Absolutely Art! Incredibly Beautiful “Kirie Goshuin ” in Yokoze Town
Absolutely Art! Incredibly Beautiful “Kirie Goshuin ” and Zen Meditation Experience at Temples. Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Yokoze Town – Clear Streams, Satoyama, and Starry Skies!
Yokoze Town, just about 80 minutes away by express train from Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station, is located in the western part of Saitama Prefecture. This town offers a variety of seasonal landscapes, ensuring you’ll find new discoveries and moments of relaxation no matter which season you visit. Whether it’s cherry blossoms, terraced rice fields, autumn foliage, or icicles, Yokoze Town has something to offer in every season.
In this guide, we will introduce you to some highly unique Goshuin stamps that have been gaining attention and temple experiences Yokoze Town. So, take a short trip from Tokyo and embark on a journey where you can enjoy the beauty of Japan’s natural landscapes while leisurely strolling and unwinding.
Absolutely Beautiful! Let’s Go Find “Kirie Goshuin”
In Yokoze Town, there are many temples and pilgrimage sites. Interestingly, out of the 100 Kannon (Buddhist deity of mercy) pilgrimage sites known as “Japan’s 100 Kannon,” 34 of them are scattered throughout the Chichibu area. People have grown fond of visiting these sites on the “Chichibu Temple Pilgrimage.”
Temple pilgrimages have been a cultural practice in Japan for a long time, known for soothing the heart and providing inner peace. Recently, the purposes of these pilgrimages have diversified, including promoting health, enjoying hiking, and collecting Goshuin (temple stamps or seals) for good fortune. More people are casually participating in these pilgrimages for various reasons.
Among these, what’s quietly gaining attention from those who collect Goshuin stamps is the “Kirie Goshuin(Paper Cutting style Goshuin),” which is available at temples and pilgrimage sites in Yokoze Town. These Goshuin are like works of art.
The first place we visited on this journey was Chichibu Fudasho Number 10, Mt.Banshouzan Daijiji Temple.
At the entrance of the main hall, there’s the “Obinzuru-sama (Rubbing Buddha),” believed to cure illnesses when you rub the statue. It’s said that by alternating rubbing between your own afflictions and Obinzuru-sama, the Buddha will take on your ailments. This temple served as the setting for the anime “The Anthem of the Heart,” and you’ll find amulets and ema (wooden wishing plaques) related to the anime as well.
In fact, there is a special Goshuin (temple stamp) available here. You may have heard of Goshuin before. In Yokoze Town, you can obtain “Kirie (paper cutting)” Goshuin that resemble beautiful pieces of art.
Here, you’ll find a Kirie Goshuin featuring the design of the “Married Couple Dragons” (Meoto Ryuu), and if you look closely, it appears as though the dragons are forming a heart shape. It is believed to bring blessings for love and romantic fulfillment.
In Yokoze Town, you can find such rare Kirie Goshuin at 8 temples. While enjoying the changing natural scenery throughout the seasons, why not take a leisurely stroll in the peaceful Yokoze Town?
Goshuin are distributed at 8 temples in Yokoze Town.
Reception hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (with a lunch break from 12:00 PM to 12:30 PM, times may vary between temples).
Goshuin Price: 1,000 yen per stamp.
You can also find a walking map (Japanese version) for Yokoze Town’s Goshuin pilgrimage on the following page.
Experience zen meditation, Sutra copying, and Mokugyo drumming at the temple.
At Mt.Banshouzan Daijiji Temple, which we have visited this time, you can experience zen meditation, sutra copying, and Mokugyo (a fish-shaped wooden drum) drumming (reservation required).
This is recommended for those who want to go beyond just visiting and delve deeper into Japanese culture. In a different environment than your usual surroundings, try this special experience where you can relax in tranquility. You may encounter sounds and resonances you’ve never heard before, and it could lead you to a different state of mind. Let’s enjoy your trip to Japan to the fullest.
For more details about “Chichibu Fudasho Number 10, Mt.Banshouzan Daijiji Temple,” please visit the following website.
The Scenic Beauty and Local Flavors of Yokoze Town Surrounded by Nature
Throughout the seasons, Yokoze Town offers magnificent natural landscapes and experiences. Whether you visit in spring, summer, autumn, or winter, Yokoze Town has something special waiting for you. Starting with cherry blossoms in spring, clear stream fishing and terraced fields with breathtaking views in summer, colorful autumn leaves, and winter ice formations, each season welcomes you with delightful scenery.
During my recent visit, I had the chance to enjoy the relaxing summer scenery of Satoyama and taste the seasonal flavors.
First, I explored the expansive “Terasaka rice terrace,” which are registered as a Japanese terraced heritage. With an overall area of approximately 5.2 hectares, it is one of the largest terraced fields in Saitama Prefecture. Set against a backdrop of mountains like Mt. Buko, it offers fantastic views. In summer, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, and in autumn, you can enjoy the golden rice fields and vermilion spider lilies, each season presenting a unique countryside landscape.
For more details about “Terasaka rice terrace,” please visit the following website.
Furthermore, from mid-August to November, you can enjoy grape picking, including popular varieties like Shine Muscat, along with various other freshly harvested flavors. Depending on the season, you can also engage in a variety of experiences such as strawberry picking, sweet potato digging, insect collecting, and river activities.
For more details about “Grape Picking in Chichibu, Yokoze Town,” please visit the following website.
In addition, there are other activities that can help you unwind, such as “trout fishing,” “soba noodle making experience,” trekking in Mt. Buko, which is designated as one of Japan’s 200 famous mountains, and day trips to hot springs.
Yokoze Town’s Specialty “Zuriage Udon”
Enjoy it with your preferred seasoning!
If you happen to visit Yokoze Town, make sure to try the local specialty, “Zuriage Udon.”
Interestingly, this udon doesn’t come with broth. The way you enjoy it is entirely up to you – just mix boiled water with soy sauce, add your favorite condiments and toppings to savor it as you like.
Don’t hesitate to give it a try when you’re in Yokoze Town. Rest assured, there’s a detailed guide on how to enjoy it.
Furthermore, Yokoze Town offers a variety of local gourmet dishes prepared with fresh ingredients that are exclusive to the region. Be sure to enjoy them as well.
How do you fell about this trip ?
A trip to Yokoze Town will undoubtedly be a journey that provides relaxation for both your mind and body. When you extend your journey just a bit from Tokyo, you’ll discover a place where you can truly unwind both mentally and physically.