The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a life-changing 700-mile hike. Don’t have that much energy? Then head to Takahata Fudo Temple in nearby Hino for a nice day trip. One of the three famous Kanto Fudo temples, it has a much shorter hiking course with 88 replicas of places along the Shikoku. Start in front of the pagoda. A path winds past the statues marked one, two, three and so on, up to an observation point on the hill, then down to the 88th and final statue at the small Daishido Temple building. Takahata Fudo Temple was founded around the beginning of the 8th century and served the Imperial Family. The temple had small rooms on either side of the altar, one for the common people and one for the upper class. The original temple was located on the top of the hill. When it was destroyed in a storm in 1335, it was rebuilt in its present location. The Niomon Gate was built in 1342 and is now designated a treasure of Japan as is the Fudo Myo O statue in the building next to the office.
The five-story pagoda was completed in 1979. The new temple building was completed in 1987 and is a replica of the older structure. The 200-year-old ceiling with the painting of a dragon was transferred to the new building. It is customary to stand under the dragon to make a wish and then clap your hands; if you hear the dragon roar (the vibration), the dragon will make your wish come true. The new building still features the chrysanthemum crest, which represents the royal family and indicates the royal family used this particular temple at some time in the past. There are various monuments around the temple; on the hill just beside the pagoda is a “nose well,” supposedly the spot where the nose of the Fudo deity landed when it was swept away in the 1335 gale.
Special talismans are for sale at the office to protect the owner from fires, illness, and thieves, as well as those to ensure easy childbirth, family harmony, successful business, and traffic safety. There is a museum of antiquities in the basement of the pagoda. Admission costs ¥20, the museum is closed from December 1 through February 28. A nice flea market (shrine sale) is held here on the third Sunday of ever month. Another good day to visit is the 28th of the month when the regular Ennichi Fair is held. This temple is also a good place to observe New Year, Setsuban on February 3rd, and Buddha’s Birthday on April 8th. A statue is decorated, and sweet tea, amacha, is poured on the statue. Participants pray for individual requests. Special parades for children are held on January 28th and April 28th to ensure safety and growth. Hydrangeas bloom in June, and Shichi-go-san is celebrated here on November 15th. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9am-4pm. GPS for parking lot entrance: 35.66164,139.41131.
DIRECTIONS BY TRAIN: Take the train from Fussa to Tachikawa. Exit the station and follow the signs for the Tama monorail station. Ride it until the Takahata Fudo stop. The temple is a four-minute walk from there: Walk down the stairs toward the main train station. Just past the plaza, where all the bus stops are, you’ll see a red tori gate. Walk through the gate and along the shopping street. It ends at the temple.