Hozoji TempleThis temple is said to have been founded in 701 by a priest named Gyoki. Located east of central Okazaki near Motojuku station, the temple is close to the old highway route that linked the imperial capitals of Nara (when Hozoji was constructed) and then Kyoto with Okazaki and the east of Japan.
How to get there:
By public transportation: Take the Meitetsu Line from Okazaki to Motojuku, get out to the right side. Cross the street and look for the Coco convenience store. Turn left at the store and walk down that road. The temple is located on the right side of the street. Walking from the train station to the temple will take you about 10 minutes.
By car: Follow route 1 from Okazaki to Toyohashi until Motojuku. Turn right when you come up to the Coco convenience store. Then follow the same instructions as for walking.
Dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war, this shrine became a guardian shrine for the Matsudaira family. Tokugawa Ieyasu's powerful great-grandfather, Matsudaira Chikatada, is believed to have relocated this shrine from Mie. It was visited to pray for victories in war and for the survival and prosperity of the descendants. Despite being dedicated to a war deity, the shrine is peaceful and beautiful, particularly when the iris are blooming. Most of the current buildings are national important cultural properties, and were built by Ieyasu's grandson, Tokugawa Iemitsu. The architecture is stunning and the ornamentation beautiful.
Location Daijuji is one of the major historical sites of Okazaki. Founded in 1475 the temple contains many items of cultural significance and is high on the list of cultural attractions of the city. Daijuji Temple is most famous in Japanese history by its connection with Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616).
Meitetsu Daijuji bus. 8 min. walk from the Daijuji bus stop (tel. 21-3917).
10 minutes by car or taxi from Higashi Okazaki train station along route 248.
About 25min by bicycle from Higashi Okazaki station north along Route 248. At the crossroads with the 5m gorilla on the roof (impossible to miss) turn right. It's indicated.
How to get there:
Myoudaiji-mimitori 44, Tel: 51-2930
The shrine is about a 5-minute walk from Meitetsu Higashi Okazaki Station.
Takisanji and Takisan Toshoguhe foundation of Takisanji dates back to the 7th century when it was constructed on imperial orders. The current temple is a reconstruction from the Kamakura period, and the Main hall (where the Fire Festival takes place each February), Sanmon gate and the Goddess of Mercy are designated as national important cultural properties. The roof of the main hall and the magnificent Sanmon gate are particularly striking. Next to Takisanji is a shrine built in 1646 by Tokugawa Iemitsu and dedicated to his grandfather Ieyasu. This shrine is considered to be one of the top 3 Toshogu style shrines in Japan, the other two being at Nikko and Kunozan. The Main Hall, the Hall of Worship, the Nakamon Gate and the Torii Gate are all designated as national important cultural properties.
How to get to Takisanji:
From Higashi Okazaki north along Route 248, at the crossroads with the 5m gorilla on the roof turn right - the same crossroads as going for Daijuji. Follow that street past Daijuji and the Prefectural Multi-purpose Athletic Ground. From Daijuji it's about 25min by bicycle. A nice ride with convenience stores along the street for the hungry and thirsty.
Okutono JinyaA Jinya was the name usually given to a headquarters (barracks) of a small landlord. Throughout the shogunate, the key currency unit was a measure of rice called koku (or goku depending on the reading) which was approximately 180 kilograms (396 pounds) of rice. The value of a feudal domain (and the taxes due from it) depended upon how much rice the domain could grow. Only a landlord with a domain exceeding 30,000 goku was allowed to build a castle (and only one per domain), and some landholdings were extremely large. Okutono Jinya was the headquarters of the Okutono branch of the important Ogyu Matsudaira family - one of the main relatives of the ancestral family of the Tokugawa. However the territory of the Okutono branch never exceeded 16,000 goku. Built by Matsudaira Morizane in 1711 it was governed until 1863 by the heads of the family for seven generations for the next 152 years. At one stage Okutono Jinya contained many different kinds of buildings. Apart from the main structure, there was a shoin style drawing room, a residence for the feudal lord, the local government office, a study, a training room, residences for the local administrators among a total of 33 buildings.
One of the first rooms you enter is a small armoury. Here are weapons including spears, halberds and various swords. The Jinya was a place of local government, and as with all government at the time it was military. There are also some displays introducing some of the famous members of the Okutono Matsudaira clan including Gengensai, an 11th degree master of one of the largest Japanese tea ceremony schools - Ura Senke (hence the emphasis placed on tea when visiting the Jinya), Nagai Naoyuki - the founder of the Japanese navy, and Matsudaira Norikata who was the last feudal lord of the Jinya and the founder of the former body of the Japan Red Cross. Also available for public view (permanent display) are the local clan records and valuable materials about the history of Okutono Jinya. In a separate building, there are also exhibits of some of the handmade fireworks for which Okazaki remains famous The main attraction though is the beautiful moss garden (called Hourai-no-niwa), the carp swimming in the ponds and the modern flower garden.
In May, there is a rose exhibition in the flower garden. Ideal for a romantic walk with your beloved - they have roses from all over the world, incl. the Red Devil, Ingrid Bergmann, Oklahoma and many more. The garden is surrounded by plum trees. The air is refreshingly clean.
How to get there:
By car: Go north on the Route 248, almost up to Toyota. At the crossroads with 39, turn right.
By bus: Okutono Jinya is reachable by bus from Higashi Okazaki station and JR Okazaki station.
ShinpukujiShinpukuji is the oldest temple in Aichi and one of the oldest in Japan as it was first built in the 6th century. Being one of the oldest temples around, it receives a lot of attention and lately has been getting somewhat touristy. The infrastructure has been updated to reflect that.
The actual temple is in the back of the area. The gate below is the entrance to the whole area. On the way to the temple you can catch a glimpse of a giant Buddha statue.
Shinpukuji - homepage at http://www.shinpukuji.com/ (Japanese only)
How to get there:
By car: The journey should take in total about 25-30 minutes form Higashi Okazaki station. The easiest access is from the Okazaki intersection or the Toyota intersetion of the Toukai highway. Please follow the instructions given on the Shinpukuji homepage here: http://www.shinpukuji.com/annaizu.html
MyogenjiThis temple is believed to have the oldest hall of the Shin sect in the Mikawa region, known as the Yanagi-do. It is considered to be a superb example of Kamakura period architecture and is an important national cultural property. The temple was built in 1258 and contains the tombs of several Tokugawa warriors and the famous scientist Dr. Honda Kotaro.
At the time of the Ikko riot, this temple sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu who is traditionally said to have taken refuge in the temple.
Close to Nishi Okazaki station.
TenonnjiLocated in Nukata-cho.
Tenonji was built by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu late in the 14th century.
U.S. military forces are prohibited from entering the temple grounds.
The temple grounds are dedicated to peace in the world, symbolized amongst others through the "May Peace Prevail on Earth" message in four languages (Japanese, French, English and Spanish) and the rather unusual pigeon statues on the corners of the bell tower roof. Usually there are Komainu statues guarding the temple. Pigeons are a traditional symbol of peace in the Western world, an image taken from the Bible.
1-2-1 Hanehigashi-machi, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, JAPAN 444-0832
Tel: +81 (0)564 55 8112 Fax: +81 (0)564 55 8174 Email: info [at] mikawa [dot] cc