Seiken-ji Temple in Shizuoka

A historic temple with beautiful grounds and gardens

 By Peter Sidell   Mar 1, 2017

Between Shimizu and Okitsu stations in the suburbs of Shizuoka, Seiken-ji is definitely worth making the effort to get to. It's an ancient Buddhist temple, believed to have been founded in the 7th century, in a tranquil wooded setting along the historic Tokaido highway.

On a hillside in the grounds there are hundreds of statues of Buddhist saints and deities, worn and weathered with age, making this a very pleasant place to stroll around slowly. Enter the handsome wooden buildings, and you can see the beautifully preserved prayer halls and reception rooms, the vivid reds and purples contrasting attractively with the wood and tatami fixtures.

From a passage at the rear of the interior, you can look out over an exquisitely landscaped Zen garden, laid out hundreds of years ago and unchanged ever since, except that the saplings planted back then have grown into trees. Standing in this venerable building and taking in the timeless scenery, I could feel both the centuries of history and the serenity for which this temple was designed.

Photography by Peter Sidell
Japan Travel Partner

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