Peacefully sitting at the top of a hill and overlooking the rice fields of Oku for the past millennium is Yokeiji Temple. This Buddhist complex boasts a great number of important structures, notably the ‘Sanju-tou’ (three story pagoda) and the six ‘shi-in’ (houses where monks live), almost making it look like a small village in itself. In fact, thanks to the singularity of the sheer number of ‘do’ (halls) and ‘in’ (monks’ houses), Yokeiji Temple stands out in the Chugoku region.
However, it is not only known for its lovely buildings, gorgeous seasonal flowers, and cunningly cared for gardens. What truly sets Yokeiji Temple aside in the region is that it shelters a thousand-year old treasure recognised as the first national treasure in Okayama Prefecture’s history: the “Yakushi-nyorai” statue. This statue is shown to the public only twice a year during which visitors can admire it whilst savouring Japanese street food such as Green tea, Japanese sweets, Octopus dumplings “Takoyaki” and so much more!
But that does not mean that those are the only times anyone should go and visit this unique place, far from it! There are many events held throughout the seasons! The complex is bursting with cherry blossom petals in spring. Festivals, lotus flowers and nighttime illuminations will make you smile despite the Summer heat. A tint of red and yellow covers the grounds in Autumn. The bell solemnly rings in the middle of a Winter night as the year ends and a new year starts.