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Photo By: Abhijit Sen
Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Tokyo
Population
12,059,237

Shiofune Kannon-ji Temple

A flower-filled valley ruled by the Goddess of Mercy

By Abhijit Sen

Shiofune Kannon-ji Temple, located in a valley near Ome City, west of Tokyo, is of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. It is famous for its beautiful azalea blossoms that bloom in spring.

Temple Background

Shiofune Kannon-ji

Photo by: Abhijit Sen The temple is situated in an area surrounded by small hills.

According to the legend passed down over generations, the temple was established during the Taika period, spanning from 645 to 650 A.D. The temple’s unique topographical features give it the appearance of a boat, which is why it is named Shiofune, meaning “salt boat.”

The temple is situated in an area surrounded by small hills. It is believed that this sacred temple is the vessel of Buddha and was built for the salvation of humanity. Over time, the temple has become a significant cultural landmark and attracts visitors from all over Japan.

Visiting the Temple

Shiofune Kannon-ji

Photo by: Abhijit Sen Spring is when the whole valley is transformed into a breathtaking display of vibrant colors.

The first building after crossing the entrance is dedicated to Amida Buddha. A little uphill through a forest of thousand-year-old cedar trees, you will see the Hondo (main temple) at the top of the hill and the central building in the center of the valley. Finally, you will find the statue of Shiofune Heiwa Kannon, who is worshiped in Japan as the goddess of mercy and compassion.

If you plan to visit this temple, spring is when the whole valley is transformed into a breathtaking display of vibrant colors. The azalea bushes scattered throughout the temple’s premises come to life and bloom into a magnificent spectacle of bright and bold colors.

You can witness more than 20,000 azaleas blooming from mid-April to mid-May, which is a sight to behold. Moreover, the temple hosts the tsutsuji matsuri (Azalea Festival) during this time, a delightful celebration of the blooming season. The festival features various cultural events, food vendors and traditional performances, making it an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Surrounding Nature

Shiofune Kannon-jiPhoto by: Abhijit Sen

Walking along the trails of the valley amidst colorful flowers is a unique experience. While climbing up the slope, visitors can see an ancient bell on the right, which they can ring to create a divine atmosphere. The view of the entire azalea-covered valley and temple is breathtakingly beautiful from the observatory near the foot of the Shiofune Heiwa Kannon’s statue.

Visitors can also see the distant city and Mount Fuji on clear sunny days. Benches are placed where one can sit and relax to ease the fatigue of the climb and enjoy the view for the longest time.

Things To Know

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST

Believers Hall

There is a believers’ hall in the shrine area called Fumonkaku, which can be used to buy souvenirs, eat, and rest. The shop’s first floor carries Shiofune Kannonji’s original products and local souvenirs such as sweets and pickles.

There is also a restaurant where you can sit down and enjoy the popular Kannon dango and wild vegetable udon dishes. This hall is open every day from  9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

HOURS AND FEES

Shiofune Kannonji Temple

Opening hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Azalea Festival entrance fees

An entrance fee as part of the maintenance and management costs of the azaleas inside the park.

Adults (junior high school students and above): ¥300; Children (elementary school students): ¥100; Group (20 people or more): ¥250 

How To Get There

Address

By train

Get off at Kawabe station on the JR Ome Line, then take the Nishi Tokyo bus or Tokyo bus, get off at Shiofune Kannon Iriguchi, and walk 10 minutes or about 35 minutes from Kawabe station.

Where To Stay

Kamenoi Hotel Ome
  • 3-668-2 Komakicho, Ome-shi, Tokyo, 198-0053 Japan
  • ¥14,438 - ¥39,270
  • 3.3 km
Hotel Livemax Budget Tokyo Hamura Station
  • 4-2-15 Gonokami, Hamura-shi, Tokyo, 205-0011 Japan
  • ¥6,057 - ¥14,535
  • 2.9/5 (282 reviews)
  • 5.9 km
Plaza Inn Hamura
  • 4-14-14 Gonokami, Hamura-shi, Tokyo, 205-0011 Japan
  • ¥6,900 - ¥6,900
  • 4.06/5 (893 reviews)
  • 6.1 km

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