The restaurant is located near the main entrance gate to Taimadera Temple, a temple long associated with the story of Chujohime (Princess Chujo).
Kamameshi Tamaya is located near the main gate to Taimadera Temple, a temple with a history going back to the 7th century.
Taimadera Temple stands at the foot of Nijōzan, believed to be the entrance to the Gokuraku Jōdō (nirvana) of Pure Land Buddhism. The principle object of worship in Taimadera Temple, rather unusually, is the Taima Mandala, which legend says was crafted from threads of lotus stems, in a single night, by Princess Chujo, a character who appears in Kabuki and Noh plays.
The Shōju Raigō Neri-Kuyō Eshiki event marking the anniversary of Princess Chujo’s death is observed annually on the 14 April. The event features a procession of twenty-five priests wearing masks and special costumes of Bosatsu (Buddhist saint who is seeking a state of spiritual enlightenment) who cross a long bridge, which is believed to link this world with the Pure Land. The grand spectacle is attended by large numbers of devotees. You are encouraged to go along as it really is best seen live.
On the east and west sides of the precincts are a couple of three storey pagodas housing Japan’s oldest temple bell, and the second oldest Shitenno (‘Four Heavenly Kings’) statues. With no less than eight national treasures in its collection, visitors throng to the temple in spring to see the peonies and in autumn to see the fall colours.
The history of Tamaya, a registered Tangible Cultural Asset
The number of Princess Chujo faithful grew following the Heian Period, many devotees beating a path to Taimadera Temple, and the community surrounding the temple flourished.
Tamaya was constructed towards the end of the Edo Period, in Kaei 6 (1853). This was during the time that Commodore Perry and the Black Ships arrived at Uraga and turbulent times ensued in Japan.
At the time a lodging for travelers, the Tamaya Ryokan and tavern flourished, but in Showa 4 (1929), with the Osaka Tetsudo (the present Kintetsu Minami Osaka line) railway opening, the number of lodgers decreased. In Showa 8 (1933), the business closed, and the building became a dwelling.
It was reborn as a retail premises in Heisei 18 (2006), and the Kamameshi Tamaya story began.
The building is thus more than 160 years old. There has been much restoration work on the building, but Tamaya still stands today in front of the Niomon Gate of Taimadera Temple. In Heisei 27 (2015), it was designated by the nation as a Tangible Cultural Asset.