The Tokyo Templed Guarded By A Pre-Historic Creature!

Enter any one of the thousands and thousands of temples and shrines in Japan and it is likely that you’ll see at least one or two stone statues of animals in front of it. Lions, foxes and lion-dogs are the more traditional statues, and there are also ones with the likes of cats, frogs, horses, monkeys, elephants, tigers, rabbits and wolves on show but this one in eastern Tokyo has a guardian which has been extinct for millions of years!

This fairly nondescript wooden Buddhist temple is located on a quiet backstreet of Katsushika ward and was something I came across recently whilst on the trail of bronze Captain Tsubasa footballer statues. Maybe I shoud have sensed the presence of such a prehistoric creature after seeing the dinosaur-themed artwork outside the temple!


It’s called Shoganji Temple and standing amidst the trees to the right of the main hall is a model of a styracosaurus.

So why was this relatively large dinosaur, with a singular horn protruding from its nose, enshrined in place of a koma-inu guardian lion-dog?

The answer is that it was brought in from a museum which closed down years ago in an attempt to get rid of evil spirits due to its strong presence. It certainly has that!


Standing in front of the main hall on the other side is a lion. Nothing new about that? Wrong!! This particular lion is a very different style to the usual ones seen at such places. In addition, there is also a model of a space shuttle welcoming worshippers to the precinct not that I noticed this at the time as I was so focused on the dinosaur! There is even a planetarium facility which is supposedly open twice a month for events.

Whilst it’s not exactly Jurassic Park, this temple is a unique and interesting place to pop into for a few minutes of quiet consolidation if you’re ever in the area.

  • Shoganji Temple is located at 7-11-30 Tateishi, Katsushika-ku.

Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #6 – Dinosaur Park’

Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #25 – Dinosaur Park’

Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #32 – Dinosaur Space’

Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #35 – Dinosaur Slide’

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
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2 Responses to The Tokyo Templed Guarded By A Pre-Historic Creature!

  1. Pingback: TF Top 10……Must-See Dinosaur-Related Places In Japan | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  2. Pingback: This Quirky-Looking Building Is A Sight For Saur Eyes!! | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

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