The One about Chomyoji Temple in Yanaka and the Copper Bell

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While walking through Yanaka, I passed by an area that I wasn’t sure if there was anything significant inside.

Yanaka is so full of tradition like for every few feet you walk, there is a temple and a shrine that you will most likely visit.  But there are also residences that you will be visiting and you may or may not be sure if it’s open to the public.

Also, it looked as if there was construction being done, so I went inside the area where Chomyoji Temple is located and I’m glad I did.

Chomyoji Temple looks like a combination of a temple and a cemetery (which many locations in Yanaka tend to have), but there is a pagoda with a copper bell.

The Copper Bell is part of Taito City’s Tangible Cultural Properties and it was donated by Yashiro Yasutsugu for “Gyakusyu Kuo”, a Buddhist service held by worshipper while the subject is still alive so his soul should rest in peace after death.

The copper bell was created by Shina Yoshihiro, a member of the renowned Shina family, famous smith for their copper works in the 1600’s.

And Shina Yoshihiro’s craftmanship was around 1681-1700 with only 26 pieces by him exist today, include 19 copper bells, 2 pairs of copper lanterns, a basin and a pagoda.

As the bell is historical, the pagoda is as well.  The pagoda is the tomb of Tokugawa Ietsuna, which is located at Kan’eiji Temple in Ueno.  Ietsuna was the fourth lord of the Tokugawa clan and the Shogun.  Shina Yoshihiro was chosen to build the Shogun’s tomb, thus indicating how high of stature Shina’s work was at the time.

While I went to Chomyoji Temple during the end of fall, the pictures I have seen during the springtime is absolutely beautiful because you can see the cherry blossoms from the nearby trees, especially the main tree next to the copper bell.

Just visiting this place was a prime example that just going through Yanaka, there are a lot of hidden gems.  Many cultural and historical sections of the area that people may miss because you can’t tell if it’s residential or if it’s a public area with a temple.

But fortunately, there are maps around Yanaka (in different languages) to help travelers during their walk through the area in the Taito ward.

Definitely check out Chomyoji Temple and the copper bell/pagoda!



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Dennis A. Amith