Yokota travel series: Takahata Fudo Temple

There are numerous temples throughout Japan for adventurous travelers to visit. One of those temples is Takahata Fudo Temple, which was founded near the beginning of the 8th century to serve the imperial family. The temple is one of the three famous Kanto Fudo Buddhist temples

Visitors enter the temple through the Niomon, the main gate, to view the Fudodou, the main temple, multiple buildings and 88 Buddhist statues along a hiking path.

The Fudodou Temple has small rooms on both sides of the altar. The original temple was located on the top of the hill, but was destroyed by a storm in 1335 and then rebuilt in its present location.

The new Fudodou Temple was constructed in 1987 and is a replica of the previous structure. The 200-year-old ceiling with the painting of a dragon was transferred to the new building. The new building still features the chrysanthemum crest, which represents the royal family and indicates the royal family used this particular temple at some time in the past.

During the short hiking course, people can view 88 Buddhist statues. The statues are marked from one through 88 and lead to an observation point on the hill ending with the final statue next to the small Daishido Temple.

Within the temple grounds are special talismans for sale which are believed to protect the charm owner from fires, illness and thieves. They also sell good luck charms for ensuring easy childbirth, family harmony, successful business and traffic safety.

There are also a variety of festivals held at the temple such as the Ajisai (Hydrangea) Festival, Chrysanthemum Festival and Mame-maki Festival.

The Ajisai Festival is held in June and exhibits more than 7,500 ajisai flowers blooming under the rainy-season skies.

The Chrysanthemum Festival, held in late October, exhibits over 1,500 kinds of chrysanthemums, consisting of large blooms, cascades, bonsai shrubs, cut flowers and more.  The festival also features special flower displays and gives the participants the opportunity to buy plants and participate in classes on growing chrysanthemums.

The Mame-maki Festival is held in February and involves people who are born in the year of the same Chinese zodiac sign as the current year throwing beans to chase away demons.

A train ride from Fussa Station to Takahata Fudo station takes approximately 42 minutes. From Fussa, take the Ome Line towards Tokyo and get off at Tachikawa Station. Then take the Tamatoshi Monorail towards Tama Center and stop at the Takahata Fudo Station. Finally, the traveler embarks on an eight minute walk to Takahata Fudo Temple.