Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

July 25, 2011

Temples: Sogo Memorial Hall (Narita, Chiba)

As temples and museum go, there is more in the vicinity of Narita than only jumbojets. After the museums in the grounds of the Narita temple, take the bus for a short ride to the Sogo Treasure Hall and Sogo Memorial Hall, both located in the grounds of a temple called Sogo Reido, standing in the outskirts of Narita. The Treasure Hall was already established in 1935, the memorial hall 32 years later.This temple and its museum are dedicated to the sad story of a village headman, Sogoro Kiuchi, who sacrificed his life for his people.

[Sogo Reido Temple]

In the middle of the 17th century, his village in the neighborhood of Narita was suffering under the heavy taxes imposed by the local daimyo, the Hottas from Sakura. Sogoro took a petition for relief directly to the shogun in Edo. Such an act was considered as insubordination in feudal Japan, something Sogoro knew very well. The shogun recognized his complaint and granted the farmers relief of the oppressive taxes, but he also ordered the execution of Sogoro according to the law of the times. In 1653, Sogoro was crucified and his four children were decapitated.

[Sogo Reido Temple]

The Treasure Hall preserves memento’s of Sogoro’s life, mixed with other historical stuff donated by people from the neighborhood, but unconnected with the tragedy at hand. That tragedy takes center stage in the Memorial Hall at the back of the temple grounds where the story is shown with life-sized mannequins, in thirteen scenes all the way from the frivolous life of the lord of Sakura to Sogoro’s end on the execution ground. The diorama may sound a bit tacky, but it provides an interesting window on this particular aspect of Edo history. The temple itself was later dedicated to Sogoro’s memory by the grateful villagers.
Tel: 0476-27-3131

Hrs: 8:30 – 16:00 (Sat & Sun: 16:30), no holiday

Access: 10 min. on foot from Keisei Sogo Sando Station (this station is 5 min. by Keisei local train from Keisei Narita). Walk straight ahead from the station along a quiet road with a footpath; turn right at the T-junction. This is Route 464, a very busy and also narrow road, where you are almost flattened against the houses by the passing trucks. The temple is on your left after passing a side road. There is also a bus from Keisei Narita, which drops you off right in front of the temple gate, and thus is a better option.