Daikei-ji Temple in Fujieda

An important temple with unique carvings

 By Peter Sidell   Mar 9, 2017

In the western suburbs of Shizuoka city, Fujieda is an appealing historical town, and because of its position on the old Tokaido highway between Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto, it has many more interesting sights than plenty of larger towns.

Among the sights is Daikei-ji, one of a cluster of Buddhist temples along the local stretch of the Tokaido, which has a good number of interesting features. The most immediately noticeable is the Kuon-no-Matsu, a 700-year-old pine tree that measures 25 meters high, towering over the grounds; it was planted by holy priest Nichiren, founder of the important Nichiren school of Buddhism.

I also enjoyed the various wooden carvings around the grounds. There's a set of four painted panels showing animals on storm-tossed seas, then under the eaves of the main hall I found some exquisitely detailed dioramas; birds in trees with every leaf painstakingly defined, and a very fun scene with a bunch of figures who I assume are Buddhist deities or saints, all looking out towards the viewer as if they're posing for a group photo.

Photography by Peter Sidell
Japan Travel Partner

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