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Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

Just outside of Hagi’s city centre to the east of the Abu River lies the Tokoji Temple. Built by the Mori clan in 1691, this mysterious temple features not only several buildings and gates on its grounds but also a hidden cemetery home to a sea of gravestones where members and relatives of the Mori clan were put to rest.

  • Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    At the turn of the 17th century, the powerful Mori samurai clan lost much of their land at the Battle of Sekigahara. Previously based in Hiroshima, the clan chose Hagi as their new capital and built up the area including Hagi Castle, whose remains can still be found in what is the city centre today. Over the following century the clan constructed many temples, one of the most important of which was Tokoji Temple. Tucked away in the temple district of Hagi, a 30-minute walk from Higashi-Hagi Station, the huge buildings of Tokoji follow the intricate Chinese-influenced style used by Obaku, a Zen Buddhist sect. This unique temple is home to several Important Cultural Properties: its main gate, the bell tower, the treasure house, and the Sanmon triple gate which is one of the main entrances to the grounds.

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Sneaking behind the main temple building visitors are brought out at the burial ground which is enveloped in the surrounding forest. From the temple’s opening in 1691 until the beginning of the Meiji Restoration 200 years later the Mori clan buried important members in the cemetery. Lords, their family members, and their consorts were divided between Tokoji Temple and the nearby Daishoin Temple with the first, second, and subsequent even-numbered lords (fourth, sixth, etc.) buried in Daishoin Temple while the odd-numbered lords (third, fifth, etc.) were laid to rest in Tokoji Temple.

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Alongside the gravestones lie 500 sturdy stone lanterns which were donated over the years by feudal warriors. Every year on August 15th a ceremonial bonfire called Hagi Mando-e takes place on the grounds where the huge spread of lanterns are lit up. The result - a mystical and moving atmosphere that brings this historical site to life.

    While Tokoji Temple is a little out of the centre, there are some interesting shops nearby including a ceramics shop opposite the temple entrance. To continue the discovery of the Mori clan, head west back towards the city centre to Shoin Temple and Daishoin Temple and north towards the coast for the castle ruins.

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi's Mystical Tokoji Temple

    Hagi
    Address
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki
    Phone
    Toko-ji Temple
    Address
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1647
    Phone
    0838261052
    Address
    山口県萩市大字堀内1-1
    Phone
    0838253139
    Higashihagi
    Address
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East
    Phone
  • Shoin Shrine
    Address
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1537
    Phone
    0838224643
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