Initially I had information for Tokushoji tucked away as bonus content in the Enomoto Farm post. However, I have since visited the temple a couple of times and accumulated dozens of photos! Moreover, the floral fonts the temple added in 2021 have attracted more interest in the temple. Hence, it gets a post all of its own!
I stumbled across the temple while visiting Enomoto farm in winter of 2020. At that time there were no floral fonts. There were a couple of quirky things about the temple that I thought would be of interest. But not enough to give it a post of its own. However, with the addition of the floral fonts, its drawn interest from photographers and Instagrammers.
The temple is in a rural area of Ageo. The location was chosen for its view of Mt Fuji (in the distance). And also for the view of Mt Asama and Akagi in the North and the Chichibu Mountain range and Arakawa (river) in the West. There is a very popular cycling course along this stretch of the Ara River. Moreover, it is just across the road from the excellent Enomoto Farm.
The temple is relatively picturesque, nothing extraordinary though. However, there are a couple of eccentricities and allures on the temple grounds. Moreover, in 2021 the addition of the floral fonts and photo spot have boosted interest in and visitors to the temple.
I had visited this temple as recently as Christmas week 2020 and there were no floral fonts there. Judging by social media posts, it seems to be a new attraction at the temple. The ones I fortuitously stumbled upon over Valentine’s weekend were especially for Valentine’s. I didn’t get to see it myself, but they lit up the display with candles in bamboo at night.
There is a large Kaya tree, Torreya nucifera, on the grounds. Wikipedia tells me a Kaya tree is a slow-growing coniferous tree native to Japan and Jeju island. The Kaya tree at Tokushoji is about 22 meters tall. It is said to be between 700 and 800 years old. It is a designated natural monument of Saitama Prefecture.
Before the floral fonts came along the elephant was possibly the highlight of the temple for Instagrammers anyway. It certainly intrigues me. Its on a platform which seems to be on wheels. Beside it there is a Buddha on a lotus flower beside it too. And when I was there at the weekend there was a larger Buddha statue lying horizontally. They seemed to be laying a foundation to erect it.
Out the back of the temple in a small bamboo forest there is an intriguing shrine, Inari Daimyojin. It is positioned over a grave. Moreover, the only way in and out of the shrine is using a ladder! There is a little balcony from where you can stand and pray. Every time I have visited the ladder has been moved away from the entrance of the shrine. I wonder if you need to request to climb up there. There’s my excuse for another visit!
Fudo Myo-o and dragon’s head
There is a small bamboo ‘forest’, more like a wood really, to the West of the temple. It is beside, behind, the car park. There is an intriguing ditch in the foreground of the wood. And just behind it a Fudo Myo-o statue practically hidden in the bamboo. It was quite tricky to access it, but they seem to be working on a clearing. There is also a (presumably) dragon’s head there too! It looks like it was once used as a water fountain.
I hadn’t intended to visit the temple on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. But on Saturday as we drove past it to get to the farm, I noticed a plum blossom out front. While the kids were petting guinea pigs and playing with the Instafamous cats of Enomoto farm, I took a quick side trip to photograph the plum blossom. Thanks to that I came across the beautiful floral fonts.
|Address:||751 Azeyoshi, Ageo, Saitama 362-0065|
|Hours:||9 am to 5 pm.|
It opens late for seasonal events.
By car, it is a little tricky by car, but nowadays Google maps does a good job of direction. There is a large car park to the West of the car park. There is a little Ageo city loop bus “gurutto-kun” that passes nearby. You can also get a Tobu bus from the west entrance of Ageo Station bound for Nishiageo bus depot via Azeyoshi 「畔吉経由西上尾車庫行き」. Alight at Azeyoshi bus stop.
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