- 2 min read

Enpuku-ji in Uonuma, Niigata

An old, atmospheric temple in the Echigo rice fields

Discussing my plans to take some friends to Uonuma's famous temples of Saifuku-ji and Eirin-ji, I was advised to check out Enpuku-ji as well. It is only open for viewing from mid-May until mid-October but I was assured that if we were looking for a pretty, atmospheric temple where you could feel the spiritual side of Japan, Enpuku-ji, even if closed, was worth a stop. We wouldn't get to see any of its treasures or the inside of the temple during our November trip but it was a beautiful stop none-the-less.

It is just off R17 and the sign is easy to miss if you are not looking out for it. Drive through the rice fields and it is situated on a small slope. The whole temple is surrounded by towering, old cedars and with the gloom of an overcast, rainy day it was certainly atmospheric. Even more so given that it is shut for winter, there is no one around to sweep up the autumn leaves and everything is wrapped up to protect it from the heavy winter snow. We found ourselves tiptoeing around in silence. There are stone paths covered in moss around the courtyard, weaving in and out of ponds. It is a really tranquil place and definitely on the list of places to go when it opens again in spring.