Category Archives: Shrines & Temples

Seikenji Temple in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

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I’m an agnostic and cares little for religion but it would be a grave oversight to ignore some of the grand Buddhist temples or Shinto Shrines in Japan and Shizuoka Prefecture as they are a great source of history, architecture, art and culture.
I can always leave the obvious religious connotations to the care of friend bloggers with different priorities!
There is a major Buddhist Temple in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City, which definitely deserves a lot of attention, namely Seikenji Temple/清見寺 along the Tokaido Road.
Just follow me and I’ll explain along the way!

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First take a train on JR Tokaido Line and get off at Okitsu Station.

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Get out of the station and walk till the main road and turn right.
At the station you will see this sign clearly indicating you are about to discover Seikenji Temple!
Bear in mind this is a good 15~20 minute walk, so choose a bright shiny (no hot) day!

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While you are at it take the time to read the other signs describing the Tokai Nature Trail Bypass Course!

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Definitely worth reading it!

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Halfway find this sign along the right hand side signboard for a little history of the Tokaido Road!

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You cannot miss it and take the time to read the board there, too!

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Walk up the stairs and through the first portal before you cross over the Tokaido Railway Line!

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Take your time for plenty of pictures!

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From the railway line overhead bridge!

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Trains run along every 5~10 minutes!

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Past the bridge proceed to your right.

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The main entrance Gate!

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Temples are always well protected!

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Buddhist temples as a general look after a big cemetery.

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Being religious or not there are always plenty of quaint sights!

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One of the main buildings!

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Walking across the outside plum tree garden!
In the right season the place is exploding into superb colors!

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But before proceeding any further turn left and penetrate a strange place with even stranger figures!

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All the faces and in some many cases most of the postures of these “deities” are different!

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In daytime they look quite benign!

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This is one of these oldest parts of Seikenji Temple built during the Nara Era!

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Great contrast between old wood and tiles and the bright sky!

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The entrance portal overlooking Okitsu Harbor!

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The “bonsho” bell tower!

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The “garyubai/臥龍唄” plum tree variety was developed there by the Overlord Tokugawa Ieyasu in the beginning of the 17th Century.
It is also the name of a famous Japanese sake brand brewed by Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku!

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Over the entrance you will find the Hollyhock/Aoi/葵 represented on Tokugawa Ieyasu Mon/Japanese Arms/文!

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Past the entrance, ring the (real bronze) bell and a monk will collect a 300 yen visiting fee (very small considering the importance of the place!)!

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Don’t forget to take off your shoes and put on slippers before climbing the small stairs to the main room!

Note: There are plenty of “washrooms” there so take your time!

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There is an advised route to follow but you are free to wander, so I went to have a look at the inner garden!

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But I couldn’t walk back to take a picture of this magnificent phoenix!

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The space dedicated to Buddhist services.

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Plenty to read overhead!

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back to the garden, which is small but is still nationally designated as a place of scenic beauty!

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Wave-patterned gravel bed!

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There are plenty of cultural assets including this coffer with the hollyhock crest!

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Sorry for the disorder but this the real order I took pictures! Professional are going to kick me! LOL

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The temple not being too big you can get a good impression of the architecture!

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Guest/meeting room and sliding doors.

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Another picture of the garden taken through an opening!

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The main room with a “tokonoma”!

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Yet another view into the garden!

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A verdant island!

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The famous monk, Hakuin!

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An antique “shamisen”!

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A colorfully decorated “tansu”!

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A view of the front plum tree garden!

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The real pictures of the whole crew of 104 sailors aboard the Tsukijima Maru Ship which got marooned in the Suruga Bay just in front of Okitsu.
The ship was subsequently attacked by rebel samurais who had not surrendered in spite of their defeat in Hakodate and roamed the country for many years after.
The whole crew was killed and thrown overboard.
Jirochoo, a notable of Shimizu City became a local hero when he personally collected all their bodies to give them a decent funeral.
But that is the official story… A volunteer guide confided me that the so-called hero actually was in a hurry to clean the sea and shore to allow fishing again as soon as possible…

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The place does contain many precious drawings!

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One can walk up to a smaller meeting room on the next floor.

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For another grand view of Okitsu Harbor!

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An overhead view of the entrance lobby!

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Hakuin again!
His face can be seen on the labels of Hakuin Masamune Japanese Sake bottles produce by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City!

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Back through the outside garden!

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When you leave take the side exit down the stairs and across the railway line!

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See you there again next February when the plum trees will be in full bloom!

SEIKENJI TEMPLE
Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Okitsu
Tel.: 054-369-0028
Hours: 08:30~16:30 (closed during services)
Admission: 300 yen (adults), 200 yen Junior and Senior High School Students), 100 yen (Primary School Students)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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Inari Dai Myojin Shrine at 1,000 meters in Shizuoka City!

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It takes a good hour by car to reach this spot in Umegashima, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City, along and above the Abe River at 1,000 meters at the very end of the road where you are greeted by a minuscule Shinto Shrine.

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The sign says “1,000 meters, the highest tea fields in Japan!”

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The red color is arguably the most used color for Shinto Shrines which are found in far more places than Budhist Temples especially in rural Japan!

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This “Torii/鳥居/Bird Gate”, for all its small size is remarkable for the fact that the top beam was made with the bottom part of a tree to show a pointed horn at its tip! Very rare actually! The whole portal was created by with logs sawed by the small log company just a few meters away!

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For the people interested with such facts, the name of the shrine is called “Inari Dai Myoujin/稲荷大明神”!
“Inari” is also the name of a sushi. Can you guess why? “Ina” means “rice” and it was offered inside rice straw balls at such shrines to pray for bountiful crops whose shape has been copied to make inari sushi!

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This very spot is heavens for photography buffs!

SN3O4806take a zoom with you to catch to the different grey hues of the mountain reminding you of a Chinese ink painting!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Ooi Shinto Shrine in Shimada City!

Torii/Portal at the entrance of Ooi Shinto Shrine

Whatever City you visit in Japan, down to the smallest mountain village, you will discover at least one Shinto Shrine venerated by the locals. And if you are lucky enough to visit them during traditional holidays or festivals they become an unending source of lore study and photography!

Hand-washing fountain.

How do you recognize a Shinto Shrine from other cult sites?
It is actually very simple even if you can’t read any Japanese!
1) The entrance is always marked with “torii/鳥居/portal”, however tiny the shrine.
2) You will usually find a hand-washing fountain/basin.
3) Entrance is free contrary to some of the shrines of other beliefs. Actually you will often see children playing in their yards in daytime.

Ooi Shrine garden

Now, if you happen to pass through Shimada City, by road or train or on your way from the International Airport take a couple of hours off for a leisurely visit of Ooi shrine/大井神社 as it is only a 10-minute walk from the railway station!
It is just the right size and a true representative of the long local history and culture.
It is also within walking distance to places such as Setsugekka Soba Restaurant where you could take a beautiful lunch before proceeding to the next stage of your trip through Shizuoka Prefecture and Japan!

Shimada Obi Festival Dancer Statue

Shimada is celebrated for its Shimada Obi/belt Matsuri/Festival, an event officially designated as one of 20 strangest/most original festivals in Japan. It is held every 3 years on the Years of the Tiger, Snake, Monkey and Wild Boar!

A young dancer of the other celebrated Shimada Festival, the 300-year old Daimyo Gyoretsu, which imitates the procession of a grand jumangoku (one hundred thousand koku, units of rice) daimyo with a total of 250 marchers stretching over 500 meters!

The New Year is an important time for the Shrine to collect money through the sales of New Year decorations!

The New Year is a great time for photography when people of any age and station visit the shrine!

New Year Decorations sales booth.

The Shrine has a small and cute garden with a carp pond and arched bridge!

2012 being the Year of the Dragon, so it would be a good idea to search for hidden representations of the fabled creature!

An ancient hand-washing basin inside the garden!

Traditional paper lanterns/chōchin (提灯), make for great photographs!

A sacred cow, symbol of fertility and wealth!

A “Kappa”!

Keep your eyes open and you will discover some very intriguing statues such that of a “kappa/河童”, the Japanese cousin of the Scottish kelpie!

The French will be glad to discover frogs everywhere!

More dragons spouting water instead of belching fire!

Lions help the dragons guard the shrine from evil spirits!

Looking forward to meeting you at the next shrine!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery