If you’ve heard of the 47 loyal Ronin, you must have also heard of the Sengaku-ji Temple where their graves can be found. It is a Buddhist Temple located in the neighborhood of Takanawa, Tokyo which was considered as one of the three major temples in the Edo Era together with Seishoji Temple and Sosenji Temple. Though the temple is quite small and not very elegant-looking, it offers a lot about Japanese history with three of its important features.
Oishi Yoshio, popularly known for his title, Oishi Kuranosuke, is the leader of the 47 Ronin during their vendetta in 1702. He served as the head chamberlain of Asano Naganori, the daimyo of Ako Domain in Japan. The chamberlain was considered to be a very important man during the Edo Period. Whenever, the powerful feudal lord was away, he would fill his shoes along with the responsibilities. After committing seppuku with all the other ronin, his behavior became the ideal norm for every samurai to follow. To commemorate the loss of a great warrior, a statue was put up for him in the temple.
The graveyard of the 47 Ronin can be found at the southern end of the temple. It is actually small and somber-looking in a square-shaped area where you can see the graves arranged. This is likely to be the real reason for the temple’s existence. Most of the time the place looks a little austere and empty except when there are ceremonies conducted. If you want to give an offering, you can purchase incense at the curator’s office nearby.
With the death of their master, the 47 ronin avenged him by killing the culprit, Kira. The Head-washing well serves as the spot where the 47 ronin washed Kira’s decapitated head before presenting it at their master’s grave.
The temple may not be that big but remains to be a historical site in Japanese history. It also serves as a popular pilgrimage site up to this day.
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