A close-up of the Buddha's serene posture and face (Photo: Peter Sidell)

Zengan-ji Temple in Utsunomiya

A restful temple with a historical Buddha statue

Peter Sidell   - 1 min read

Close to the Tagawa River about ten minutes' walk from JR Utsunomiya station, Zengan-ji is a peaceful Buddhist temple, little-visited compared with the city's main attraction of Futaarayama Shrine.

It's a little out of the way, but you can stop by if you're walking between the station and Utsunomiya-joshi Park, where you can see the remains of the city's former castle.

The main point of interest is a three-and-a-half meter seated Buddha statue cast from copper, dating back to 1735, meditating in the open air on top of a simple stone shrine. An English sign explains how three soybeans helped the local priest raise funds to have the statue cast.

There are some other familiar features to this temple: raked gravel to contemplate and a stone lantern to admire in the garden, more statues in the precinct and graveyard, and a fierce-looking carved wooden dragon, coiled and ready to swoop down from under the eaves of the main worship hall.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.