Mano-ji Temple in Minamiboso-city was founded about 1300 years ago, and houses a unique mask-wearing Goddess of Mercy, not found anywhere else in Japan. But the temple is more well known for Daikoku-sama, the deity who is associated with wealth and prosperity. At the Daikokuten Festival, held annually on February 6, the Buddhist sermon starts at midnight, and the precinct becomes busy with visitors, who also enjoy the food stalls that line the approach to the temple.
Amatsu Shinmei-gu shrine, which has an association with the Ise Shrine, has more than 800 years of history. In the precinct, you will find rare trees called Marubachisha. Kamogawa City is said to be the northern limit of their habitat, so they are designated as a protected species by Chiba Prefecture. This visitor friendly shrine, equipped with bike stands, large parking space and clean bathrooms, could be a great spot for your “hatsumode” or New Year’s visit. Have a happy New Year!
This tiny bridge is the only suspension bridge in Minamiboso and lies amidst the quiet countryside of the Masuma area. Follow the narrow paved road along the little stream and you will find a small temple called Sawayama Fudo, with the charming bridge situated in front. Going down to the river, the presence of Shimenawa or sacred straw rope indicates that practitioners used to train here under the waterfall. In a month’s time, this will be a spot to see the autumn foliage.
Up on the hill of Oyama area, Kamogawa
City, Oyama Fudo gives a great view looking down the beautiful rice fields and
houses below. The Temple once belonged to Tendai sect, was connected to
Shintoism and animism, and flourished as a training center for monks. The
dragon carvings in Fudo Hall are by Nami no Ihachi, the local artisan from the
Edo period, and are designated as an cultural asset by Chiba Prefecture. It can
be a nice place to visit in an autumn afternoon.
Haraoka Beach is one of those photogenic spots that suddenly became famous through social networking sites. Local people were amazed when the old wooden pier protruding from the beach started attracting tourists. Enjoy a walk on the beach at sunset when the lights on the pier are lit. On a clear day you can even see the silhouette of Mt. Fuji on the horizon. You might be surprised by the crowd of photographers aiming for the best shot!