Close to Hakone-Itabashi station to the west of Odawara Castle, Korin-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple, with a number of interesting features that make it well worth going out of your way to find.
The whole of the temple grounds are lavishly green, surrounded by forest and planted generously with trees and shrubs. The path from the gate to the main hall is lined with old statues, some of them worn with age or covered in mosses and lichens, as are many of the gravestones in the neighbouring graveyard.
Close to the hall there's a bamboo grove, and here you'll find a small cave, home to a seated Buddha statue. For me, the most interesting part of the temple was another group of statues, Buddhist saints arranged in a circle around a central pagoda. And because visitors to Odawara tend to come only to see the castle, I could enjoy the restful atmosphere in undisturbed peace, the only sounds the birdsong and my own footsteps.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.