Perfectly clear day to escape from Tokyo for a while. About and hour out of town and I’ve found a whole new world to myself. I traveled northwest to the outskirts to a town called Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture. It’s well known for many preserved buildings, temples, and shrines. A few places here date back 1,200 years. The city was also known as a castle town as during the 17 century in the Edo era it was commanded by the lord of nearby Kawagoe Castle. Many of the lanes and avenues in this city are time capsules.
One of the most iconic symbols of this place is the bell tower which tolls 3 times a day. Always something interesting to explore around every corner. Of the places I wandered to, one of the most tranquil was Kitain Temple. This place was built in 830. Within it I found a stone statue garden that has the Buddha and his 500 followers. Serene carvings rest under the shade of trees and low lined wall.
Kitain (北院), or north temple was the home to the Buddhist Priest Tenkai who was an adviser to the first 3 Shoguns of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He was so well respected that when Kitain Temple was severely damaged by fire the third Shogun Itemitsu sent parts of his castle (Edo) castle to this site to replace some of the lost buildings.
For a day’s escape, this town is well worth it. I needed today and a day like this one. It was a great day.
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