Seikenji Shoga....I mean, Jinja...I mean, Otera!

Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 | 2 comments

Since Monday was a national holiday (Sports Day, see the previous post), we decided to tour a local temple that somehow we'd never gotten around to visiting before. It's only about a 20 minute drive from our place and we've passed it numerous times, but I can't say it was all that impressive-looking from the road. I mean, after living here a while, the novelty of 'Oh wow, it's a TEMPLE!!' or 'It's a SHRINE!' begins to wear off a bit, and seeing as this particular temple is located in a rather small town with not a lot going on, I didn't imagine that it could be all that awe-inspiring. Silly me.
On Monday, however, we only had about a half-day of free time after I finally escaped kicking and screaming from the doctor's office (long story, and no I won't go into details but rest assured that 1. I'm fine now 2. I don't have the pig flu and 3. I'm not pregnant), so we decided to head over to Okitsu, where Seikenji Temple is located. For some reason I was convinced that it was a shrine and kept calling it 'that shoga (ginger) I want to see'. However, it's actually not even a shrine, let alone ginger, but a temple ('otera' in Japanese). And I guess a rather famous one at that. It has a garden nationally designated as a place of scenic beauty, plum trees planted by Tokugawa Ieyasu himself (who is said to have stayed there quite often), and something like 500 statues of the Shaka-Nyorai (Historical Buddha). If you want to read more, click on this link: Seikenji Temple
This place really didn't disappoint! The exterior garden was absolutely beautiful. It could be either the interior or exterior garden that's been designated as a place of beauty; my guess is the interior one but my preference is for the outer one, with all the little Buddhas hanging out in it. It sort of felt like entering the land of the Munchkins!
The outer garden is free to view, but you have to pay a whole whopping ¥300---roughly $3-something at current exchange rates---if you want to enter the temple and view the enclosed garden. I personally would've been happy to pay even more than that just to see the outer garden, but the interior one and the temple are well-worth the pocket change.

                                                One of the temples in the complex

  Views from the grounds and the outer garden

                                                     Yuki and some tiny Buddhas

Hundreds of Buddhas!!!

The Enclosed Garden

Inside the main temple

One of the ume (plum) trees planted by Tokugawa Ieyasu


Noelle said...

That's a beautiful temple--but why are there so many Buddhas? It almost reminded me of a cemetery the way that they were arranged??

Nancy said...

What a peaceful looking place! Always nice to visit a place that lets your soul breath!