At one end of Mariko-no-Sato nature walk in the outskirts of central Shizuoka city, Seigan-ji is a small, attractively unfussy Buddhist temple, a nice place to relax, catch your breath and collect your thoughts after completing the walk (or before starting it).
The temple was founded by Minamoto Yoritomo, first shogun of the Kamakura era, who ruled Japan from 1192 until 1199. It was then rebuilt in the 16th century by Takeda Shingen, a pre-eminent daimyo warlord of the time.
It's home to the grave of Katagiri Katsumoto who, like many other warlords, fell foul of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan for nearly 300 years. Katsumoto is well-known in Japan as the main character in Kiri-hitoha, one of the most popular modern kabuki plays.
The temple is in an attractive setting, surrounded by forested green hills, with plenty of greenery around. There are some charming Buddhist statues in the grounds, and the approach to the worship hall from the impressive gate is subtly imposing, if that's not a contradiction in terms.
You can reach the Mariko district by taking a bus from JR Shizuoka station on the Chubu-kokudo route. The nearest stop to Seigan-ji is called (deep breath) Niken-ya Odatara Fudoson Iriguchi.
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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.