Shinkakuji Temple located in Sanda-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo is a temple of the Chizan school of the Shingon sect. The main object of worship is Fudo Myoo. The temple is the 71st fudasho-temple of the Tama Shin-Shikoku 88 Holy Sites. The temple was founded in 1411. The temple treasure of the sitting statue of Yakushi Nyorai is designated as a Cultural Property of the city. The bell and bell tower are said to have been dedicated by Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials) in 1660.
Shinkakuji Temple is famous for azalea and “Kawazu Gassen (the Frog Concert).” In the precinct is a pond called Shinji-ike in the shape of the Chinese character for “heart,” around which grow a lot of azalea and they are in full bloom in the middle of June. From the middle to the end of March, a lot of toads move to this pond for laying eggs. Though the toads decreased in number today, there used to be tens of thousands of toads got together here, which was called “Frog Concert” by the local people.
Kongoin Temple located in Ueno-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo is a Bekkaku Honzan (a special headquarters) of the Shingon sect. The main object of worship is Fudo Myoo. The temple is the 63rd fudasho-temple of the Kanto 88 Holy Sites, the 16th of the Buso 48 Kannon Sites, the 73rd of the Tama Shin-Shikoku 88 Holy Sites, and one of Hachioji Pilgrimage to Shichifukujin (the Seven Lucky Deities).
The temple was founded in 1576, when the priest Shinsei built a Fudo hall. In 1631, it was restored at this place as a sub-branch temple of Koyasan Kongobuji Temple and Jigenin Temple. The temple buildings were burned down by an air raid in 1945 and rebuilt in the post-war period.
Kongoin Temple is known for a large number of treasures, including the two statues of Jurojin and Fukurokuju of the Seven Lucky Deities, two Rokkyoku Byobu (six-panel screens) of Shihon Chakushoku Koyasan Zue (the illustrated description of Koyasan in color on paper) and Shihon Chakushoku Saiobo-zu (a painting of the Queen Mother of the West in color on paper), both of which are designated Tokyo Important Tangible Cultural Properties.
Yakuoin Yukiji Temple located in Takao-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo is one of the three Daihonzan (head) temples of the Chizan school of the Shingon sect in the Kanto region. The main objects of worship are Yakushi Nyorai and Izuna Gongen. The temple is the 5th fudasho-temple of the Kanto 91 Pilgrimage to Yakushi Nyorai, the 8th of the Kanto 36 Sites Sacred to Fudo Myoo and the 68th of the Tama 88 Holy Sites. As many as 2,500 ancient documents are preserved at this temple.
It is said that the temple was founded in 744 by the monk Gyoki under the order of Emperor Shomu. As the statue of Yakushi Nyorai was placed at the foundation, the temple has been called Yakuoin. Later, a priest from Mt. Daigo in Kyoto founded a mountain practice ashram to worship Izuna Gongen, the deity who is believed to be residing in Mt. Iizuna in Nagano Prefecture. In the Edo period, an organization of mountain practitioners named “Takao-kou” was formed. Since then the temple has been the center of Takao Shugendo practice up to the present time.
Kagura is a traditional theatrical dance in the Shinto religion and Musashi Mitake Shrine Daidai Kagura is one of these dances that have been passed down since the Edo period. Musashi Mitake Shrine sits on the top of Mount Mitake in Okutame, Tokyo.
The dance is said to have originally come from the Masaki Inari Shrine in Arakawa-ku, Tokyo, and it is based on the Izumo-style of Kagura dance.
The shrine still serves many different kinds of “kou” each of which represents a group of followers. The people in a kou believe that the highest form of praying to their god is to dedicate a dance and Daidai Kagura is performed on special occasions.
There are two different types of performing style in Kagura dance. In one type, masks are worn and in the other they are not. Masked Kagura has more of an entertainment aspect with clear story lines, many of which are based on popular mythologies from folktales such as Kojiki. The non-masked dance has a more religious or ritualistic aspect and it is performed to purge the place of evil spirits. These two dance performances used to have 12 titles each, however only 17 in total have survived and are still performed.
Because Daidai Kagura is dedicated to god, the dancers kneel down and bow at the start and at the end of their dance. Also, all of these dances are performed facing the image of god.
Daidai Kagura preserves the essence of true Kagura which encourages people to enjoy themselves while they honor god.
Nishizawa Gorge, the riverhead of the Fuefuki River, is located in the bordering area of Saitama, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures, which is a part of Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. The gorge has a lot of scenic spots such as pit holes made by erosion, Botai-buchi (a deep pool) and many strange rocks including Kaeru-iwa Rock, which looks like a parent frog carrying its child frog on its back, Jinmen-do Cave, the surrounding rock surface of which looks like a human’s face. There are also many waterfalls in the gorge such as the Okubo Fall, the Ryujin Fall and the Koiito Fall. The highlight is the Nanatsugama Godan Fall (7 basins and 5 stages fall), which is divided into two parts: the upper 3 stages and the lower 2 stages. This cute waterfall is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. The gorge and its surrounding mountains are covered with red and yellow leaves in fall. The gorge was designated as one of 100 Sites Worthy of Preservation into the 21st Century by the Forestry Culture Association. As the walking promenade and bridges are fully arranged along the gorge, a lot of hikers come to enjoy bountiful nature.
Tama woven fabric is a practical textile woven in Hachioji or Akiruno in the Tokyo area.
Tama woven fabric is the general term for five fabrics: tama-yuijo, tsumugiori, futsuori, kawari-tsuduri and sujiriori. Tama woven fabric is the epitome of the history of fabric making in Hachioji.
Already by the late Heian period, silk fabrics such as Takiyama or Yokoyama-tsumugi were being made in Hachioji. In the late Muromachi period, the craftsman Hokujo came to Tama and encouraged people to produce fabrics; this made Tama a major textile-production area. After the Meiji period, Westernization led to a rapid development in cloth-weaving and a new technique was invented, which became the basis of Tama woven fabric.
Traditionally, Tama woven fabric was both tasteful and practical, but today, new sophisticated designs, feelings and skills mean that unique and excellent works are being produced by traditional handiwork. In 1980, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry designated Tama woven fabric as a Traditional Handicraft.