wisteria and seibu yellow train in chichibu

Nosaka-ji (Nosaka Temple) the 12th stop on the Chichibu 34 temple pilgrimage, 秩父札所十二番 野坂寺.

Nosaka-ji

A few years ago while at Hitsujiyama Park for the moss phlox, my family and I went for a hike in the area. We found this stunning temple on our way. Furthermore, it had beautiful wisteria in bloom and my heart skipped a beat when a yellow train passed as I was taking a photo of it. At that time in my life, I was at a stage when I couldn’t really stop and take decent photos for the blog. All four of my kids were still quite young at the time, so photos were always a rush job. If I ever get the chance I want to go back to Nosaka temple and get a good photo of the wisteria with the Seibu Chichibu yellow train running behind. (As per the featured photo at the very top of the post).

Inside Nosaka-ji Chichibu
Click to enlarge

But the wisteria wasn’t what made this temple special. It is just one of those temple’s that is a pleasure to find. You know the kind that have an aura about them. I don’t know if its officially a “power spot” as they are called in Japan. But I got a very definitive strong positive vibe even approaching the gate of Nosaka-ji. I really liked that the doors of the temple are completely open, so you can get a really good view inside, which is becoming more and more rare in recent years. I took a photo back then, but to be honest I wouldn’t now. I’ve gone quite superstitious about photographing inside a temple or shrine!

Intricate carvings on Nosaka temple ( aka Nosakaji , Nosaka dera, Nosaka-ji ) Chichibu
Click to enlarge

In addition, there is lots to look at and discover on the grounds of the temple. Such as various statues and religious artefacts. And the temple building has some really beautiful and intricate carvings. And a great view from the top of the graveyard on the grounds. Moreover, we found an old secret trail to the top of Hitsujiyama park off to the side of the temple. As well as an old shrine with a beautiful trail made from tree roots:

Interestingly there is very little online, in any language, about the history of this temple, or it could be just that all the recent Google updates have broken the Search Engine Result Pages! The official web page and the Chichibu City website both mention a fire that destroyed the original main gate in 1906. And that it was rebuilt in 1974. But apart from these tidbits, even the “official” sites don’t offer much about the background of the temple. I did find many Japanese language blogs each explain one or other of the different statues and significant religious paraphernalia at the temple. But, one, I don’t know how accurate they are. And two, I’d be here all day going through them all! Regardless, there is plenty to discover on the grounds and its very photogenic too.

Flowers at Nosaka-ji

The wisteria that run by the train tracks are in the car park of the temple. There are even more vines within the grounds of the temple. In addition, colorful shrub is bountiful. There’s plenty of evergreen too. There are also azalea which were coming into bloom when we visited which was around the end of April. Moreover, the avenue leading up to the temple gate is lined with cherry blossoms. They had fresh green on them during our visit. According to the Chichibu 34 temple pilgrimage website the temple also has peach blossoms, hydrangea and lotus.

An avenue of cherry blossoms leading up to Nosaka-ji gate

Lantern Festival

The temple has a large lantern float festival on August 16th annually. Supposedly it is quite famous, but to be honest I only heard about it when inquiring about the temple. But Chichibu has a festival every single day of the year, literally, not just a figure of speech! So it is hard to keep up with them all! Some are smaller than others. It sounds like this is one of the bigger ones though.

From the temple’s official web page on the Chichibu “fudasho” temple pilgrimage website

Information

Address:2 Chome-12-25 Nosakamachi, Chichibu, Saitama 368-0033
Phone:+81494221608
Hours:None specified
Cost:A contribution in the prayer box
Online:Official web page on the Chichibu pilgrimage site

Access

The Seibu Railway’s train tracks run right by the temple’s car park, but the nearest station – Seibu Chichibu Station – is about a ten to fifteen minute walk away. During the period of the shibazakura festival in adjacent Hitsujiyama park, there is a bus that goes relatively nearby, from Ohanabatake station on the Chichibu Railway line also.

Free parking for about 20 cars.

5 Comments

  1. This is one of my favourites too! It has a whole series of wooden carvings of Shakasama in a room just to the left of the main gate, and the lotus flowers are gorgeous too.

    1. Author

      I don’t think I saw them – yet another reason to go back and visit again 🙂 Thank you

  2. In fact, it is the twelfth temple on the 34 Kannon pilgrimage, and my favourites are all the temples that are multiples of four! Just by chance. Temple 8 for example has the 600 year old maple tree, and Temple 16 has the oldest surviving wooden structure in Chichibu, built in 1234, and an interesting series of Kannon figures all round the back which are replica of the figures on the Shikoku pilgrimage, and Temple 20 has a beautiful garden. Everyone loves Temple 4 too, for its over 1000 stone statues.

    1. Author

      I haven’t done the pilgrimage yet, but I hope to one day. Thanks for all these wonderful tips D, it has made me excited for the next time I get up to Chichibu. I just read your post about temple 8 – I can see why it is one of your favourites.

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