A classic temple founded by Kobo Daishi 12 centuries ago
Shuzenji Temple, located on a hilltop, holds a significant place in Japanese history and culture. Established in 807 by Kobo Daishi (Kukai), one of japan‘s leading Buddhist monks and the founder of Shingon Buddhism, the temple has stood the test of time for over twelve centuries. Its rich history, tranquil surroundings, and beautiful architecture make it a must-visit destination for those interested in Japanese spirituality and heritage.
The temple’s small museum features shogun Minamoto no Yoriie’s death mask, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and the turbulent events associated with the temple. While Shuzenji is now known for its peaceful ambiance and natural beauty, it was once a center of power struggles and tragedy. During the Kamakura period, warlord Minamoto Yoritomo imprisoned his own brother Noriyori in Shuzenji, who later either committed suicide or was murdered. Additionally, Yoritomo’s brilliant son Yoriie, the second shogun in the line, met a tragic end at the tender age of 23, following orders from his own grandfather.
Despite its historical associations with turmoil, Shuzenji Temple today stands as an icon of the renowned hot springs resort that surrounds it. The temple itself is a Zen Buddhist temple, offering visitors a serene and meditative experience. Those interested in delving deeper into their spirituality can take part in meditation classes held on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. The temple’s calm atmosphere and beautiful surroundings make it the perfect place to unwind and find inner peace.
Shuzenji Onsen, named after the Shuzenji Temple, is a popular attraction in the area. Many of the main attractions are within close reach of the temple, making it a convenient base for exploring the region. One of the highlights is the bamboo forest, where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the peaceful rustling of the bamboo leaves. Shuzenji is also renowned for its traditional craftworks made from bamboo, which make for unique souvenirs to take home. Additionally, beer enthusiasts can visit a craft beer brewery in the vicinity, offering tasting rooms and tours for those who appreciate the art of brewing.
Getting to Shuzenji Temple is relatively easy. It is approximately two and a half hours from Tokyo by train and bus. Buses from Shuzenji Station to nearby Shuzenji Onsen take around 10 minutes, and the temple is just a three-minute walk from the bus stop. Taxis are also available for those who prefer a more convenient mode of transportation.
In conclusion, Shuzenji Temple is a gem that showcases Japan’s rich cultural heritage and spirituality. Founded by Kobo Daishi over 12 centuries ago, the temple has withstood the test of time and continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Its association with historical events adds an intriguing layer of depth to the temple’s narrative, while its serene atmosphere and beautiful surroundings provide a peaceful escape from the bustling city life. Whether one seeks spiritual enlightenment, a deeper understanding of Japanese history, or simply a tranquil retreat, Shuzenji Temple offers an experience that is both enriching and enlightening.
Address And Maps Location:
Shuzenji, Izu-shi, Shizuoka-ken