Jindaiji is a great hidden tourist attraction in Japan. There are so many popular tourist attractions in Japan such as Tsukiji Fish Market or Asakusa Sensoji Temple, but why don’t you visit the lesser-known yet great places like Jindaiji?
Jindaiji Temple (深大寺) is in Chofu, west of Tokyo. It’s a very old Buddhist temples in Japan with at least a few hundreds years of history (see official site in English).
The temple is in extensive grounds just near Chofu station. Although it’s only 20-30 minutes away from the heart of Tokyo, its verdant premise will make you feel as if you have travelled far from the city.
If you visit the temple in early March, you can see the Daruma Festival. This is one of the times when the temple gets even livelier with lots of locals surrounding food stalls.
Even during the festive events, most visitors are local Tokyo people. As far as I can see, there are hardly any tourists from other areas of Japan. Many locals gather at the temple on weekends, but this is one of the few places with no tourists. This is why I call Jindaiji a hidden tourist attraction in Japan.
They also sell colorful daruma (Buddhism symbol) during the festival and it’s fun just watching them.
Jindaiji area is famous for soba noodles. There are many soba restaurants in the premise with a nice view of woods and ponds, and while it’s also good to grab some food from the food stalls, having nice local noodles at one of those restaurants will be a great experience.
Once you have enjoyed the temple, visiting the botanical garden in the premise would be a nice idea. There is a big botanical garden right next to the temple and it’s good to spend some time there.
It was March when I took the following photo and there weren’t many flowers blooming yet, but usually there are so many different kinds of flowers. If you visit there in May, roses are in a full bloom and the view is spectacular.
According to the official info, there are more than 100K pieces of 4,800 kinds of plants in the entire garden.
On the way back to Chofu station, it’s easy to get to bigger streets, but take a detour and try to walk on the paths outside of the premise. With so many trees surrounding the paths, they are always darker and you will be amazed by the fantastic and somewhat mystic view.
If you have time, visit the public bath “Yumori no Sato” (湯守の里) which is just 5-10 minute walk from Jindaiji. It’s a natural onsen with lots of different kinds of bathtubs. You need to have a change of clothes of course, but it’s so relaxing to take a bath after a good walk. When you go to a public bath in Japan, keep the local manners. See this article for more details on Japanese bathing manners.
Why don’t you visit Jindaiji, the hidden tourist attraction in Japan that no tourists know? 🙂
Jindaiji Temple Address: 5 Chome-15-1 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0017
How to get there: Take “Keio Line” train from Shinjuku and get off at “Chofu” station. From bus stop no. 14 at Chofu, take bus no. 34 which is bound for Jindaiji, and get off at the last station (Jindaiji).
Open hours: Mar. 21-Sep. 22: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM Sep. 23-Mar. 20 9:00 AM-6:00 PM