One of the great things about Japan is that you will often discover countless hidden gems in the least likely of places. This is something which happened last spring when either by curiosity or sheer chance, I stumbled across Joenji Temple when making my way to Yokosuka’s popular Ume-no-Sato, (Plum Blossom Park). Although situated along a busy main road, Joenji is discretely tucked away at the top of a steep slope which you could easy miss if not for a series of bright red markers.
Originally founded in the 16th Century, Joenji belongs to the Nichiren Sect of Buddhism and houses a large sutra (its principle object of worship), within its main hall. In the courtyard outside is a picturesque garden which is especially worth visiting during early spring where you can see many colorful plum blossoms coming into bloom providing a tranquil escape from the bustling neighborhood below.
Joenji can be reached from JR Taura Station where you need to head north and follow the Yokosuka Highway (横須賀街道) for about 10 minutes until you reach a large railroad bridge. From here, look for this temple which sits on a high embankment overlooking some train tracks where the JR Yokosuka Line passes through