Monday, October 15, 2012

ISKCON Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple, Tokyo - Japan

Day 3 in Tokyo: Meiji Jingu Shrine - ISKCON TEMPLE, FUNABORI - Epson Aquarium, Shinagawa

Being a member of the ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) for long, and having seen many of its temples in India, a visit to the ISKCON temple of Japan was high on our priority list. At the cost of sounding a bit gluttonous, I would also like to add that our poor dietary intake for the first two days in Japan had only further strengthened our resolve and since it was a Sunday, I was looking forward to the ISKCON feasts generally held on this day.

Thus, even though the temple was located towards the outskirts of the city which meant a bit more of time, search and effort from our sides to make it there but, we still made it.

Located in a peaceful area in Funabori station away from the hustle and bustle of the main road, the building of the ISKCON temple was an ordinary looking structure and somewhat hard to figure out. Except for a small signage board there was nothing that indicated – Yes, this is the place. One glance at its humble settings and we knew that this would be going down as the most modest of all ISKCON temples that we have previously been to.

Entrance to the ISKCON Temple, Japan
Entrance to the ISKCON Temple of Japan

A small bell at the door led us in. The room was no bigger than a residential house with a small gathering of a few bhaktas (devotees) seated on asanas (mats) immersed in the devotion for the Lord. The gates of the sanctum were closed.

Japan ISKCON temple room
The ISKCON Temple Room

In a corner, a Japanese girl supported by a small chorus group was playing the harmonium and striking melodic notes sinking the entire atmosphere in energetic devotion.

Bhajan prayers in the  ISKCON temple, Japan
Jai Radha Govind Madhava... Singing glories to the Lord

At one side of the hall, a small memento cum book counter was stacked with Hindu Religious Texts as explained by Swami Prabhupada, Tulsi rosary beads, Krishna paintings and statues and many other attractive paraphernalia related to Lord Krishna.

Religious paraphenelia in the ISKCON Temple, Japan
The library cum memento corner

“Aren’t there Sunday feasts organized here like the ones that we have in Juhu, Mumbai”, I enquired one of the bhaktas at the counter. “No Mataji” he replied, “the temple cannot cater to such expenses as it is running on a loan. Prabhu ki iccha se kisi din… yahan bhi bhandare lagenge (God willing, someday we also will be able to host lavish treats for everyone), but for now we cannot afford it. But we do have a Govinda’s restaurant serving buffet, you can check that out if you please”. It was sad to know that this humble temple was finding it difficult to find its feet in a foreign land.

With a gloomy feeling and all my feast fantasies now collapsed, I grabbed a seat and joined in the standard chanting of Radhe Krishna, Hari Gopala intermittently while eagerly waiting for the sanctum door to open.

A few minutes passed by and the curtains were raised. A series of loud calls singing glory to the Lord echoed in the hall while the devotees kneeled and bowed their heads down in reverence.


Radhe Krishna Temple opens - ISKCON temple, Japan
Bowing down in reverence... the sanctum door opens

The priest lighted the prayer lamp motioning the commencement of the afternoon arti (prayer). The beautifully decorated Radhe Krishna deity shimmering in bright glow and glimmer blessing its devotees was now clearly visible.

Main deities of Radha and Krishna at the ISKCON temple, Japan
Beautiful deities of Radha and Govinda

Srila Prabhupada at the ISKCON temple, Japan
Srila Prabhupada - the founder of ISKCON

The highlight of the prayer was the simple candle lighting ceremony after the arti where each one got a chance to light one and register his presence in the house of the Lord. It was a nice practice, I thought, that encouraged engagement with your own self in addition to also drawing some personal moments in nearness to the God. 

Candle lighting ceremony at the ISKCON temple, Japan
The candle lighting ceremony in the ISKCON Temple

After the prayers, the prasadam of kheer and pakoda was distributed amongst all. I took mine and left the place with one silent wish... to see this temple standing on its own one day.

Prasadam at the ISKCON temple, Japan
Prasadam of kheer (a type of sweet made of milk) and pakoda

Adjacent to the temple is the Govinda’s restaurant serving buffet lunch for 1500 Yen. With an abundant line up of delicacies on the platter - rotis, sabji, idli, chutney, rice, dal, papad, sweet, etc. -

Govinda's restaurant at the ISKCON temple, Japan
Govinda's restaurant

Indian Thali - Veg. meal in Japan ISKCON temple
A full Thali

I had my heart’s fill... a little bit of everything from my thali which was wholesome, fulfilling, Indian... and purely vegetarian.

Getting there: How to Reach, etc.

Nearest Metro Station: 2 min walk from the Funabori station (South exit) on Toei-Shinjuku line
.
Admission Fees: Free
Open: All 365 days

Contact Numbers: +81-80-5412-2528 - Sanjay Karanji / +81-90-8053-6321 - Sanjiv Keswani

Previous Posts from the Japan Trip -

66 comments:

  1. Oh! We are lucky to know and see the
    ISKON temple in Japan through you.

    You have described it very nicely and decorated your description with
    beautiful pictures.

    Thanks a lot Arti.

    Hare Krishn Hare Krishn,
    Krishn Krishn Hare Hare
    Hare Ram Hare Ram,
    Ram Ram Hare Hare

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  2. ISKCON is present across the globe. Nice to know that you got a chance to visit the one in Japan. I love the one in Bangalore. Even though it looks a bit commercial, its ambiance is mind soothing.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  3. Your posts/photos are always so fascinating, colorful, informative and beautiful and I do enjoy them so much, Arti! Thanks for sharing!!

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  4. Very interesting. Arti, please see my blog post of Oct 15 that deals with my India pre-departure briefing. I would like your opinions of it. Thanks!

    Very interesting post of the devotion to Krishna and the food at that restaurant. I enjoyed it!

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  5. Arti
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful experience. Nice and colourful pics.I loved your rapturous narration filled with devotion.The place is so meticulously neat & clean.
    Have a great day. Ram

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  6. Sounds like a wonderful place - a bit of india in Japan! Hope your week starts easy going and fun Arti!

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  7. I enjoyed this post, but I have to admit that the photo of the food, at the end, made my mouth water.

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  8. Arti,

    Nice to know that ISKCON is established in Japan too! Nice post with excellent photographs. Keep going!

    Sri....

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  9. I always thought ISCKON would have enough funds of their own, any country for that matter. Nice pictures.

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  10. Hello Arti, I admire that you found a kindred place of worship in a foreign country. Also, it looks like you WERE blessed by fulfilling your dream of a vegetarian feast.

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  11. The Juhu temple's Bhandara is some thing I look forward to while visiting Mumbai. I am sorry to learn that the establishment in Tokyo is the modest one. However the decorations/exhibits match what we find elsewhere. Nice photographs and info. I find that the Thali contains a little more of rice.

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  12. Arti, yet another post which almost transported me to the ISKON temple in Japan! I too make it a point to visit one wherever I go:) The prasd and the food of Govinda looked very enticing:)

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  13. I would so love to go to Japan one day. I hear it is amazing.

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  14. The food looks delicious. And what a lovely modern temple.

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  15. Hello Arti, I see you are still attending festivals and continuing with your Japan travel blogs. Hope life is being good to you and you are enjoying it. Hugs Carrie

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  16. This is very interesting to know that ISCON temple is in Japna also... very informative post like always Arti...

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  17. Thank you everyone. :)

    @R Niranjan I agree. I also find the atmosphere very calming in the ISKCON temples irrespective of their make, especially their prayer sessions are very lively and enthusiastic. There is something in them that makes me want to visit them each time I can.

    @gigihawaii Thanks for the intimation, I have replied accordingly. Please feel free to drop me a word if you need any further information regd. your trip to India and I will be more than glad to help you out. Looking forward to welcome you in India.

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  18. Arti ,

    Iskcon Temple in Japan was wonderful. Thanks for the virtual journey . Pakodas and Kheer are making me tempting having them on my ( Upvaas )fast day.

    Keep Travelling and Keep Posting.

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  19. Fascinating information, and wonderful photos! Thanks for widening my knowledge.

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  20. they have in Japan too , oh wow..
    beautiful pics and all the introduction

    you surly saw a lot of places when you were there :)


    Bikram's

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  21. Very interesting visit Arti, and glad you were able to get the buffet at the end!

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  22. oh! they r in Tokyo too! interesting!

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  23. nice to see the iskcon japan temple ... every iskcon temple is special as it is built by the local devotees : )

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  24. good to see an ISKCON temple in Tokyo... establishing a temple there itself is a big deal... the temple seems to be so serene... great works by the people who took efforts to set up a temple there...

    although, the temple didn't have food, it was good that there was a good restaurant nearby...

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  25. A wonderful account... it is always great to know about our culture thriving in far off land. I do remember visiting ISKCON temple in Hongkong long ago. Due to space constraints in city it was in a flat. Loved the pics am hungry now after seeing the pics of the feast

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  26. A peaceful and beautiful place, even if so small. I am glad that you found familiar food as well (and it sounds absolutely wonderful). It is hard to make the most of new experiences if you're hungry, so I'm sure you felt more like exploring after that lovely meal.

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  27. at least, even if the was no feast there, you were able to visit the temple Arti and also learned first hand of the situation there, sad to note, but hopefully, they will be able to soon prosper there, and glad you were able to find your vegetarian delight :)

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  28. @Arti Great to read your post on ISKCON temple. Great description with beautiful photographs. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  29. interesting post on ISKCON temple and good photos

    happy navaratri

    thanks

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  30. I met many of japanese tourist when im travel in India. They seem very interested to learn about Hindusm.

    It's always interestng experience to visit hindu temple in foreign land ..

    Hows the food taste Arti...?

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  31. Thank you everyone. Its always very interesting to read what all of you have got to say!

    @ Mareta Yes, they indeed are. That is also because Buddhism had oiginally travelled from India to Japan via China and Buddhism finds its roots in Hinduism. The food was delicious and definitely recommended if one is searching for Indian food in Japan. :)

    @Satya, @Karthick I agree. Making an effort to take the vision of Srila Prabhupada forward despite lack of proper funding is also very commendable indeed.

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  32. How wonderful to have been able to visit this temple whilst so far away from home. Wonderful post, your photos as always were breathtaking.

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  33. Krishna Has never been this adorable ever :-) Wonderful pics, wonderful experience. Your Pictures all look very divine and heavenly :-) I'm jealous :-)

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  34. very nice. Haribol....

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  35. Hi, Arti! Govinda’s restaurant must be the one you said you liked in Tokyo. Right? What a feast full on the tray! I think I know how you were happy with such delicious pure vegetarian dishes after the prayers at the ISKCON Temple which you managed to make it all the way It’s impressive that Deities are dressed in beautiful, colorful outfit. Registered Hindus are very small number in Japan. I hear about one third of them live in Kobe, an international port town, my hometown, however, I haven’t heard of Hindu Temple in Kobe. Have happy days ahead.

    Thanks for the comment. I always enjoy reading your thoughts and feedbacks. I guessed redflower buckwheat could be from Valleys of flower which I saw in your post. Have happy days ahead.

    Yoko

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  36. I have never heard of it before, but looking through your photos, I can see what a wonderful event to attain!

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  37. The sights and sounds of Tokyo look amazing! The food looks especially appetizing. Glad you had such an amazing experience.

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  38. @stardust Yes, this restaurant was the one I had spoken to y'all. Thank you for sharing that interesting piece of information on Kobe, Yoko. :)

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  39. wow..you did some research and found the place, I too wish some day it would stand on its own:) Great post,Arti!

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  40. 3rd pic from the top with a Japanese girl playing harmonium is so cute ..!

    i remember the day i landed in Johannesburg .. my new room mate was visiting ISKCON temple there so asked me to accompany him ..

    as i was very tired to prepare food and hungry as well, i never said no to his invitation knowing the fact that prasad given in ISKCON was enough to satiate oneself :P

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  41. Wow, you managed to find the ISKCON temple in Japan. Very nice. Happy to know that there are Japanese followers of Krishna too!

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  42. What a wonderful meal in the restaurant!!
    Arti, I am glad to report you this. In this summer, one restaurant for pure vegetarians opened near JR Nara Station!!
    I will go and try.
    Wishing you a wonderful week!
    keiko

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  43. WOW, This is so beautiful, I went to ISKOCN Boston last year and I can't describe in words how I felt. Thanks for sharing this one :)

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  44. I'd love to visit this one! The ones in London, Mubai and all over the world that I have so far been to are inspirational.
    JSK!

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  45. Nice picture of the star fish.

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  46. Your post makes me long for Asia...

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  47. Happy to see our divinity and Lord Krishna in Japan. It looks so peaceful. How the feeling must be to see our temple and culture in foreign country, can't imagine the joy. :)

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  48. Its really very nice to know about this temple and many more temples.
    Thanks Aarti for sharing this nice information.

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  49. Very impressive temple...., Arti. Amazing how ISKON temples maintain Bhakti Vatsalya even in a foreigh land...!
    Lovely, peaceful pix! Thanks for sharing...:)

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  50. Beautiful pics and well narrated

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  51. Wow! I never knew there was a ISKCON Temple in Japan too. Not sure how I missed this post earlier. It sure is a very divine feeling to be there. Thanks Arti for sharing thi part of your journey with us. :)

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  52. An ISKON temple at Japan seems such an outlandish idea, however it seems to fit right in. It's a pity to hear that it is struggling for survival.
    The Radha Krishna idols are beautiful.

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  53. I had no idea but after reading about it, it sounds just right. We have a Govinda restaurant in kolkata which serves awesome veg food :)

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  54. Jai Shri Krishna Arti...
    Glad to know about such a beautiful spot even in Japan. Wonderful pics and wonderful description. I am glad to know that you travel far and wide and share your experiences with us :)
    Have a wonderful day!

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  55. Looking at the thali, I can imagine how it must have felt to find Indian food there! Beautiful pics! The deities at ISKON are mesmerizing to say the least.

    My world, my thoughts, my musings...

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  56. Arti, Thanks for providing such a wonderful post, didnt know about this earlier.Getting to know many unknown places through this site.

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  57. Hi Arti,

    It's good to know that ISKCON is spreading to other countries as well.
    Delighted to see such an initiative taking place in Japan.
    Lovely photographs. Hope that everything is fine now in Japan after the recent tsunami which happened last week.

    Keep posting :)

    Regards

    Jay
    http://road-to-sanitarium.blogspot.in/

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  58. Hamesha se AWESOME

    U have wonderful posts with beautiful pics

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  59. Nice to learn about an ISKCON temple in Japan. I like the idea of everyone getting to light the lamps. Beautiful.
    I can imagine how it felt to lay eyes on that meal. :)

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  60. Iskon in Japan..Wow. It seems so simple compared to grand structures in India

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  61. You are so blessed to find a place of worship in your travel, what a very special experience it must be

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Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

If you have asked a question, please give me at least 2 days to reply back. Thank you :)

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