Higashi-honganji Temple, Hakodate Branch/東本願寺函館別院


You'll find this huge tiled-roof temple on the side of Nijikken slope in Motomachi. This is the first ferroconcrete temple built in Japan. Hakodate suffered so many big fires and this temple also went up in flames a few times. When it was burned down in 1907's big fire, then representative of the followers, Kumashiro Watanabe suggested to build the new temple with the latest construction method. It was reinforced concrete. But followers who would donate money for the new temple didn't want to, because they thought it was inadequate to build a sacred hall using impure material from the earth. They also couldn't trust if the new method could support a huge roof of the temple. Constructors had difficulty to collect money for the temple.

To collect donation, the constructors asked geisha women to dance on the floor located on the framework to prove the strength of the ferroconcrete. Then, they managed to complete the temple in 1915. It is modeled after the wooden Amida hall of Higashi-honganji temple in Kyoto.

You can enter the main hall with no charge, but please be sure to take your shoes off before entering.

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