ABOUT KOEDO KAWAGOE’S SEVEN LUCKY GODS

 

Kawagoe, city of history and traditions, was once called “mother of Edo”, and in contrast with so called Ōedo, the big Edo (Tokyo), Kawagoe’s nickname was Koedo, the “little Edo”. In present days, the atmosphere of former castle town remains in many spots of Kawagoe city. That’s the reason why every year a lot of tourists come to Kawagoe to visit its cultural heritage.

In Koedo Kawagoe there are temples where the Seven Lucky Gods have been worshipped from ancient times. History of beliefs of Seven Lucky Gods in Japan became noticeable during the late Muromachi period (1336-1573), based on the teaching of Shichinan sokumetsu, shichifuku sokushō. Shichinan means seven sufferings such as floods or fire and the sutra Nin’ōhan’nyakyō teaches us, that if seven forms of sufferings immediately stop (sokumetsu), seven forms of happiness (shichifuku) will arise immediately (sokushō).

Later, during Edo period the great master Tenkai Daisōjō, the head of Tendai sect and a close associate of shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the ruler of Japan, had a deep interest in Seven Lucky Gods. While praying for peace and happiness of all living beings, great master Tenkai Daisōjō described the seven forms of happiness and good fortune (shichifuku) as follows. The purity and the unselfishness are represented by Ebisuten. The affluence and the prosperity are represented by Daikokuten, while the power and the influence are embodied by Bishamonten. The respect and love are represented by Benzaiten, and the popularity is embodied by Fukurokujujin. The longevity is represented by Jurōjin, and the lost one, the large quantity is embodied by Hoteison. That’s the reason, why so many people made pilgrimage to shrines and temples to worship to Seven Lucky Gods while praying for peace, safety and health.

The course of the pilgrimage to Seven Lucky Gods in Koedo Kawagoe is about 6 kilometers long. Starting from Kawagoe station and Kawagoeshi station on the Tōbu Tōjō line, or from Hon-Kawagoe station on the Seibu line, you can manage this walk in a half day, just good enough to enjoy sightseeing and improve your health condition. First day of every month and the New Year season starting from January 1st (until January7th) are en’nichi, Days of the Seven Lucky Gods. How about visiting ancient temples of Koedo Kawagoe and praying for you and your family’s health and wishes?

 


 

KOEDO KAWAGOE
SEVEN LUCKY GODS WALK GUIDE

 

BISHAMONTEN < power and influence >


Myōzenji temple, which belongs to Tendai sect, was founded in 1624 (first year of the Kan’ei era) by priest Son’nō Hōin, but the temple hall was destroyed by fire in 1788 and rebuilt in 1978. Honzon, the effigy and the holy image of this temple, is Fudōmyō’ō, one of kings of wisdom, called Acala in Sanskrit. Sculpture was created by Master Chishō Daishi (known also as Enchin, 814-891), former head priest of Tendai sect. Also Amida Nyorai, the celestial Buddha called Amitābha in Sanskrit, is enshrined aside.
Bishamonten, called Vaiśravana in Sanskrit, is a guardian deity, sometimes called also Tamonten in Japan. With his armor and helmet, Bishamonten is known as God of warriors; he carries pagoda shrine in his left hand granting uncountable treasures and good fortune to all living beings. Halberd in his right hand exorcises the evil and brings good virtues to all beings. Bishamonten brings courage to your heart and mind, and wealth to your house.


MYŌZENJI TEMPLE
Sugawara-machi 9-6, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-7559

 

 

JURŌJIN < longevity >


Ten’nenji temple, also known as Jinenzan Dainichi’in, was founded in September 1554 (23rd year of Temmon era) by priest Eikai Shōnin. The Dainichi Nyorai, celestial Buddha Vairocana, interpreted as the Dharma Body of the historical Buddha, is enshrined in Ten’nenji temple. This temple is also known as place where En’nin, the Great Master Jikaku Shōnin, once worked.
Jurōjin is a Chinese God, known as the incarnation of Canopus, the brightest star in the southern constellation of Carina. Jurōjin and Fukurokuju are sometimes said to be the same Gods, both having a variety of images and appearances. The statue of Jurōjin, enshrined in this temple, was originally in Chikyōji temple in Hakone area, has a long head, long beard, having a cane in his right hand and peach, the symbol of longevity, in his left hand. Jurōjin grants happiness, fortune and wealth. Also protects from illness, etc., but is mainly known as a God of longevity.


TEN’NENJI TEMPLE
Senba machi 4-10-10, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-6151

 

 

DAIKOKUTEN <affluence and prosperity>


History of Kitain temple began in 830 (7th year of the Tenchō era) when it was founded by the Great Master Jikaku Shōnin according to the imperial decree of Emperor Jun’na. Temple was destroyed during Kawagoe Great Fire in 1638, but was rebuilt thanks to shōgun Iemitsu Tokugawa, who relocated a part of Tokugawa’s Edo palace. Visitors can see all cultural assets of Kitain temple. The Goma (Homa) ritual, Buddhist rite of cedar-stick burning, which exorcises the evil and protects people, is held every day here.
Daikokuten is a God of ancient India, in Buddhism known as a God of the war. After Heian period, Daikokuten was worshipped also as a God of kitchen, granting a lot of food. Moreover, Daikokuten is sometimes mixed with Ōkuninushi, one of Gods of the Shintoism pantheon, worshipped as a patron of wealth and food, and guardian deity protecting all living beings. Worshiping Daikokuten grants you good fortune and happiness.


KITAIN TEMPLE
Kosenba machi 1-20-1, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-0859

 

 

EBISUTEN <purity and unselfishness>


Naritasan is a branch temple of the Daihonzan Naritasan Shinshōji main temple, belonging to Shingon sect, the school of Japanese esoteric Buddhism. Honzon, the effigy and the holly image of this temple, is Fudōmyō’ō, one of kings of wisdom, called Acala in Sanskrit. This temple is well known as a place to worship for traffic safety and is very familiar to local people being called “Ofudō sama, temple with turtles”.
Ebisuten, a main character of Seven Lucky Gods, looks very happy and friendly; often portrayed with sea bream fish, symbol of good luck and happiness. The origin of the name “Ebisu” came from the word foreigner. It means that someone, who comes from foreign land or outer world, brings happiness to all people. You can find Ebisuten everywhere in Japan. Ebisu was worshipped by fishermen as a God of the sea, as a God of the fields by farmers in the countryside, as a God of mountains by people living in mountain villages, as God of a market by people living in cities, granting good fortune, profit and prosperity.


NARITASAN TEMPLE
Kubo machi 9-2, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-0173

 

 

FUKUROKUJUJIN <popularity>


Renkeiji temple was built by Daidōji Masashige, the lord of Kawagoe castle, during the Warring States period (15-16th century) for the Great Master Bodō Renkei Daishi, while the founder is the priest Kanyozontei Shōnin. Today, the Renkeiji temple is famous as a place connected with the great teacher Kosodate Doryū Shōnin, who was involved in education for poor children. This temple was one of the 18 temples of Jōdoshū sect designated during Edo period as universities for monks and priests, also called Kantō Jūhachi Danrin.
Fukurokujujin is a God who grants three virtues: good fortune, high hereditary, and longevity. Fukurokujujin brings happiness to all people, protects from disaster and catastrophes, while granting profit and prosperity. Statue of Fukurokujujin, enshrined in Renkeiji temple, has reishi mushroom (used as medicine from ancient times) in his right hand and turtle, the symbol of longevity, in his left hand. He teaches us, that we should quickly cure cancer and/or stroke, to live long.


RENKEIJI TEMPLE
Renjaku chō 7-17, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-0043

 

 

HOTEISON <large quantity>


Kenryūji temple, also known as Ryōshinji, belongs to Jōdoshū sect. This temple was founded in 1558, when Daidōji Masashige, lord of the Kawagoe castle and chief statesman of Odawara Hōjō clan, asked the priest Kanyozontei Shōnin to build new temple here. Under very old buxus tree located in front of the temple hall is a monument with famous poems of monk Tokuhon gyōja and very old tōrō lantern. The main temple hall was rebuilt in 1881 (14th year of Meiji period).
Hoteison was a monk of Zen-Buddhism sect during Tang dynasty in China. He was not so tall, had a very big belly and was wandering around with his big sack, providing fortune-telling to the local people. It is said he brings good fortune to all people. As incarnation of bodhisattva Maitreya, who will appear on Earth as the future Buddha, Hoteison was worshipped from ancient times.


KENRYŪJI TEMPLE
Moto machi 2-9-11, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-3321

 

 

BENZAITEN <love and respect>


Myōshōji temple was founded in 1375 by 4th abbot of Ikegami Hon’monji temple. All temple halls were originally located in nowadays Saiwai-chō district, but in Edo period, during consolidation works of Kawagoe castle town they were all relocated to the present place. The worship of Benzaiten began here during Muromachi period, when lord of this manor built small shrine and hill, where little stones were shaped in the text of Buddhist sutras. Later, after construction of Kawagoe castle, Benzaiten was worshipped by local lords, especially by lord Ōta Dōkan.
Benzaiten, also called “Benten sama”, is the only one woman among seven lucky Gods. This Goddess is the patron of wealth, prosperity and longevity, and was worshipped by merchants and artists and many other people from ancient times. Benzaiten Goddess brings you happiness and good fortune.


MYŌSHŌJI TEMPLE
Sankōchō 29, Kawagoe
TEL. 222-2414

 

 

First day of every month is en’nichi, the Day of Seven Lucky Gods
Temples are open from 9 AM to 4 PM
(Opening time is subject to change due to the Buddhist memorial services.)

In all temples you can buy ema, wood plaques for your prayers and wishes, takarabune, treasure ships; and colored papers shaped as Kawagoe’s Toki no Kane Bell. You can collect these items during your walk and worship.



Ema
wood plaques with Seven Lucky Gods

Shikishi
colored papers with Kawagoe’s Toki no Kane Bell
All items are available on first day of every month and during New Year Festival (January 1st -7th )

 


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