On the quiet streets of a residential area near Futako-Tamagawa station, about fifteen minutes west of Shibuya in the suburbs of Tokyo, you'll find a handful of small neighbourhood shrines and temples. These aren't heavily touristed places, rather, these are where you'll see Japanese people drop by to make a prayer or an offering, just as an everyday part of their lives. One of these temples is Minobusan Kanto Betsuin, a lovely place to potter round if you're in the area. (The main local draws are the riverside area and the huge, enjoyable Rise shopping centre.)
For temple-spotters like me, there's plenty to enjoy: a good number of Buddhist statues, large and small, austere and cute; a small but very attractive, peaceful garden, with plenty of shrubs, and some stepping stones across carefully raked gravel; greenery all around, with a wall of bamboo trees at the rear of the temple; and interesting wooden carvings under the eaves of the worship hall, particularly the little diorama with monks or devotees smiling and laughing among themselves.
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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.