Japan · Outside

Shomyoji Temple of Yokohama

This morning Hubby and I decided to hop on a train bound for Kanazawa-bunko in order to visit Shomyoji, a Buddhist Temple with beautiful gardens and hiking paths.

Apparently, Shomyoji has been rather hidden from the world since its establishment in 1260. It is a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, and we had to walk down back roads and residential streets before arriving at the entrance.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. And as I often quote, “the joy is in the journey”.

As we were headed towards Shomyoji, one of the homes we passed took us completely by surprise. The elderly owner of this vibrant garden was outside tending to his flowers, and he was happy to let us photograph the glorious results of his labors.

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And I couldn’t resist taking a photo of another house that sported a roof resembling dragon scales.

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We also discovered that some resourceful individual uses a rain bucket that doubles as a tiny fish pond. Cute!

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Finally, after cresting a small hill, we arrived at the front gate to Shomyoji which frames a beautiful cherry blossom archway.

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At night, the lit lanterns lining the walkway provide incredible ambience to this dream-like scene.

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The ground is so covered by cherry blossom petals that it almost resembles snow!

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I fell in love with this quaint little tea house café on the side of the walkway. I think it would be a great addition to “the Shire” in a Japanese-style Lord of the Rings!

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A little further down the walkway is a beautifully maintained cemetery where family graves are traditionally used to house the ashes of departed loved ones.

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At the end of the walkway is a large gatehouse with two imposing statues inside.  Do you see the bridge in the background?

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Once through the final gate, the surrounding grounds open to reveal a lovely park.

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Once on the other side of the bridge, its elegant craftsmanship becomes even more apparent. I would love to have a replica in my backyard!

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The pond turtles don’t seem to have an appreciation for fine architecture, but they’re loving the sunshine!

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I suppose that no man is an island, but this turtle certainly is…

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But this wee fellow hasn’t decided yet what he wants to accomplish in life (he’s not all that much bigger than the cherry blossom petals in the water).

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And what Japanese pond is complete without koi?

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Sorry, wildlife distracts me…onward to the temple!

The Shomyoji Temple is impressive, and the inside is nothing short of opulent! (Sorry, no inside photos allowed.)

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The auxiliary temple is smaller, but has an awesome thatched roof!

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And a Buddah statue.

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These ruffle-edged flowers are stunning!

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This small, hidden building is also nestled on the temple grounds.

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The front doors were open just wide enough for me to appreciate the neat row of shoes lined up in the entryway.

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In an obscure corner of the park, abutting the forest, we found a steep stone stairway.

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Of course, we had to climb it!

We were led to a small cemetery with stone statues…and MORE steps (in the background).

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Those steps led to an even smaller cemetery with another Buddah-type statue.

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And, you guessed it, even MORE steps…

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We found some beautiful tie-dye flowers along the way!

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And of course, more steps. Shocking, I know…

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However, after huffing up 298 steps, we realized that the breathtaking view was totally worth it!

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We came across a baby walkingstick who thought he could catch a free ride down the mountain!

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We didn’t go back the way we had come, but followed other winding, stepped paths.

In a clearing we spotted a rustic cabin where I would like to spend my retirement.

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We made our way through a tunnel…

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And returned exactly where we had hoped!

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Today was a delightfully enjoyable adventure, even if my “step-climbing” muscles disagree!

 

 

 

 

 

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