Tucked away on a backstreet, Saifukuji Temple is a hidden gem in the Uonuma region of Niigata. One of the most enjoyable things about a visit here is the difference you'll see when walking the grounds from summer to winter - it's often hard to believe you're in the same place.
The lush greenery and moss covered statues of the warmer months make way for meters of snow in winter, and many of those beautiful trees have to be supported structurally with stakes and posts. The practice is called yukigakoi, or snow protection, and you'll see it in a number of places in winter around this part of Japan.
The grounds of Saifukuji Temple are free to enjoy, but heading inside the temple itself comes with a 500 yen admission fee for adults.
Saifukuji Temple is located approximately thirty minutes on foot from Yairo Station, on the JR Joetsu Line.
Alternatively, there is a parking lot adjacent to the temple itself if you're headed there via private vehicle.
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