The Shoden-in Temple traces its history back 1300 years ago during a tumultous period in the Korean peninsula, when a large number of refugees came to Japan and were welcomed by the Japanese Imperial Court. They were led by an envoy named Jakko. Records detail how the refugees from all over Japan were gathered and given their own homestead in what is now known as Koma in Hidaka, Saitama. When Jakko died, Koma Shrine was built in his memorial and Shoden-in Temple to mark his grave. The temple is less famous but more visually impressive than the shrine. It sits on the side of the hill and from the main temple's courtyard, you get a view of Hidaka City. In the first three days of the New Year (and sometimes a little bit longer than that), admission is free.
From Ikebukuro Station, take the Seibu Ikebukuro Line to Hanno and change to the Seibu Chichibu Line local train and get off at Koma Station. Shoden-in Temple is about a 35 minute walk from the station. Or from Shinjuku Station, take the JR Saikyo Line to Kawagoe and change to the JR Kawagoe Line. Get off at Komagawa Station. The temple is about a 20 minute from Komagawa Station and you are also more likely to get taxis from this station than at Koma. Driving is also an option but note that parking might be difficult during the first week of the new year.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.