Once in the feudal days, there was a woman by the name of Yugao-hime (Lady Yugao) among ChibaTsunetane's clan in the district of Sobu (mainly present-day Tokyo, Saitama andChiba Prefectures). When the Chiba family gradually came to acquire power in the district, Yugao-hime took up her abode in Motogi in the province of Bushu (present-day Tokyo and SaitamaPref.) in her later years.
There she, though not tonsured, came to lead a nun-like life, hanging an image of Amida on the wall in her living room and always reciting the nenbutsu (recitation of Amida's name) in devotion to Amida Buddha. She then built a hall housing an image of Amida Buddha and held the morning and evening services there every day. After completing her allotted span of life, she was given a Buddhist name Myoen.

This hall was then rebuilt into a temple as a place of worship for devout men and women, whichevolved into the origin of our present temple, zuioji. The temple was looked after by its keeper and continued to be a place of worship for people for a long time. According to Shinpen Musashi Fudoki Ko [New Version of the Manuscript of the Gazetteer of the Province of Musashi], "zuioji, which is called Ashura-zan, is said to have had its origin in the seventh year of Meio (1498). Its principal image of Kannon is enshrined in the Temple." This description is considered to mean the Temple, after a long period of the keepers' care, grew into a full-fledged Buddhist temple in those days and began to function wholly as such under the patronage of the Chiba family.

The Temple began to flourish with an increasing number of followers and supporters from around that time and came to be known as a temple of established reputation complete with seven buildings,which suggests the Temple once had a grand size of compound.

In the Early Modern Age, Hojo Soun started on the invasion of the eight provinces of Kanto with Odawara Castle in Sagami (present-day Kanagawa Prefecture) as the base of operation. The Hojo family's rule gradually expanded to the eastern part of Bushu in the days of his son Ujitsuna and his grandson Ujiyasu, and the Chiba family came under the control of the Hojos by doom of battle. As a result, the noted bell at the belfry of the Temple, which was connected with the Chiba family then, was taken out as a war trophy. As a ship carrying the bell went down the Sumida river for a while, the bell began to groan in a strange,yet impressive sound, and at the same time the wind and waves began to rise as if it had incurred the dragon King's anger. The crewmen and warriors on board were all frightened at the unexpected surprising thing and ran away after sinking the bell in the river. Hence people began to call the place Kanegabuchi or the Deep Pool of the Bell. It is said that the bell could be seen vaguely in the water until the early years of the Meijiera when the water of the river was clear. The notes of Mr. Seta Touemon, who once lived here in the Tokugawa period, states: "The tax-exempt compound of the Temple is 2,818 tsubo (a tsubo is about 3.306 square meters or 3.954 square yards)." This description also gives us a glimpse of the size of the Temple in those days.

tsukiboshinomonThe Temple's crest is "Tsukiboshi no Mon"

The Temple's crest is "Tsukiboshi no Mon" or the "Crest of the Moon and a Star," which is connected with the Chiba family's "Kuyoboshi Mon" or the "Crest of Nine Stars." In the Tokugawa period, the Temple became a subsidiary temple of Kichijo-in in the neighborhood (located at 17-1 Motogi Nishimachi, Adachi-ku, Tokyo) and continued to flourish as a place of worship for the people. Unfortunately the Temple suffered severe war damage in April 1945 and lost many of its treasures. Through the efforts of its present head priest the Temple has recovered from the damage and has begun to be restored as it used to be.

[Supplementary Information]

Nakasone Shrine The Shrine, which is located at 2176, Motogi-cho 2-chome, Adachi-ku, Tokyo, was established in 1523 and is dedicated to the great god of thunder Kuninotokotachi no Mikoto. Chiba Katsutane of the powerful clan in this district built a castle here and dedicated a shrine inside the castle to Myoken-sama (deification in female form of the Great Bear or hokuto shichisei), a bodhisattva to whom the Chiba family used to pay reverence. The Shrine was maintained by local people even after the castle ceased to exist as a result of the decline of the Chiba family. For various reasons involved, it was not listed as a shrine after the Meiji Restoration (1867), and Kaminari-sha or a Thunder Shrine, which was exempted from taxation, was removed here in August 1932 to reorganize the Shrine into mukaku-sha or a shrine without authorized status. A small shrine on the little higher ground behind the hall of worship is a subordinate shrine called Ontake-sha.
This higher ground was leveled down around 1924 as seen today to manufacture bricks, but with the advice of elderly and intelligent people, the place around Ontake-sha was left as before, thereby preserving vestiges of the site of the old castle. The castle compound was about 654 meters or 716 yards square, and the moat flowing under the highest construction of the castle used to be called horishita-hori (meaning the outer moat) till the early years of the Meiji era. In addition, there was a place called Otsubone Yashiki (residence of a court lady) on the northern side of the Shrine.