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

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

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

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
Facility Name
Hagi
Address
Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Toko-ji Temple
Address
Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1647
Phone
0838261052
Hours
8:30-17:00
Closed
open everyday
Fees
[Admission fee to worship]
General (High School Students and above) 300 yen
small Junior High School Students 150 yen
Parking Lot
Available 20 spaces
Introduction
The Toko-ji Temple is a temple in Hagi City belonging to the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism; it was the Bodai-ji (family temple) of the Mori family, the lords of the Hagi Domain. The temple was built in 1691 on the orders of Mori Yoshinari, the third lord of Hagi; the tombs of the fifth, seventh, ninth and eleventh lords of Hagi, along with those of their wives and concubines, are in the Mori family graveyard within the Temple grounds. The Toko-ji Temple features several interesting examples of Chinese-style architecture, including the So-mon (main gate), the Daioho-den hall and the Shoro (bell tower), all of which have been designated as Important Cultural Properties.
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Higashihagi
Address
Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Shoin Shrine
Address
Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1537
Phone
0838224643
Parking Lot
Available
Introduction
The Shoin Shrine in Hagi City is dedicated to Yoshida Shoin, a famous educator active in the Bakumatsu era (in the mid-19th century). The Shrine originated as a Hokora (small shrine) set up in Yoshida’s family home in 1890; the current Shrine building was completed in 1955. Yoshida Shoin is widely revered as a deity of learning, and many students with upcoming examinations visit the Shrine for the Hatsumode (the first visit to a shrine in the New Year) to pray for successful examination results.
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

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PLACES IN THIS ARTICLE

  • dummy image

    Higashihagi

    Station
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East
  • dummy image

    Hagi

    Station
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki
  • Shoin Shrine image

    Shoin Shrine

    Shrine (Inari/Gongen)
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1537
  • Toko-ji Temple image

    Toko-ji Temple

    Temple (Kannon/Fudo Myoo)
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1647
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