The Forest Temple Which Has A Slight Ghibli Feel To It

After countless visits to Izu I really did think we had just about exhausted every possible place worth visiting. However, my wife noticed an advert on the Izu Kyūkō Line trains showing an old temple which looked quite interesting due to its location amidst a forested area, and she was very keen to see it.

We took the train to Izu-Kōgen (IZ06) one morning and from there it was just under 20 minutes on foot to the temple according to the maps app. The first part was all very straightforward but then the road disappeared and the given forest trail was so overgrown that it didn’t seem possible. Luckily there was a Japanese website that explained how to get there so we backtracked a bit and followed the new route.

A few minutes later and Oe-in Temple’s wooden torii gate could be seen in the distance which was something of a surprise as such structures are usually associated with shrines. However, some of the older temples do have torii gates. Admittedly, I was not immediately bowled over by the sight of this temple but that soon changed once we’d passed through the entrance point.

We turned right at the red gate behind the torii and were greeted by the sight of a wonderful mossy green carpet and a beautiful, charming and unique wooden hall surrounded by a variety of different, tall oak trees. The area all had a feeling of being relatively untouched (or certainly unaffected) by humans.

The steps ascending through the trees to the praying hall at the top was a sight to behold too and without a soul in sight it did have a feeling of being like something from a Ghibli film or indeed any other animation. As we climbed the picturesque stone steps, a slight breeze and falling leaves all helped to add to the eerie atmosphere of the place.


This temple is just one of about 14,000 belonging to Sōtō Zen; the largest of three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism. Carpenters from all over Izu were involved in constructing the temple halls in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Check out the huge fallen tree in the background

With no one else around at all we rightly or wrongly (proabably the latter!) let the dog roam freely on the premises.


Little did I know at the time but this place is part of the Izu 88 temple pilgrimage. For the record, Oe-in Temple is number 28 on the list. Three down and just 85 left for me to visit now!!


As we were walking back to the station we came across a place called Dog Forest which was actually just a resort hotel that seems to have closed down.

My wife really loved this place and was even keen to revisit on our subsequent trip to Izu. As nice as it was, once was enough for me and we never did get round to visiting it again but I’m sure we will return on one of our next trips.

  • Soto Zen Oe-in Buddhist Temple is located at 6-1 Yawatano, Shizuoka-ken. It is open 24 hours a day.

Click here to read ‘A Spectactular Sea Cave & Thrill Seeking Sand Sledding!’

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About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
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2 Responses to The Forest Temple Which Has A Slight Ghibli Feel To It

  1. Pingback: Cold Lemon Ramen, A Ghibli-Like Temple, Local Green Cola, Video Cassette Tapes, Spicy Chicken McNuggets & An Awe-Inspiring Sea Cave | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  2. Pingback: Coastal Adventures In Izu: Seaside Parks, Footbaths, Marine Towns, Lakes, Mountains & Big Ramen! | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

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