Hidden in a lush environment lies Nyoho Temple, a devotional undertaking of Kato Yasuoki, second daimyo of the Kato clan -rulers of Ozu domain for 13 generations (1617-1869)-.
Calling upon renown Rinzai Zen master Bankei Yotaku (1622-1693), Yasuoki revived a neglected temple, establishing a significant scholastic centre as well as the family sanctuary.
The butsuden (1670) is the sole extant building of the original complex. A richly decorated interior accompanies elevated tatami mats wrapping a central Shaka Nyorai -Buddha- statue. Declared Important Cultural Property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, it provides sublime surroundings suited for relaxation and introspection. Meditation sessions are conducted priodically.
The temple also displays beautiful gardens: a chisei garden -pond garden- at the rear end of the kuri -the abbot's living quarters- and a simple karesansui garden -dry landscape garden- facing the hondo -main building-. The latter attains is apogee in autumn, when a monumental gingko tree releases its golden leaves, generating a colourful carpet of whites, greens and ambers.
Location of Nyoho Temple [如法寺] >> Google Maps link
10 min. bicycle ride from Ozu's historic centre.