The likes of Osu Kannon, Nittaiji, Koshoji and Banshoji may be the more famous and popular temples of Nagoya but they didn’t really hold any interest for me. As per usual I was interested to locate some unique and slightly quirky ones in Japan’s fourth largest city and here are three of them…
1. Shugen-ji Temple @ 1-3 Wakakusadori, Kasugai – Walk down the old-fashioned shopping street north of the station and you will soon see a shop on your right with a life-size Spider-Man on it. There’s a Jack Sparrow mannequin too. Take the side street next to that shop and an 18 metre statue, which has been around since 1955, will suddenly appear to your left down a very narrow lane.
Access: 6 minutes on foot from Kachigawa Station on the Chūō Main Line or Jōhoku Line.
2. Hechimayakushitoju Temple @ 2-8-15 Higashisakura, Higashi-ku – It looks a very ordinary temple from the outside but venture inside and you’ll see a load of loofahs hanging above the purification water basin. The story goes that about 250 years ago, the priest of this temple had a painful stomachache. Unbelievably a god appeared in his dream and told him the secret of prayers was a loofah! He followed the orders and was subsequently cured. Due to the story, many other people buy loofahs (on sale at the temple) and dedicate them in the hope of being healed.
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Takaoka Station on the Sakura-dōri Line.
3. Daijokyo @ 4-7 Sotodoicho, Atsuta-ku – The Tokaido and Meitetsu Lines go right past this temple and that is how I came to know of it. A big white elephant stands with great presence close to the rail track and can easily be seen from the window of the train shortly after leaving or arriving in Nagoya. Having seen it a few times from the train, I was curious about this Indian-style temple so went to check it out. It was erected in commemoration of it’s 60th anniversary, and is 10 metres tall.
Access: 11 minutes on foot from Kanayama Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line or Chūō Main Line; 13 minutes on foot from Atsuta Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line; or 11 minutes on foot from Nishi Takakura Station on the Meijō Line.
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