The area of Higashiyamato City is headlined by the stunning nature of Lake Tama, but within its bedroom community borders lies a series of local temples and shrines that offer both real cultural and historical heritage. Here is an introduction to some of the temples and shrines of Higashiyamato and how to reach them.
Thought to date back to at least the late 14th century, Enjoin Temple features an amazing mid-18th century bell tower, a huge sanmon entrance gate as well as a nio statue standing guard that appears ready to tear heads off by the look of him. Intricately landscaped, the grounds feature scores of jizo statues watching over those who enter.
A 10-minute walk from Musashi-Yamato Station on the Seibu Tamako Line.
Immediately off the road sits Sayama Shrine. While many local shrines suggest an unadorned piety, this one stands out like a rock of stricture. Perhaps it's the stone wall construction at the ground's entrance or the raised profile of the main building itself (complete with fantastic wood detailing), but this shrine has a definite ambience.
A 9-minute walk from Musashi-Yamato Station on the Seibu Tamako Line.
A surprising discovery, Toyokashima Shrine is thought to be the only main shrine remaining in Tokyo with a nagare-zukuri sloping roof design built in the 15th century. Accordingly, the shrine's main building has been registered as a Tangible Cultural Property of Tokyo while the shrine's wooden komainu statues are city registered.
A 6-minute drive from Kamikitadai Station on the Tama Monorail Line.
Zoshiki Umujima Shrine
One of a number of similar shrines located within the verdant nature of the Sayama Green Space, Zoshiki Umujima Shrine is classic Japanese rustic, beautifully unsophisticated and utterly local. A set of steep steps takes visitors to a small wooden shrine building where the surrounding silence offers echoes of an ancient piety.
A 15-minute walk from Kamikitadai Station on the Tama Monorail Line.