Kabacchi / CC BY 2.0

Zenyoji Temple

The home of Japan's widest pine tree

Kabacchi / CC BY 2.0
Sleiman Azizi   - 3 min read

Another gem tucked away inside of Edogawa City right by the Edo River, Zenyoji Temple is a marvel of the natural world. Requiring a bit of legwork to get there, intrepid souls will be stunned by Japan's oldest and widest pine tree.

The tree, Yogo no Matsu, is at least 600 years of age and has little serious competition for seniority amongst its fellow pines. Registered as a National Natural Property the tree is not tall by pine tree standards but impossibly wide, its massively thick trunk a hub for scores of huge branches extending out up to 30m in all directions. The weight is huge and visitors will note the multiple array of supports used to keep the tree stable. There is a legend that the tree's branches were used by the Buddha as a bridge between heaven and earth.

A treasure of nature in Edogawa City
A treasure of nature in Edogawa City (Photo: 三人日 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The temple itself is a Shingon Buddhist one and was established in the 16th century. With special appeals to the Buddhist deity of mercy, the current Hondo main hall was built in the mid-19th century. The temple grounds also feature a tribute to the famous pilgrimage route of Shikoku island - a pathway with 88 stone shrines containing soil from each of the 88 temples on the pilgrimage route.

The main gate of Zenyoji Temple in Edogawa City
The main gate of Zenyoji Temple in Edogawa City (Photo: Kentin / CC BY-SA 4.0)

You'll also find the Niomon Gate leading into the temple with its two nio guardians on either side of the entrance, the Fudo-do building that houses Fudo-Myo, the wrathful looking Buddhist deity responsible for clearing a path towards awareness with fire and sword, Fudomon Gate and every November, a small chrysthanthemum exhibition is held on the temple grounds.

Like much of Edogawa City, there is a little bit of umph required to see the sights but once you do, you are glad that you did.

Getting there

The temple is a 15-minute walk from Edogawa Station on the Keisei Line or a 20-minute walk from Koiwa Station on the JR Sobu Line.

Or, take the No.72 bus from Koiwa Station for an 8-minute ride and get off at Edogawa Byoin bus stop, right by the temple.

Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

I'm a Japanese Permanent Resident with over 600 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books inspired by traditional Japanese literature.I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, so if you've anything to say about Japan's never ending capital - or just Japan in general - don't b...