Attraction Japan 〒108-0074 東京都港区 高輪2丁目11−1 Published on: 26-02-2016

1 hours 30 mins
07:00 AM - 06:00 PM
09:00 AM
10:30 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
0.00 USD


Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Sengakuji Temple is a great place for anyone who loves the Japanese history and want to thoroughly understand the story of the 47 Ronin.

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Why SENGAKUJI TEMPLE is special ?

During the Edo era, Sengakuji was one Edo city's recognized three major temples, the other two being Seishoji Temple, just north of Shiba Park, and Sosenji Temple in Tokyo's northern Itabashi ward. Sengakuji on its present site dates from 1641. It was rebuilt here after the original, founded in 1612 just west of Edo Castle in at the behest of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, burned down.

However, Sengakuji Temple's Buddhist credentials are overwhelmed by its fame as the resting place of the 47 Ronin, or 47 Samurai (known as the Ako Roshi in Japanese, Ako being the name of their feudal domain, and roshi meaning much the same as ronin, i.e., masterless samurai.)

It was to here at Sengakuji Temple, where their master Asano Naganori is buried, that the 47 Ronin brought the head of the distinguished courtier on whom they had their revenge, Kira Yoshinaka. It was also here at Sengakuji Temple that the ronin were buried, after also meeting the same fate as their master: death by self-inflicted disembowelment, or seppuku (more commonly known as harakiri in the West).


What to explore at SENGAKUJI TEMPLE?

Sengagkuji Features

Besides its history and easy accessibility from the nearest subway station, Sengakuji Temple has little to commend it. It is small and, apart from its picturesque gate, not especially elegant. Nevertheless, it caters very well to the visitor interested in its past.

Statue of Oishi Kuranosuke

Oishi Kuranosuke (born Oishi Yoshio, 1659–1703) was the chamberlain of Ako domain. The domain was dissolved as part of the punishment meted out to its lord who, while paying his dues at the Shogun's castle, lashed out with his sword at the courtier, Kira Yoshinaka, after being mercilessly taunted by him. Upon the lord's death by decreed seppuku and the dissolution of the domain, Oishi became the leader of the now masterless samurai band that sought revenge on Kira Yoshinaka. Oishi's statue greets the visitor at the gate of the temple. In his right hand is the jointly signed covenant of the 47 ronin, and he glares eastwards, as from Ako domain in the west, to Edo, the source of their troubles in the east.

Akohgishi Kinenkan Museum

The Akohgishi Kinenkan (Ako Masterless Samurai Memorial Hall) is a modern museum on the premises housing realia relating to the exploits of the 47 ronin. There is a video alcove upon entry recounting the tale of the 47 ronin and Sengakuji's place in it (Japanese language only), and the fairly sizable main room has various exhibits of armor worn by the ronin, the drum supposedly beaten to launch the assault on Kira's mansion, illustrative scrolls depicting the samurai, handwritten documents, and more.

Entry to this newer museum also allows the visitor access to the second floor of the older wing across from it, featuring 47 mannequins of the ronin wearing the actual clothing and (homemade) armor they wore on their mission.

500 yen entry.

Kodo Sawaki statue,Sengagkuji Temple, Tokyo.

Kodo Sawaki, the "homeless" Zen monk, Sengakuji Temple, Tokyo

Graves of the 47 Samurai

At the southern end of the temple, on past the Akohgishi Kinenkan, all the way up the stone stairs and on the right, is the cemetery of the 47 Ronin. The graveyard is small, uniform, stark and stony, undecorated except by a smallish, very sombre-looking, standing Buddha figure at one end, and some wooden votive plaques behind almost each of the 47 tombstones.The grave of the leader, Oishi Kuranosuke, alone has been given a small wooden housing. The grave of their master, Asano Naganori, the lord of Ako domain, is next to this plot, but fenced off from the path.

Kubiarai Ido (Headwashing Well)

A meter-or-so high stone column and a plaque mark the spot where the 47 samurai washed the decapitated head of Kira that they had brought to Sengakuji, before presenting it at the nearby grave of their master.

"Homeless Kodo" Statue

At the left of the main temple building is a bronze statue of Kodo Sawaki (1880-1965), an influential Soto Zen Buddhist teacher, meditating in the lotus position. Kodo was known as "Homeless Kodo" insofar as he broke with tradition in not associating himself with any particular temple.

Suikinkutsu (Water Koto Cave)

Sengakuji has a suikinkutsu (literally "water koto cave"), a type of Japanese garden ornament. It consists of an inverted pot with a hole in the top through which you ladle water. The resulting sound is a tinkling, musical one, reminiscent of the sound of the the koto, the traditional Japanese zither.



The temple is a few steps from Sengakuji Station on the Toei Asakusa Subway Line. Alternatively, you can walk there from either Shinagawa or Tamachi Station on the JR Yamanote Line in about 15-20 minutes.

Selling points

  • A Place to Meditate and Reflect
  • Weird location, great shrine/gravesite
  • Temple Located in a Residencial Area
  • Good for history buffs
  • A very meaningful and impressive temple.
9 day self-drive trip in Tokyo for family with kids

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9.0 days
1,379.63 USD
Total travel distance
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Japan 〒108-0074 東京都港区 高輪2丁目11−1

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Tips for you

  • Opening hours: Daily from 7:00AM to 6:00PM (7:00AM to 5:00PM from October to March). The memorial museum is open from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.
  • Admission: Free for temple grounds and burial site. ¥500 for the memorial museum.
    Ticket and Pricing
  • There are some nice stands to buy small trinkets which profess to bring good luck.
  • There are some people who sell an English pamphlet for the background story for 20 yen and some black and white postcards for 150 yen
  • The museums are cool, the museum that has the video room will oblige if you request the english version of the short film about the 47 ronin, it goes for about 15 minutes.
  • Next to the big bronze statue of oishi there is a booth from which you can get an english guide for your walk around


TripAdvisor View more

This is a small temple and not so spectacular in itself and like so many others around Tokyo. It is difficult to find but only a few hundred meters from Sengakuji Station and about one and a half kilometres from Shinagawa Station. It is historically significant as it is the resting place of the 47 samurai who took revenge on the Shogun who caused Asano, their leader to kill himself so as leaderless Ronin they killed the Shogun and then had to kill themselves. It all started in Tokyo in 1701 and is a famous story told to all Japanese kids. The graves of the 47 samurai are displayed as is the grave of Asano their leader as well as the shogun. There is no English and all the details are in Japanese but still worth a visit but study the story before you go. The tacky tourist shops at the entrance add to the atmosphere.

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