In Asakusa, near the banks of the Sumida river, between Kototoi Bridge and Sakura Bridge, there is a small hill called Matsuchiyama. The hill is famous because of Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e painting Night View of Matsuchiyama and the San’ya Canal, part of the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
On this hill is located the Matsuchiyama Shoden Temple, also known as Honryu-in, one of the oldest temples in Tokyo. It’s a very beautiful temple (pictured in this photo) and an interesting fact is that inside this temple is enshrined a statue of Ganesha, an elephant-headed deity from the Hindu pantheon, who is also a deity in the Buddhist pantheon.
Known in Japan as Shoden (hence the temple’s name), he is the god of family unity and success in business and the usual offerings are Japanese radish, daikon.
Brought to the temple at New Year, the radish are cooked by the monks and then offered back to visitors on January 7th, when Dai-hannya Kou - the Daikon festival takes place.
Unfortunately, the elephant-headed statue is never displayed for the public…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: