Location: Gyokushin Mitsuin Temple/Tamagawa Daishi

It's time to take a religious pilgrimage.
 From the outside, Gyokushin Mitsuin Temple (more commonly known as Tamagawa Daishi)  looks like any other small neighborhood temple. In fact, it's tucked away in a suburban Tokyo neighborhood amongst houses and apartments. It took a pretty good map and about 10 minutes of walking from the nearest station to find.
 The flowers outside were in bloom, and there were enough to add a nice fragrance to the air.
 To the right of the entrance, a small path brings you to a small garden area.
 Several small statues and pots are here, crammed into a tiny space.
 I don't read Japanese, so I can't tell you anything about this.
 This samurai might have been the tallest piece in the courtyard.
Nearby, more Gods watch over. Yes, okay, it's like any other temple on the outside. Statuaries grouped together outside. What makes this place so special?
Take a glance inside. Again, nothing too special here. But take off your shoes at the entrance and go in. Head to the left.

See the stairs? Put on a pair of slippers there, place 100 yen on the wooden tray, and descend into the bowels of the Buddha. You'll spend a large portion of your trip in complete darkness on a pilgrimage that visits 88 Buddha statues. The basement snakes through some very narrow portions, all designed to resemble passing through Buddha's intestines. Don't worry, the walls are dry.

While it is a bit out of the way from the rest of Tokyo, it is a great way to spend 100 yen and maybe you'll be enlightened too!
To get to Tamagawa Daishi, take a train to Futakotamagawa, and take the west exit. Turn right and follow the major road; eventually the Atsugi Highway will pass over and remain on top of the road. By that point you want to be walking on the left side of the road. The road will split to either side of the highway, and once the ivy wall nearly ends you'll see a set of covered stairs heading straight down. Take the stairs, and turn right at the bottom to cross over the aquaduct and follow the path between the road and some houses. At the next road, turn left; follow the road and you'll see the temple on the right! Yes, it's confusing. Use the map above to help.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this hidden gem. Your detailed directions were essential to find it, i do appreciate you took the time to write this. Thanks again!

  2. I'm glad it was helpful, and thank you for reading and leaving a comment!

  3. Great instructions Ryan. Not confusing at all. We wouldn't have found the temple without them.