Daiyuzan Saijo-ji Temple is located in South Ashigara City up in the mountains of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The temple is surrounded by rich mountainous nature where you’ll find many geta, Japanese traditional wooden slippers, all around the temple. This is indeed where you find the world’s largest geta, which is even bigger than an adult human. The temple has a unique tale that says a long-nose goblin once protected the temple. Let’s find out more about this beautiful yet mysterious mountainous temple up in the mountains of South Ashigara City.
Visit this mysterious temple up in the mountains of South Ashigara
Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple is easily said to be the most unique temple that you can find in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is south of Tokyo up in the mountainous area near Odawara. It is unique because all over the temple, you see and feel the presence of a Japanese mythical creature, tengu, a long-nosed goblin. The temple is located up in a mountain, which already creates mysterious feelings and with the presence of long-nosed goblin statues and numerous Japanese traditional slippers, geta, it is not like any other temple.
Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple is located up in the mountain of South Ashigara, which you can reach by train or car. If you are going there by train, you should travel to JR Odawara Station first, then transfer to Daiyuzan Line and travel for 21 minutes on a train and get off at the nearest train station, Daiyuzan Station. If you are traveling by car from Odawara, it takes about 30 minutes to the temple where it holds 250 parking spaces.
The tale of a long-nosed goblin
A long-nosed goblin, tengu, is a mystical creature in Japanese folk tales. Tengu usually looks like a human with a long nose and a red face. It has ability to fly and has a fan, which can create strong winds. Japanese people believe that tengu live deep in the woods and Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple is the perfect place, which captures the feeling of the existence of tengu.
Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple has over 600 years of history and tengu is said to have significance in the origin of the temple. The temple was founded by a monk called Ryoanenmyo in 1394 and one day his disciple transformed into tengu in order to protect the temple. This legend has been passed on till today and thus, tengu has a very significant role at this temple. When you see the two fine statues of tengu, as well as numerous geta all around temple, you see how meaningful tengu’s existent is at this temple.
The world’s largest Japanese traditional slipper, geta
In modern Japan, most Japanese people wear shoes. However, when Japanese people wear traditional clothes such as kimono, hakama, and yukata, they also wear traditional slippers called geta. When you walk around Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple, you find many of these geta near the main hall. Of all those, you can find the world’s largest geta, which as you see in this picture, are so much bigger than a little child.
In general, geta are made of wood, but the geta found at this temple are made of metal and it is the same for the world’s largest geta. They weigh 3.8 tons and are simply gigantic. In addition to Japanese people wearing geta when they wear traditional clothes, Japanese people always have this image of tengu with bright red geta, so maybe when the night falls, an enormous tengu wears these 3.8 ton geta to wander around the deep woods of South Ashigara City.
Savor the taste of Japanese rice cakes
After visiting the temple, maybe you want to take a break and enjoy the taste of Japan a little bit. At the time of the visit, it was a cold winter’s day in January, so there were small vendors selling something to warm you up. As well as hot drinks and soup, you could also purchase dango, Japanese rice cakes on sticks, to make your journey to this mountain a little more eventful. Because this temple is up in the mountain area, it is generally colder than areas close to the ocean, so you’ll definitely want to come prepared with extra layers during winter and early spring. If you visit in summer, you’ll find it nice and cool since the thick woods surrounding the temple provide nice shade for your visit. Regardless, it is a large temple of 130 hectares and people even visit this temple for hiking, so getting some dango after your visit won’t hurt at all.
Visit this one of a kind temple in deep woods of Japan
If you have visited a various temples in Japan and want to see something different, Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple could be what you are looking for. The mysterious presence of tengu at this temple up in the deep woods makes the temple a lot more interesting and unique. It is also popular for Japanese people because it is the spot where people believe that you can receive special powers upon visiting this temple. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to travel from Tokyo to this temple, so you can take a day trip here. If you have extra time, it is possible to stop at Odawara on the way back to visit the Odawara Castle and grab some good seafood before you return to Tokyo.
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