Joukyou-ji Temple in Utsunomiya

A peaceful temple with some unusual statues

By Peter Sidell    - 1 min read

If you're in Utsunomiya and visiting its main sight, the impressive hilltop shrine of Futaarayama, then you might also pop into this neighbouring Buddhist temple. It's just a small place, but it's attractively green and peaceful, and around the main hall and in the graveyard you'll find a population of interesting statues.

Some of them are traditional Buddhist figures, ancient and serene; while in the graveyard between the entrance gate and worship hall, there are six plump, semi-abstract statues arranged in a crescent on pedestals, looking to me more like modern art than properly reverent grave markers.

Then if you head round to the rear of the main hall, you'll find a compact garden, with a small pond and an early-blooming cherry-blossom tree, according to the friendly woman I found working there. And if you're there at the right time, you might catch one of their events or occasional yoga classes.

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Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.