Hakone's Hidden Wonder: My Favourite Temple in Japan
Daiyuzan Saijo-ji is a breathtaking Buddhist temple that was built more than 615 years ago. Although it is still frequented by devout worshipers from all across Japan, it remains one of the less talked about magnificent places in Kanagawa Prefecture. This is probably due to the fact that Daiyuzan Saijo-ji is obscurely located in the mountain forests of Odawara's Hakone - but trust me, that's all the more reason you should visit. No matter how many times I go, it remains one of the most impressive places I've ever been to.
The path leading to the temple is surrounded by an ancient grove of towering cedar trees (allergy sufferer's beware) that cast otherworldly shadows across the sprawling temple grounds. Legend has it, the assistant to the founder is said to have been turned into an eternal caretaker in the form of a goblin, which is why you'll be astounded by the numerous statues of goblins and goblin related items at the temple.
Words can do no justice to how marvelous Daiyuzan Saijo-ji is. Whether you enjoy temple hunting, hiking, or taking photographs - Daiyuzan Saijo-ji will simply blow you away.
And if you happen to love beer, then you can always hit the nearby Asahi Brewery for a free beer tour!
Without a car, it's not the easiest location to reach - but not impossible. I guarantee the trip will be worth it, though.
Kanagawa Prefecture, Minamiashigara, Daiyucho, 1157
Former Deep Japan Writer