Above:  Seizenji temple which the Narita clan built in the 15th century


  6. Temples and Shrines Course







  Three Lords of Oshi-han were buried at this temple.










(1) Temple/Shrine Town, Gyoda

  There are so many temples such as 69 in Gyoda city, therefore Gyoda ranks at No.1 position in Japanese cities and villages. Also in Gyoda, there is the oldest temple in Saitama Prefecture. Soutou-shu sect occupies 15 temples because of existence of the Narita clan that had built the Oshi Castle.


 Gyoda has almost the same number of shrines too. Features of temples and shrines in Gyoda are that some of them locate on the burial mound or area very close to the mound. Lord clan of Oshi Castle relates to the establishment of temples and shrines.


Coffee break 1:

Gyoda might be exhibit city of temples with several sects of Buddhism. (Eight sects for only temples that were built in the Middle Ages) Also there are temples that Samurais who worked for and royal to the Lord of Oshi Castle, has been buried. 


 (2) The reasons why there are so many temples in Gyoda

-1 Gyoda was a castle town, however building castle was prohibited in Edo period.

       So, temples were built instead of castles. Temples might be expected to be a simple castle or headquarter at a battle.

-2 Temples often stood at border area between Samurai’s residence and area farmers lived.(Mochida, Komagata)

-3 The Lord sometime moved to another district with temples.

-4 The powerful families built temples in old days.

  -5 The second successor, Encho who was a subordinate of Saicho in Tendai sect, was born in Sakitama area. There was an   

       atmosphere to accept temple since old days.

 (3)Rough classification of temples:

     -1 Temples that relate to local powerful clans.

              Jyotokuji, Henjyoin, Shinganji, Kanpukuji and Shoganji etc.

   -2 Temples that relate deeply to the Narita clan (About 1479-1590).

              Chokyuji, Seizenji, Shokakuji and Kogenji etc.

   -3 Temple that relate directly to the Tokugawa Ieyasu and his son Matsudaira Tadayoshi (1592-1600).


   -4 Temples that relate deeply to the Abe clan (1639-1823).


   -5 Temples that relate deeply to the Tokugawa Ieyasu, his daughter Kamehime and her son Matudaira Tadaakira (1583-1644).

                Tenshoji, Torinji, Daizoji and Ryugenji (abolished)


(4) About Zen

 The Zen sect is a type of Buddhism, spread by Japanese Buddhist priests who returned from China in the 12th and 13th centuries. From its origin Buddhism included Zazen (meditating in the lotus position) as a means of attaining enlightenment. The Zen sect teaches that its believers can rid themselves of disbelief and doubt by wholeheartedly sitting in contemplation. The Zen sect exerted a powerful influence on Bushido (literally “The Way of Warriors”), tea ceremony and the art of flower arrangement.


 Today Zen is widely practiced in the U.S. and France where it has become an unpretentious fad.


 Coffee Break 2:          Apparent comparison between Temple and Shrine  

Gate:                                 Temple: Dignified wooden gate

                                          Shrine: Simple stone gate

God/Founder:                    Temple: One

                                           Shrine: One or More

Socks for Priest:                Temple: Tabi (Split socks)

                                          Shrine: Socks

Foot wear for Priest:         Temple: Zori (Split shoes)

                                          Shrine: Wooden shoes

      Praying:                                  Temple: No clapping 

                                                        Shrine: Clapping one’s hands

There are two major religion in this country. One is Shintoism. Another one is Buddhism. Shintoism was born in this country 2000 years ago.Buddhism came from India through China in 6th century.

Most of the Japanese visit both Buddhist temple and Shinto shrines.

Usually we do not hold funeral ceremony in Shinto shrine. They mainly go to Shinto shrines for celebration. For example, I had my wedding ceremony in a Shinto shrine, however, I had my father’s funeral ceremony in a Buddhist temple.






Left:  Sakitama shrine

The original fire of Sakitama Fire Festival was made through Hiokoshi ceremony at this Sakitama shrine.