Tin How Temple

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Tin How Temple
Photograph of the sign above the entrance to Tin How Temple at 125 Waverly Place in San Francisco's Chinatown. The
Entrance to Tin How Temple at 125 Waverly Place in San Francisco's Chinatown
Location125 Waverly Pl
MunicipalitySan Francisco
Tin How Temple is located in San Francisco
Tin How Temple
Shown within San Francisco
Tin How Temple is located in San Francisco Bay Area
Tin How Temple
Tin How Temple (San Francisco Bay Area)
Geographic coordinatesCoordinates: 37°47′40″N 122°24′26″W / 37.79457°N 122.40710°W / 37.79457; -122.40710

The Tin How Temple (also spelled Tianhou Temple, simplified Chinese: 天后古庙; traditional Chinese: 天后古廟; pinyin: Tiānhòu gǔ miào) is the oldest extant Taoist temple in San Francisco's Chinatown, and one of the oldest still-operating Chinese temples in the United States.[1] It is dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu, who is known as Tin How (天后, Empress of Heavens) in Cantonese.[2]


The temple was founded in 1852, reportedly at its current location at 125 Waverly Place, by Day Ju, one of the first Chinese persons to arrive in San Francisco.[3] The building was later destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, with the image of the goddess, the temple bell, and part of the altar surviving.[1] By then, ownership of the building site had transitioned to the Sue Hing Benevolent Association,[4] which reopened it in 1910 on the top floor of a four-story building it built on the site.[1] The temple closed in 1955 and reopened on May 4, 1975,[2] after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 had caused a rejuvenation of San Francisco's Chinatown.[1]

In May 2010, the one-hundredth anniversary of the temple was celebrated by a religious procession through the streets in the neighborhood, including dances and fireworks. The temple is a significant landmark in Chinatown; the Chinese name for Waverly Place is 天后庙街; 天后廟街; Tiānhòu miào jiē; 'Tin How Temple Street'.[2]


The temple is open daily between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M., excepting holidays.[5] Admission is free with permission from the attendant, and donations are accepted. Photography is not allowed inside the temple.[3]

See also[edit]

Although both are dedicated to Mazu, the Tin How Temple is not to be confused with the "Ma-Tsu Temple of U.S.A." two blocks north of it, which was founded in 1986 with ties to the Chaotian Temple in Taiwan.



  1. ^ a b c d Lorentzen, Lois Ann; Gonzalez, Joaquin Jay; Chun, Kevin M.; Do, Hien Duc (2010-07-01). Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana: Politics, Identity, and Faith in New Migrant Communities. Duke University Press. p. 169. ISBN 0822391163.
  2. ^ a b c "Tin How Temple". chinatownology.com. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Tin How Temple". Fodor's Travel. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  4. ^ Kam, Katherine (9 December 2001). "Where Chinatown Reveals Itself". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Tin How Temple". lonely planet. Retrieved 15 March 2018.

External links[edit]