Shōfuku-ji (正福寺, lit. Temple of the Correct Luck) is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple in Higashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan. Its early 15th century Jizō hall is a registered National Treasure of Japan. It is considered to be the oldest intact building in Tokyo Prefecture and a unique example of Kamakura architecture.


Shofuku-ji was founded in year 1270. The temple records state that the Jizō hall was built in 1278 under the sponsorship of Kamakura Regent Hōjō Tokiyori. Tradition holds that the Regent fell ill while on hunting expedition and was nursed back to health back by a resident priest. In gratitude, Tokiyori commissioned builders from Kamakura to build the Jizō hall.

There is some question as to the accuracy of this story given that Tokiyori died in year 1263. Nonetheless, official patronage from Kamakura was key in the temple construction. It is worth noting that the temple may have been founded and constructed during the ministry of Tokiyori's son, Hōjō Tokimune under whose authority Japan successfully defended itself against Mongol Invasions.


The Jizō hall employed new building techniques perfected by the Japanese master builders during the Kamakura era that permitted more strength, elasticity, and detail compared to Chinese, Korean, or even earlier Japanese techniques. From the outside it appears as a two story structure with sharply upturned eaves on the roofs. Internally, it is a single open space.

It contains significant architectural innovations, including the use of elastic Japanese cypress, steel support chisels, decorative but functional brackets, and cantilevers. These innovations permitted a structure that appears lightweight with its curved hip roof, open interior, and floating, upturned eaves while being structurally sound against earthquakes.


Despite major reconstruction in the year 1407, Shōfuku-ji's Jizō hall is held to be one of the most representative and intact examples of Kamakura architecture anywhere. Though 50 kilometers from Kamakura, this area marked the northern extent of what was considered the outer sphere of the Kamakura defenses. However, this remoteness likely contributed to its preservation since it did not see the destruction that most of the buildings of Kamakura itself experienced.


Consistent with it being a place of healing, Shōfuku-ji has a tradition that is believed by many locals to help cure illness. Outside the hall are a number of wooden dolls that, when a family member or friend is sick, are to be taken to the ill person's home. Upon recovery, the original doll plus a new one are returned to the temple.

Jizō Hall Gallery
  • Exterior North

  • Exterior South

  • Exterior West

  • Interior East Ceiling

  • Interior East

  • Interior East Lower level

  • Interior Kannon Statue

  • Interior North Lower Level

  • Interior Priest

  • Interior West Ceiling

  • Exterior Eave detail

Building Activity

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