In addition to Minobusan Kuonji, another very important temple of Nichiren Shu is Ikegami Honmonji, in the grounds of which is the administrative headquarters of Nichiren Shu (the Shumuin).
The true name of Ikegami Honmonji temple, which is famous for it’s Oeshiki ceremony, is "Choeizan Honmonji”. It is one of Nichiren Shu’s two Main Head Temples (Dai-Honzan) and is located in Ikegami, Ota-ku, in the south of Tokyo. It is famous for being the sacred place where Nichiren Shōnin passed away.
Nichiren Shōnin passed away at the residence of Ikegami Munenaka in 1282. The Ikegami residence is now called the “Daibō” or Hongyōji temple, and stands within the grounds of Ikegami Honmonji. There are various theories about exactly when Ikegami Honmonji temple was opened. It is said that after Nichiren Shōnin had passed away, his disciple Nichirō Shōnin later contributed to the temple grounds by donating 69,384 tsubo of land to the temple precincts. 1 tsubo is about 3.3 square metres, and 69,384 is the number of Chinese characters of the Lotus Sūtra.
In September of 1282, due to the worsening of his chronic illness, Nichiren Shōnin departed Mt. Minobu to receive medical treatment, and on the way to the hot springs at Hitachi, present-day Ibaraki Prefecture, he stopped at the residence of one of his supporters called Ikegami Munenaka. Despite the care of Munenaka and his disciples, his health deteriorated. At the hour of the dragon (8 o'clock in the morning) the next day, 13th October, Nichiren Shōnin passed away surrounded by a large number of his disciples and followers. His 61-year life of propagating the Lotus Sūtra was complete. The next day, 14th October, a funeral ceremony was held and his body cremated. On October 19th (the first 7th-day memorial of the
great master), his disciples left Ikegami with his ashes, and in accordance with his will, interred them at Minobu.
After that Honmonji Temple, as the sacred place where Nichiren Shōnin passed away, gradually grew coming to have many branch temples, and continued to develop under the patronage of the Tokugawa family and other leading samurai. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s concubine Oman-no-Kata and Jufuku-in, the concubine of Maeda Toshiie, also supported the construction of more temple buildings. Above all, Kiyomasa Kato's devotion was very deep, and it is said that it was he who built the 40-square ken Soshido (Founder’s Hall) and the ninety-six-step stone staircase called the “Shikyō nanji slope” which leads up to the temple.
Although most of the buildings were destroyed during World War II, fortunately the life-size statue of Nichiren Shōnin, which was made on the occasion of his Seventh Year Memorial Service in 1288, as well as some of his handwritten letters survived. Reconstruction projects have been ongoing since 1948.
The official name is "Chōsōzan Hongyōji" but it is commonly known as the "Daibō". This is the temple within the grounds of Honmonji where Nichiren Shōnin passed away.
In 1283, Ikegami Uemon no Tayū Munenaka, a supporter of Nichiren Shōnin, built a Lotus Hall (Hokke-dō) at his residence, the place where Nichiren Shōnin stayed on his journey from Minobu to Hitachi, and where he passed away. Nichirō Shōnin’s disciple Nichitō Shōnin contributed to the site, remodelling the Lotus Hall and opening it as part of Hongyoji temple, called the “Daibō”. Although it has been hit by several fires, historic sites such as the building called “Gorinjū no ma” (the Hall of Nichiren Shōnin’s last breath) and the "Orekake no Hashira” pillar which Nichiren Shōnin leaned on while giving a lecture on his treatise the “Rissho Ankoku-ron” remain. It was designated as a historic site of the capital in 1933: the place of Nichiren Shōnin’s entry into Parinirvana.
There is also a special tradition called “Oeshiki Zakura" which originates from this temple. It is said that when Nichiren Shōnin passed away, cherry blossoms suddenly bloomed in the garden. This is the origin of the tradition of making paper cherry blossoms to use in ceremonies and parades celebrating Nichiren Shōnin’s life held every October at all Nichiren Shu temples around the world.