Author: Richard Perkins
Photos/Video Taken: 2019/01/26・2021/04/30
Address: 2-16-3 Fukagawa, Koto-ku, Tokyo,【135-0033】
Part of the Buzan division of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, 法乗院深川ゑんま堂 (hōjōin fukagawa enmadō) is a Buddhist temple in the Kōtō ward of Tokyo. Founded in 1629, this temple was originally built at a different location and moved to where it stands now a few years after its construction. Hōjōin Fukagawa Enmadō is what is referred to as one of the 御府内八十八ヶ所 (gofunai hachi jū hachi ka sho), which are 88 temples built in Edo (Tokyo) that copies the 四国八十八ヵ所 (shikoku hachi jū hachi ka sho), which is a pilgrimage that involves visiting 88 temples in the island of Shikoku, each of which is associated to the Buddhist monk Kūkai. Hōjōin Fukagawa Enmadō is the seventy-fourth temple in the gofunai hachi jū hachi ka sho.
What makes Hōjōin Fukagawa Enmadō special is the 閻魔大王 (enma daiō—the king of Hell) statue enshrined in the main temple here. This statue is 3.5 meters tall and 4.5 meters wide, making it the largest Enma Daiō statue in the entire country. Set here in 1989, there are a number of offerings (such as peace between married couples, safety in the family, and so on) in front of this statue where you offer money (usually ¥5) to Enma Daiō. When doing so, Enma Daiō greets you with a variety of advice (all spoken in Japanese) that you can put to use in your day-to-day life.
On the first floor of the main temple here is the 地獄極楽絵 (jigoku gokuraku e). The exhibition room in which this print is displayed isn’t open every day, so you might not get the chance to view it depending on the day you visit. If you do get the chance to view it, what you’ll be viewing is a print that was completed in 1784, which was in the Edo period (1603-1868), by the artist Sōan. This print focuses on the fundamental principles of life. If you do good, a good result will follow. If you do something wrong, a bad result will follow. This print teaches that all of the causes or roots of whatever occurs in one's life are all interconnected with one’s actions.