One of my favourite features of Japan are the countless spiritual & peaceful temples, shrines and gardens. During my stay here in Gunma I have found a very special Temple called Kichijoji in Kawaba, located very close to Oze National Park Katashina.
I stepped out of the car at Kichijoji Temple, into the humid summer heat with the sound of the buzzing cicadas. Immediately I was intrigued by the large field of blooming lotus flowers in front of me. We entered through the gate and wandered through this flower temple in complete tranquility. Kichijoji, erected in 1339, is renowned for its many flowers, having more than 100 different plants.
Right next to the gate of Kichijoji Temple is a pine tree that is designated as the prefecture’s natural treasure. This ‘Himekomatsu’ (Princess Pine) is 22m high and has a diameter of 3.8, it is estimated to be as old as 300 years.
It is possible to walk to the top of the gate which houses 16 Rakan (statues). These statues represent human beings that became Buddhas through intensive training. As a result these 16 golden statues symbolise a path between this world and heaven.
Furthermore, Kichijoji has many different sculptures and statues – small & big. The temple area houses a Japanese Rock Garden, also called Zen Garden, which has been beautifully arranged to represent ripples in water. As you are gazing at the picturesque sight of this Buddhist temple from the main hall you can enjoy real Matcha (powdered green tea) with a small traditional sweet for 500 yen.
This sacred place is accessible by bus from Numata Station. From Katashina it is a 26km drive through a beautiful landscape of mountains and rice fields (26km). I recommend a visit to Kichijoji – a magnificent Buddhist temple that radiates a very soothing and harmonious spirit.
Open 9:00 – 17:00
500 yen entrance fee