ryouhouji matsuri

While religious leaders around the world struggle to connect with increasingly secular youth, there is one buddhist temple in western Tokyo that has embraced “moe,” or painfully cute anime characters, and will capitalize on its status as “Geek Mecca” by opening up a maid cafe for two days in November.

So how exactly did a temple with over 500 years of history come to be so closely associated with uber-cute cartoon characters? Apparently Ryohoji Temple staff decided in 2009 to install a sign out front that declared their devotion to all things moe. They had wanted to create a lighter, more fun atmosphere for temple visitors.

ryouhouji kanban

On the sign is a “moe-fied” Benzaiten, one of the seven Japanese gods of luck, to which the temple is dedicated. Usually depicted with a Japanese lute, Ryohoji’s revamped version always has a sword to “protect the righteous” and a gem that represents sincerity.

▼More traditional depictions of the god on the left, compared with the moe deity on the right


So to celebrate this connection to moe culture, the temple will hold the “Ryohoji Hospitality” festival on November 16 and 17. Besides the maid cafe, there will be booths selling food and souvenirs as well as a chance to take a picture with the anime deities.

While this is not the strangest maid cafe we have seen, this two-day maid cafe at a moe temple is certainly the most spiritual one we have come across!

If you plan to experience what a maid cafe is like on sacred land, the closest station to Ryohoji Temple is Nishi-Hachioji, a 35-minute train ride on the JR Chuo line from Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo. The temple is about a seven-minute walk from the station’s north entrance.

The festival will take place from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days and the maid cafe will be open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. But make sure you make your last order before 3:30 PM at the cafe!

▼The gods of cuteness will lead the way to the maid cafe!

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Source: IT Media
Images: Ryohoji Temple, WikipediaWikipedia, Wikipedia