The pace in Yokohama is much different from other areas of Japan. Visitors might notice the quicker tempo and the crowds of people. There is always something to do, somewhere to go and someone to meet. The beauty of this city is that even though it is so busy, there are many temples, shrines and parks located within walking distance to escape the city and catch a breath of fresh air.
The grounds of Shomyoji are serene and the surroundings expand across 75,000 square meters of land. It is the perfect place to reconnect, clear your mind, gain perspective or just get away. The temple has a lavish landscape with rich hues of green. The pond beneath the bridge is home to some of the biggest carps (Koi) I’ve ever seen, cute baby frogs, and numberless kinds of turtles who always seem to be hungry. During the warmer seasons, birds and occasionally cranes temporarily settle until the cold weather comes. At any season, it is a beautiful place to be and some have said it feels like Japan they imagined.
Shomyoji by night
Shomyoji temple is a Buddhist temple located about 10 minutes from Kanazawa bunko station on the Keikyu line which can be easily accessed from either Tokyo or Yokohama. If you aren’t up for the walk, you can also opt for taking the number 13 bus from the East exit at Kanazawa Bunko station and get off directly in front of Shomyoji temple. You can also take a taxi which will cost you around ¥1000. But don’t be fooled by the humble entrance, it is much bigger than visitors anticipate. Admission is free, and volunteer interpreters offer guidance and information to visitors who would like a guided tour.
With a rich history dating back to around 1224, Shomyoji temple was built by Hojo Sanetoki and had a great amount of support from their family. The family loved books, and throughout the generations they were able to preserve countless books which are held at Kanazawa bunko library. The books cover themes like History, Buddhism, Literature and Politics and were well protected. However, not everything on the grounds was protected, due to the great Kanto earthquake in 1923 a few of the buildings were destroyed and have been rebuilt.
The entire grounds took some time to build, the garden was built a bit later around 1320 and is said to represent the land of Perfect Bliss. The structure of the bridge is said to symbolize a journey moving towards that joyous future. The flat piece of land beneath your feet, as you walk towards the bridge symbolizes your past, and as you walk over the arched bridge you are at the present which comes with turmoil and hardships-hence the curve. You need perseverance and energy to get over those problems. As you cross the flat bridge towards the end you are in the blissful future. The flatness of the bridge is long and it represents a long happy future.