The story of "Yaoya Oshichi" / Enjo-ji temple, Hakusan, Bunkyo ward
This temple is famous as the locale of the story "Yaoya Oshichi". Let me introduce the story.
There were many fires in Edo(old name of Tokyo). According to the record, there were 96 big fires, which burned out the huge area over 15cho(approximetly 1.6km) radius, during the Edo era(1603-1867). Approximately once a 3 years.
Oshichi was a daughter of a greengrocer(Yaoya) who lived in Hongo area. When the big fire occurred in 1682(Tenna-fire), Oshichi and her family took refuge in the Enjo-ji temple. Young Oshichi found the boy who was employed in the temple, then she was falling in love with him. They had a good time during her evacuation. Even after she came back home, she couldn't forget about him, however, it was very difficult to meet him. Then, she hit upon an awful idea; she decided to make the same situation as she had met him without any hurdles. She attempted arson, and, she was arrested. It was 1683, the next year of the Tennna-fire.
Criminals committing attempted arson deserved the death penalty in Edo era. They had to suffer at the stake, if they were older or equal to 16years old. At that time, she was 16. (In Japan, the age was counted as follows; the newborn baby was 1year old, then the baby became 2years old on upcoming New years day, after that he/she got older on every New years days. So, actually, Oshichi was at a mere age of 14years.)
The judge pitied her because she was so childish and guileless. He wanted to save her from the brutal penalization, then asked her, "Girl, you are 15 years old, aren't you?". But she insisted that she was 16 years old, and accepted to be burnt alive.
3 years after her death, the popular writer Ihara Saikaku wrote about her story in his novel. As soon as it was released, her story became a best-seller and the authors of the Kabuki and the Joruri(the traditional puppet play) scrambled to make plays of Yaoya Oshichi.
Actually, I kind of think calling her "idiot" would be easy. She could not make appropriate judgement and ended up committing the crime.
However, her purity for love was remarkable. I think that is why people have been moved by the story of Yaoya Oshichi.
There is the grave of her in the Enjo-ji temple yard.