Daiyūzan Saijō-ji Temple – The Buddhist Temple You Hope You Find

One of the dreams of living in Japan is to find those hidden gems that are far from the tourist track. I’m talking about places that are exactly what you are looking for but aren’t in the guidebooks, that can only be found either with an expert local guiding the way or through deep exploration.

Last weekend we visited one of those places, the Daiyuzan Saijo-ji Temple. It’s an expansive Buddhist temple located in a thick forest in on the side of the mountains, far from any other tourist attraction or sight, and hard enough to get to that few foreigners would expend a precious vacation day to make the trek from Tokyo.

I found out about the temple while following all of the train lines in the area to see where they ended. At the end of each line, I would look up what was there – a bedroom community, a factory town, a resort. When I got to the end of the Daiyuzan, I found a factory city (Fuji Film) located in the foothills. Following the road out of town, I saw a large blocked off section with the sign for temple inside it.

The temple complex is a large, well manicured area full of buildings connected by paths, bridges, and stairs. Throughout the grounds are statues big and small, as well as many little surprises. It’s a working temple – we were able to go inside one of the buildings and watch a ceremony in progress. The sound of the chanting and bells was as mezmorising as the temple itself.

 

The kids washed their hands every chance they got.

The kids washed their hands every chance they got.

Walking through the cedars to the upper temple.

Walking through the cedars to the upper temple.

The entrance to the upper shrine.

The stairs down to the main temple grounds. A long ways down!

The stairs down to the main temple grounds. A long ways down!

The kids love dropping coins into the donation box.

The kids love dropping coins into the donation box.

Monk

Inside the upper temple - we lit incense and rang a small bell.

Inside the upper temple – we lit incense and rang a small bell.

Trying to sit still for a photo!

Trying to sit still for a photo!

One of many tiny statues hidden throughout the temple

One of many tiny statues hidden throughout the temple

Down!

Down!

Half way down the stairs you can stop and wash your hands again.

Half way down the stairs you can stop and wash your hands again.

Tengu guards

Tengu guards

Tengu Guards

Tengu Guards

This stone was here first.

This stone was here first.

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shoes of all sizes

shoes of all sizes

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Did I mention that we washed hands a LOT?

Did I mention that we washed hands a LOT?

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Milk break.

Milk break.

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1 Reply

  1. Sam Bradley Reply

    Great photos. I can tell the kids loved the adventure, and the opportunity to keep their hands clean. 🙂

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