Fall Flora at Tokoin Hagi no Tera

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Fall has recently become a very popular season. From the cooler weather to the warm drinks, every one eagerly awaits for the leaves to change their colors. Japan is home to some amazingly scenic places to see the autumn colors, but the beautiful fall leaves are not the only part of this season that everyone waits for. For the Japanese, fall just wouldn’t be fall in Japan without aki no nanakusa [秋の七草]. These seven plants: obana (susuki), kuzu, ominaeshi, nadeshiko, asago, fujibakama, and hagi, signal the start of the fall season and are very common in Japanese poetry and literature.

One relatively small temple nestled in northwest Osaka is locally famous for its hagi flowers. Formally known as Tokoin, it is more commonly called Hagi no Tera [東光院・萩の寺].

The History of Tokoin Hagi no Tera

The history of Tokoin is quite interesting. According to the temple records, the temple used to be located near the Yodogawa River in Osaka City close to what is present day Nakatsu Station. Before cremation came to Japan, it was customary for people to simply throw dead bodies in the Yodogawa River. When the famous monk Gyoki visited this area, he dreadfully felt sad, and shortly after introduced cremation to Osaka. Gyoki also carved Yakushi Nyorai  and picked hagi flowers to make an offering to the spirits of the deceased. Many years after Gyoki died the original Tokoin Temple was built to enshrine the Buddha statue he carved.

In 1681 Soto Buddhist refurbished Tokoin and have run the temple ever since. Finally, in 1915 the temple moved from Nakatsu to its current location during the construction of the Hankyu Railway. 

Temple Grounds

Tokoin Hagi no Tera

Tokoin’s gate is from 1757 and was part of the temple when it was near the Yodogawa River.

33 Kannon-do

Upon entering, you will see this small building on your left known as 33 Kannon-do. It houses a statue of Yakushinyorai that was personally owned by Ieyasu, along with replica statues of all the Buddha’s enshrined in the Saigoku 33 Kannon temples. Unfortunately, these statues are only visible to the public on certain days.

Agonashi Jizo.

Next to 33 Kannon-do is Agonashi Jizo. While it may not seem that special, it used to be in the main building of Kawasaki Toshogu Shrine, the only shrine in Osaka that enshrined Tokugawa Ieyasu.

At the beginning of Meiji era, the remnants of the Tokugawa government were in shambles. Kawasaki Toshogu was almost completely destroyed, in-part because the people of Osaka has immense disdain for Ieyasu. However, the main part of the shrine was relocated to Tokoin before it was completely demolished.  

Doryo Daigongen-do: When Hideyoshi invaded Odawara Castle, Hideyoshi took this statue to Tokoin in hopes of giving Osaka a bright future.

 

Doryo was considered to be so spiritually powerful that when he died people believed he became a tengu, and was worshiped as the guardian deity of Saijyo-ji Temple in Hakone

The hondo itself is rather new, but it contains several famous bosatsu statues. The hondo also supposedly contains the statue of Buddha Gyoki carved. There is also a rare eleven faced statue of Kannon Bosatsu. The statue was allegedly owned by Emperor Go-Daigo and was later obtained by Tokoin.

 

Points of Interest

Hagi [萩]

Throughout the temple are many beautiful hagi bushes, so be sure to visit the temple in the early fall. Hagi, one of the iconic flowers of fall in Japan, and typically start to bloom around mid-September.

Statue donated to the temple from a temple in Sri Lanka

 

Information: Tokuin Hagi no Tera

Address
1-12-7 Minamisakurazaka Toyonaka, Osaka

 

Website
 

 

Getting To
The closest station is Sone Station of Hankyu Takarazuka Line. When you exit the station walk 10 minutes north and you will be at the temple in no time.

 

Hours
9:00-17:00

 

Admission
500 yen
Note
 

 

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