Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple, also known as the “divorce temple,” is a unique and historic temple located in Kamakura, Japan. This temple has a fascinating history and is an interesting destination for travelers interested in Japanese culture and history.
History of Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple
Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple was founded in 1285 by the wife of Hojo Tokimune, the eighth regent of the Kamakura shogunate. The temple was originally built as a nunnery and served as a sanctuary for women who wished to divorce their husbands during a time when divorce was not socially acceptable.
During the Edo period, women were not allowed to divorce without permission from their husbands. However, Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple provided a loophole for women seeking to end their unhappy marriages. By seeking refuge at the temple, women could legally divorce their husbands without permission.
The temple became known as the “divorce temple” and was a popular destination for women seeking a way out of their marriages. It is said that over 3,000 women were granted divorce at Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple during the Edo period.
Visiting Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple
Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple is open to visitors and is a popular destination for those interested in Japanese history and culture. The temple has several buildings, including the main hall, a museum, and a tea house.
The main hall, or Hatto, is a beautiful wooden building with intricate carvings and decorations. Visitors can enter the main hall and take a look at the altar and other religious artifacts.
The museum at Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the temple. The museum houses artifacts and displays that explain the role of the temple in providing refuge for women seeking divorce.
In addition to the main hall and museum, Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple also has a tea house where visitors can enjoy traditional Japanese tea and sweets while taking in the serene surroundings of the temple.
Tips for Visiting Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple
When visiting Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Respect the temple – Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple is an important religious site, so it’s important to be respectful and follow any rules or guidelines posted at the temple.
- Wear appropriate clothing – When visiting a temple in Japan, it’s customary to wear modest clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.
- Take your time – Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple is a beautiful and serene place, so take your time to fully appreciate the surroundings and history of the temple.
Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple is a unique and fascinating destination for travelers interested in Japanese history and culture. The temple’s role in providing refuge for women seeking divorce during a time when it was not socially acceptable is a testament to the progressive and compassionate values of the Buddhist tradition. A visit to Matsugaoka Tokei-ji Temple is an opportunity to learn about the history and significance of this important cultural site.