:||5-40-1 Otsuka, Bunkyo, Tokyo 112-0012 [map]|
Gokokuji, just east of Ikebukuro Station, is a beautiful wooden Buddhist temple founded in 1681 by the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in honour of his mother. It managed to survive the air raids of WWII, and it’s main hall (Honden) was deemed an “Important Cultural Property”. Despite that classification, Gokokuji Temple really doesn’t get many visitors, so we’ve given it “off-the-beaten-path” status.
Besides the main temple—Honden (be sure to venture in, the art and statues inside are incredible)—the grounds host a large up-kept cemetery with stone pathways, a Buddha statue, and a small pagoda. Makes for a perfectly peaceful spot for an afternoon stroll.
Festivals: Every year, the temple celebrates Hana Matsuri (Flower Festival) on April 6 to commemorate Buddha’s birthday. The temple is also popular during cherry blossom season as it has many varieties of cherry trees.
Access: The temple is a 20-min walk east from Ikebukuro Station or a 2-min walk from Gokokuji Station via the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line.