Spot in Central Tokyo

Sengakuji temple [泉岳寺]

Entrance gate of Sengakuji
Entrance gate of Sengakuji

Sanmon gate in Sengakuji
Sanmon gate in Sengakuji

Sengakuji is a Buddhist temple located about 1 km north of JR Shinagawa station.

It is a Soto Zen Buddhist temple.
It was built around the south of current Kokyo in 1612.
But it was destroyed by fire in 1641, so the new temple was rebuilt soon here by the order of Shogun.

This temple is famous for the graves of Asano Naganori (1667-1701, a feudal lord of Akô Domain) and 47 Akô samurais. (Akô is in Hyogo Prefecture.)

Lord Asano was an attendant for officials of Emperor in Edo government.
His boss was Kira Yoshihisa.

On a very important day for the government in 1701, Asano slashed Kira from behind with his sword in the corridor in Edo Castle.
But Kira got out of trouble.

It is unknown why Asano did such excessive action, but it is said that he had been annoyed by a feud with Kira and had a grudge against Kira.

This trouble at the important day made the Shogun furious, so he commanded Asano to commit suicide by "harakiri".
And that had been performed soon.

On the other hand, Kira earned no punishment, although he was at the center of a scandal.
But, it was customary that both were punished about the case of scandal.

Some samurais in Akô were angry about this unfair decision, so they developed a deep hatred toward Kira.
Then, the argument that Kira should be killed had come out among them.

The group for the operation was formed secretly and 47 samurais from Akô had come together.

On a snowy day next year, the operation of assassination was performed at the Kira's Residence, and at last they realized their desire.

After the operation, they marched to Sengakuji temple where Asano was buried in the grave, and they reported the success of revenge to Asano in heaven in front of his grave.

Later, all of 47 samurais were commanded to commit suicide by harakiri.

They had also buried in the graves in Sengakuji temple.

Main Hall of Sengakuji
Main Hall of Sengakuji

Graves of Asano and 47 samurais in Sengakuji
Graves of Asano and 47 samurais

This story has been often featured in Kabuki, Bunraku, movie and TV drama with the name of "Chushingura", because Japanese people have liked such simple drama rewarding good and punishing evil.

The graves of the samurais in Sengakuji are the historic site designated by the national government.


How to get here

  • Nearest stations of subway.
    Sengakuji (A07 Asakusa Line)

Other Tourist Attractions in Tokyo Metropolis (Special Wards)

Shinbashi & Shiodome Hamarikyu Gardens Kyu-Shibarikyu Garden Rainbow Bridge Odaiba Toyosu Market Tokyo Tower Zojoji temple

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