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Shinpuku-ji Temple, Aichi Prefecture’s oldest temple

The bus sped into the town outskirts of Okazaki, past villages and fields and into the forested steads of Shinpukujicho. The air is fresh and crisp, the sound of waving bamboo, tall and slender, swaying with the winds with its leaves rustling. It reminded me of the elegant stands at Arashiyama but smaller. Shinpuku-ji Temple grounds. Forested. Close to nature and beautiful.

It was in the year 594 when Mononobe no Masachi saw a shining light at the top of a mountain. When he climbed up, he found a shining spring where the Yakushi Nyorai (the Medicine Buddha) appeared. It was this divine encounter that prompted him to build the current Shinpuku-ji Temple and for the past 1,400 years, Shinpuku-ji Temple has been an important pilgrimage area for people seeking good health and recovery from eye disease.

Shinpuku-ji Temple is also known as the Mikawa Yakushi, known for its sacred waters that Mononobe no Masachi found. From that spring, a well was made and is currently housed within the octagonal enclosure found at the main temple hall where a shinto priest bless visitors. It is the oldest temple in Aichi Prefecture. Other than its beautiful grounds, the temple area is also popular for its bonsai museum and its restaurant.

Bamboo shoots

The popular restaurant, a modern building is located at another part of the Shinpuku-ji grounds and connected with an elevated walkway that is at level with the main temple. It is known for its bamboo shoot set menu, a kaiseki, small dishes consisting of pickled, steamed, boiled and breaded bamboo shoot, tofu and other vegetables. Although, not for everyone, as what I have observed from some members of our group, the bamboo shoot set menu is actually interesting both in taste and in texture. Even the dessert is a skewer of steamed pieces of bamboo shoots with a dab of sweet coating.

Shinpuku-ji Tempe
One of the beautiful wooden shrines along the walkpath
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
An interesting shrine near the main temple
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
This is the altar at the back of the altar hall of the main temple and is said to be the oldest section
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
A pantheon of gods at the main altar hall
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
A shinto priest blesses our group of visitors
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
I just love the look and feel of the side of the main temple
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
Ascending stairs leading to the main temple of Shinpuku-ji
Shinpuku-ji Tempe
Bamboo shoot skewers, one of the items in a vegetarian kaiseki set mainly consisting of tempura, steamed, boiled and pickled vegetables

Shinpuku-ji Temple
Yakushiyama-6 Shinpukujicho
Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture 444-2106, Japan (Japanese only)

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