Enpuku-ji Temple is site number 34 on the Kojima 88 spiritual site pilgrimage, which includes locations in neighboring Tamano and Okayama cities.
Located in the heart of the historical trading district of Shimotsui, Enpuku-ji is an excellent example of a merchant town temple. Nestled at the base of a hill, it is an oasis of pine trees offering a refreshing retreat.
Getting to the temple is quite enjoyable because you have to walk the entire length of the town if you are approaching from the direction of the Seto Ohashi Bridge. This is the recommended route if you want to get a glimpse of everyday life in Shimotsui.
If you walk down the main residential and shopping street, you will see a number of shops open, offering everything from electronics to groceries. By the time that you make it to the very end of this road, Enpuku-ji will become visible.
The front gate is set back somewhat off the street, which gives it a bit of a hidden feel. If you have never been there before, you might not think that you are in the right place at first.
However, when you step through the gate, it becomes quickly evident that you are at a Buddhist temple. The first thing you notice is that there is the typical mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees to juxtapose constancy with the fluctuation of life.
Straight ahead you will see the main hall various objects of worship and ceremony would be housed. It is also connected to the priest’s private residence.
One of interesting things about the temple is its seemingly eclectic collection of statues. Perhaps the one that stands out from the rest is a quite large and lovely stone rendering of the Goddess of Mercy or Kannon in Japanese.
You could spend a great deal of time simply cataloging everything on the grounds of Enpuku-ji Temple.
Access: Take the JR Marine Liner from JR Okayama Station to JR Kojima Station. It is about a 15-minute taxi ride or an hour walk to Enpuku-ji Temple from JR Kojima Station.
About the Area
Kojima is a seaside district of Kurashiki City that is perhaps best known for its historic role as a textile manufacturing center. Today, this legacy is apparent in the booming jeans industry. Many well-known brands have their outlets and factories there.
Washuzan is both the name of a mountain and a section of Kojima that offers the best views of the magnificent Seto Ohashi Bridge. There are hiking trails around the mountain, which lead to the summit. Although the view from the top is spectacular, the observation deck provides the most complete view of the bridge.
Shimotsui is the fishing village west of the base of the Seto Ohashi Bridge. It is a wonderfully self-contained and self-sufficient community, where you can get whatever you need without venturing into the world outside.
The shopping street is filled with stores and restaurants and there is even a temple at the far west end. Walk up the steps near the volunteer fire department near the beginning of the street for yet another great view of the bridge from the local shrine.
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