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Shomyoji Temple, A Beautiful Place in Yokohama Japan

Shomyoji Temple, which is located in Kanazawa Bunko, Yokohama.

I am going to introduce you to a temple call Shomyoji Temple, which is located in Kanazawa Bunko, Yokohama. Kanazawa Bunko is located approximately 20 minutes south of Yokohama JR station. To get to Kanazawa Bunko, you must get on a red train call Keikyu line from Yokohama or Tokyo cities and get off at Kanazawa Bunko train station. To get to Shomyoji, you can walk a little less than one kilometer or take a taxi from the train station. The cost of taxi will be less than 1,000 yen.

The official name of the Temple is “Kintakusan Miroku-in Shomyoji”. The temple is located at 212 Kanazawa, Kanazawa – Ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0015. Telephone number: 045 701-9573. The place is officially open from 09:00 to 16:00 daily except on Monday. However, you can always enter their beautiful spacious garden and walk around 7 days a week. The temple sect is Shingon Ritsu Sect of Buddhism founded in 1267 by Sanetoki Kanesawa who lived from 1224 to 1276. 75,300 square meters of property houses several buildings but when it was built in 1267 during Kamakura Bakufu, it had many more buildings but due to lack of funding to maintain them, only several main buildings are now left for us to admire.

There are two entry gates to this facility, the second gate is the larger of two and it houses approximately three meter high wooden statues at each side. One guard has its mouth open and the other one shut, so they are commonly known as “am-un” guard. They both look extremely scary, masculine and fit to guard the facility. The significant amount of second gate wooden structure has been replaced during the “Edo” period but two wooded guards are original from 1267. When I was a little boy, I used to climb up there and make believe we were ninja and play with other kids. Unfortunately, the second gate area is fully enclosed and restricted from going through so the entry point is located just left of the wooden gate to enter the garden.

The garden was engineered to reflect the spirit of Buddhism and looks so peaceful, designed with its religious teaching. For an example, there are two reflection ponds and in between them, there are two bridges going across. Between two bridges a small flat island, which represent the present time. The first bridge is shaped half circle, which represents tough, tumultuous life one experienced in the past. The second bridge is built flat and straight. This bridge represents the future after receiving the teaching of Buddhism.

When you get there, you may find several local volunteers who will be happy to take the visitors around and tell you the history of Shomyoji. Some volunteer speak basic English and they do a good job of conveying who build the place under what circumstances including detail ancient Japanese history. This free service is offered by local volunteers to teach not only the local residents on Shomyoji history but other domestic and international visitors on one part of Japanese ancient history, which influenced local politics.

I do not see too many international visitors in Shomyoji but this will be somewhere I recommend you visit. After this visit, walk another 10 minutes or so towards south – east and enjoy a nice park along the ocean. Then hop on the monorail and go to an amusement park, which is right across from the beach park and enjoy the rest of your day. Enjoy the hidden secret of Shomyoji and its nearby attractions.

by AustinA

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