Erinji Temple

View from the nightingale floor

The Erinji Temple Pays Homage to a Pre-eminent Daimyo

Nestled in the mountain foothills surrounding Koshu City, a wine and grape growing area, finds the Erinji Temple 恵林寺 which is well-known throughout Japan. The temple was founded in 1330 and later rebuilt by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. A fire in 1910 destroyed much of the original building leaving only the red gate as a reminder to bygone days. Significant is a monument and grave of Takeda Shingen a pre-eminent daimyo from a time when Japan was dominated by powerful regional families.

The inside of the temple is particularly well preserved and includes a long corridor with a nightingale floor which when stepped on mimics a chirping bird. This type of flooring I first encountered at the Nijo Castle in Kyoto and were employed as a security device, assuring that none could sneak through the corridors undetected. The gardens surrounding the temple are expectedly delightful as are the enormous sugi Cryptomeria japonica which straddle the grounds.

For such a famous temple the crowds even during the peak obon holiday season were fairly benign and rounding off the package a visit there will only set you back 300 yen.


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