Hakone’s Tonosawa is a hot spring that has long been adored by famous and prominent people. But did you know about Fukuzawa Zeniarai Benten, a small babbling brook that sits above the Tonosawa Station platform? It said that by washing your money here, you’ll improve your luck when it comes to money. I’ll be introducing this spot along with what’s known as the hydrangea temple, Amidaji Temple.
Fukuzawa Zeniarai Benten, located right at Tonosawa Station!
Tonosawa station is the first station on the Hakone Tozan Railway from Hakoneyumoto Station. It’s a small stop that sits between 2 mountains. When it comes to money washing, Kamakura is well known, but surprisingly there is also a spot for it at this station’s platform. Being able to do this right at the station is actually pretty nice.
Wash your money hope for improved fortunes
After paying your respects to the small middle shrine and the rear shrine located in a cave, wash your money in small containers using water from the spring. If you don’t use the money you washed here, then it won’t return to you, so it’s best to make sure you use it.
There are those who will want to take their time visiting the shrine while waiting for the next train, but please be careful not to miss it. If you have time, I recommend washing a 5 JPY coin and then riding the next train.
Ride the mountain train to Amidaji Temple.
The way from Tonosawa Station to Amidaji Temple, located on the mountainside of Tonomine, is either a steep flight of stone steps of or a slightly easier concrete path. Although there are a lot of steps, along the way you’ll be able to see things like moss-covered Buddhist statues, so if you’re interested then give the steeper route a try. This picture is of the main gate on the way up the mountain, with still plenty of steps to go. The wet steps from the previous day’s drizzle and the heavy scent of the forests can be quite relaxing.
Hydrangeas near their peak viewing period
Once Rokujizo comes into view after going up the steps for about 20 minutes, you’re almost at the main temple. Fitting with the nickname hydrangea temple, there are about 3000 hydrangeas in full bloom here from late June to mid-July, making its stone monuments and Buddhist statues look simply gorgeous.
The entranceway of the main temple has a Hyakumanben (million prayer) wheel of Buddhist prayer beads hanging from the ceiling. The wheel is wrapped with prayer beads, and it is said that turning it once is equivalent to chanting to the Heart Sutra 1000 times, so don’t forget to try it.
A temple connected to the House of Tokugawa
The family crest of Amidaji Temple is the 3 leaf hollyhock. It’s a Jodo sect temple which enshrines the mortuary tablet of Princess Kazunomiya, the wife of the 14th Tokugawa shogunate, Iemochi. The chief priest of the temple is Japanese flute master, and depending on the time you may be able to hear him giving a performance.
Hakone when hydrangeas are almost in full bloom. You can see hydrangeas from the Hakone Tozan Railway that are also very beautiful. They bloom from late June until mid-July, so enjoy them together with a tour of Hakone’s “power spots.”
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