Kwan Tai Temple, Chinatown

Kwan in Kwan Tai Temple
Kwan in Kwan Tai Temple

Kwan Tai Temple sits on the corner of Kwan Tai street and Chuzan Ro in the town. Kwan Tai Temple enshrines Kwan Tai, a famous general in the ancient Chinese Imperial army in about 200 AD. Legend says that he exceled in both literary and military arts. He is also said to be 2.7 meter high, or 9 feet and carry a sword of 40kgs, or 90lbs. He was loyal to the King and the country until the last moment of his death.

He is worshipped for his military ability and virtues even after his death, and he has become a deity. He is a Taoist symbol of integrity and loyalty. He is worshipped especially by merchants. There are Kwan Tai Temples in Singapore, Bangkok, London, New York, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Sydney. These are just example. You can say every place where Chinese live, there is necessarily a Kwan Tai Temple.

After the port was open here 150 years ago, Western traders came accompanied by Chinese, who assisted them as their interpreters. Many of them set down roots in Yokohama and created a Chinese community. The temple is said to have been built about 1862. The first building was a small with just a wooden figure. It was completely destroyed three times: first by earthquake in 1923, second by air raids in 1945, and third by arson in 1986. But it was restored each time and has continued to be the center of the community. The current temple is the forth one, built in 1990. Almost all of the components were brought from China or made by Chinese craftsmen. (They use 3.5kgs of gold.)

A famous Feng Shui practitioner says that Kwan Tai Temple is a cosmic place, where spiritual power gathers and energizes people. If you feel exhausted, that may be a good place to visit.