This is the third oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo after Sensoji temple and Jindaiji temple. Since the foundation in 824, this had been highly venerated particularly after the 17th century under the patronage of the Tokugawa shogunate. Japan stuck to a national seclusion policy after the mid-17th century though, the authority of the USA strived to persuade Japan to conclude a treaty of amity and commerce. Japan gave up the national seclusion treaty at last, and Townsent Harris was assigned to the first envoy of the USA. He lived in this temple together with his subordinates and the largest room of the temple was appointed as for an office. Thus, this temple in Edo, present Tokyo, became the first official legation of the USA in 1859. As Japan's political situation was unstable at that time, to be more precise, Japan's public opinion was divided into the theory of opening the country and exclusionism, Henry Heusken who was the interpreter of the legation was slayed in this vicinity by samurais of exclusionists.
In this connection, this temple was the family temple of Fukuzawa Yukichi, who was a leading figure of the enlightenment in Japan. In addition, notorious Carlos Ghosn, a former CEO of Nissan Motor, once lived on an upper floor of the high-end apartment behind the temple in the picture.
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