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Sankō-in: a quiet oasis in the suburbs

Sankō-in is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple in Koganei, a town in western Tokyo.

The word Furōmon (literal translation: “Ageless Gate”) carved in stone to the left as one steps through the temple gates. Straight ahead is the magnificent main temple. Aging trees showcase the erstwhile nature of the Musashino region. Within the temple grounds, sakura bloom in spring, maples redden in autumn, and seasonal flowers mark the seasons through the year. The neatly set stones of the walkway lead the way through an atmosphere of purity and quiet. Look downwards, and one will see Jizō statues and adorable childlike stone Buddhas peeking through the bushes. The stone path leads you the building known as Kannadō, where Japanese and foreign visitors alike may enjoy traditional shōjin cooking.

Shōjin cuisine is Japanese vegetarian cooking as the tradition of Buddhist temples.  At Sankō-in, this cuisine is prepared in the style of the Bamboo Palace as inherited from the monzeki convent Donke-in in Kyoto. (Click here to read more about the shōjin cuisine, or here to read more about the history of Sankō-in.)

The temple is a modern terakoya school. Terakoya were historically primary schools within Buddhist temples. However, Sankō-in today offers lessons in a variety of subjects for interested parties of any age. Lessons are offered in shōjin cooking, Buddhism-centric calligraphy, drawing Buddhas, and tea ceremonies. (Click here to see the Japanese page of lesson descriptions.)

Sankō-in provides an oasis of the mind to many of those who frequent here.

photo:Akira Moriyasu