Author: Richard Perkins
Photos/Videos Taken: 2021/03/26
Address: 4-6-2 Ueno, Taito-ku,
In the Taitō ward of Tokyo among the many vendors selling seafood and Japanese-style bars that line the streets of Ueno lies 摩利支天徳大寺 (marishiten tokudaiji), a Buddhist temple of the Nichiren sect. This temple is dedicated to the guardian god 摩利支天 (marishiten). It’s unclear when this temple was built, but there’s a story that says that this temple was built by the holy priest Jikōin Nichiken at the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868) in 1653.
The Marishiten statue here is said to have been made by Prince Shōtoku (a prince who is well-known for modernizing the government administration and for helping to promote Buddhism in Japan), and the temple itself is considered one of the three major Marishiten temples in Japan. The other two are 宝仙寺 (hōsenji) in Ishikawa prefecture and 建仁寺禅居庵摩利支尊天堂 (kenninji zenkyoan marishiten sontendō) in Kyoto prefecture.
Marishiten Tokudaiji temple suffered damage in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. It was then set on fire during World War II. The main building that now stands is a reconstruction that was completed in 1964.