There’s no better time to check out Ikegami Honmonji Temple’s 5-story pagoda than during cherry blossom season!
Ota-ku, Tokyo is home to the vast grounds of Ikegami Honmonji Temple, which is also incidentally a popular cherry blossom viewing spot. In particular, people flock to see and photograph the magical sight of the 5-story pagoda surrounded by the fluffy, pink flowers.
Photographed: March 31, 2016
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▼Ikegami Honmonji Temple: Stunning spring scenery
Walk from the Tokyu Ikegami Line’s Ikegami Station for about 10 minutes and you should come to see the main gate and steps leading up to the temple. (Map: 2)
While keeping my eye on the weather and cherry blossom forecasts, I intentionally made my way to the temple slightly before the blossoms were expected to hit full bloom. Sure enough, only about 70% of the flowers had blossomed, and the trees were a little bare.
It was a beautiful weekday afternoon, despite the blossoms not having quite reached their full potential. On weekends and holidays various food stalls, etc., pop up and make the atmosphere even livelier. (Map: 3)
The view of the open space infront of the main hall from the Deva gate was quite spectacular.
I rather liked this photo of the bell tower peeking out from behind the cherry blossoms. The view of the Deva gate from behind this cherry tree wasn’t half bad either! (Map: 5)
Well, what do you think? The cherry blossoms in this area were practically perfect, like bunches of cotton candy strategically placed amongst the branches. In the far left, you can even see the 5-story pagoda. I decided to go in for a closer look.
I was pleasantly surprised to be met with a cherry tree-lined path leading from the Deva gate to the 5-story pagoda. With little space between the trees, it was like walking through a cherry blossom tunnel—which also just so happened to block the view of the pagoda.
Finally, I arrived at the bottom of the 5-story pagoda. Keep in mind that there’s a public road nearby with passing cars, so try not to let the impressive view mesmerize you. (Map: 8)
At Ikegami Honmonji Temple's summit, you'll find the Ota Ward Ikegami Kaikan Hall not too far from the main gate. As the hall's 4th floor is completely in line with the height of the pagoda, it also serves as a great—and free—observation platform.
▼Ikegami Honmonji Temple: The 5-story pagoda surrounded by cherry blossoms
Looking out from the observation platform, I was overtaken by the beauty of the 5-story pagoda surrounded by cherry blossoms. This is a view you won't want to miss out on. (Map: 9)
The main hall is breathtaking, isn’t it? I headed inside to pray. (Map: 7)
This is the kind of scenery that makes you forget all your problems. (Map: 6)
A slope called the Daibo-saka will take you from the main shrine to the Ikegami Honmonji Temple's 2-story pagoda. The contrast between the surrounding greenery and the striking red colour of the pagoda was a feast for the eyes.
★Ikegami Honmonji Temple: The best spot to photograph the 5-story pagoda and cherry blossoms
Daibo-saka led me to Momijizaka, which in turn led me to the Roho Kaikan Hall. But let’s backtrack for a second. Along the way to the hall, there was a beautiful little spot called the Sakura Hiroba on the right-hand side. After high noon, the area gradually grows shadier and shadier, but it had a great view of the 5-story pagoda and cherry blossoms. Apparently the Sakura Hiroba doubles as a parking lot when the number of cherry blossom viewers is high, though as I came on a weekday the area was closed off and there weren’t any cars parked there. I’m glad I took the Momijizaka path, or I would have missed out on this exquisite view! (Map: 12)
This serene Japanese garden adjacent to the Roho Kaikan Hall can be entered free of charge. While there was only a single weeping cherry tree, its full bloom magnificence made up for the fact.
As I headed towards the Toei Asakusa Line’s Nishi-magome Station, I cut through a residential area and found a pedestrian bridge where you can cross over the Asakusa Line’s Magome trains awaiting inspection—which, admittedly, was pretty cool. (Map: 15)
Ikegami Honmonji Temple, why didn’t I visit you sooner! What an enjoyable afternoon.
Basic information on Ikegami Honmonji Temple
Ikegami Honmonji Temple: Map of the surrounding area
- Tokyu Ikegami Line’s Ikegami Station
- Ikegami Honmonji Temple Main Gate
- Deva Gate
- Preaching Statue of St. Nichiren
- Bell Tower
- Treasure Hall
- Main Hall
- 5-Story Pagoda
- Ota Ward Ikegami Kaikan Hall
- Main Shrine
- Daibo-saka, 2-Story Pagoda
- Momijizaka, Sakura Hiroba
- Roho Kaikan Hall
- Magome Train Inspection Yard (Pedestrian Bridge)
- Infront of Magome Junior High School (Intersection, Bus Stop)
- Toei Asakusa Line’s Nishi-magome Station (South Exit)
Ikegami Honmonji Temple: Getting there
- 1-1-1 Ikegami, Ota-ku, Tokyo
- 10-min walk from the Tokyu Ikegami Line’s Ikegami Station, or a 12-min walk from the Toei Asakusa Line’s Nishi-magome Station south exit