Exit Shimofusa-Nakayama Station, cross the Keisei Main Line tracks, and walk straight ahead until you reach a magnificent gate. This is the gate of Nakayama Hokkekyo-ji Temple in Ichikawa. This temple is one of the main temples of Nichiren-shu. There are a number of temples called 'Daihonzan' in Nichiren-shu, and Nakayama Hokkekyo-ji Temple is one of them. There are seven temples in Nichiren-shu that are called 'Daihonzan': Yanjo-ji Temple, Seicho-ji Temple, and Nakayama Hokkekyo-ji Temple in Chiba Prefecture; Kitayama Honmon-ji Temple in Shizuoka Prefecture; Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple in Tokyo; and Myokenji Temple and Honkoku-ji Temple in Kyoto.
The connection between Nakayama Hokkekyo-ji Temple and Nichiren dates back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when Nichiren was alive. This was about 1,000 years ago. It is said that Toki Tsunenobu, then lord of Shimousa Wakamiya, and Ota Noriaki, then lord of Nakayama, welcomed Nichiren to this area and held a memorial service to open the Lotus Hall, where Nichiren preached. This Hokke-do (Lotus Hall) is the foundation of Nakayama Hokkekyo-ji Temple, and it still remains on the temple grounds (the current Hokke-do is estimated to have been rebuilt in the late Muromachi Period).
Because of the temple's long history, there are a number of other important cultural properties on the temple grounds in addition to the Hokke-do. The five-story pagoda in the photo, the Soshido, and the Shisoku-mon Gate are also designated as important cultural properties. Despite the many historic buildings, there were few tourists and it was a very nice temple for a leisurely visit.
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