Staying in Shizuoka one time for the Daidogei street performance festival, I went on a day trip to explore the outlying area of Utsunoya. There's a hiking trail, and a row of old merchants' houses and a tunnel dating back to the area's time as a staging post on the old Tokaido highway, but I started, as is my wont, from this quiet Buddhist temple.
It's very peaceful, surrounded by greenery, the red bibs on the Buddhist statues and the nearby red bridge the only colour in the neighbourhood. Look up as you stand at the otherwise austere prayer hall and you'll see an impressive carving of a dragon; there are also some venerable stone statues in a side hall, as well as a couple of more modern ones by an imposing grave marker.
To reach Utsunoya, take a bus on the Chubu-Kokudo route from Shizuoka station, and get off at the Utsunoya-Iriguchi bus stop, about a 30-minute ride. The old houses and temple are a few minutes' walk from the bus stop.
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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.