Tuesday, 9 September 2014

National Treasure on the Takasaki Line

EMU JR East 231 series arrives at Gyoda Station on the Takasaki Line
Kangi-in is an old Buddhist temple in Kumagaya City of Saitama Prefecture, some 70 km north of Tokyo. It was opened in 1179 by Saito Sanemori, who was a Kumagaya-based local military commander.

In 2012, the main building of Kangi-in temple, namely Shodendo, was designated as a national treasure by the government. It was originally built some time around 1184, but it was reconstructed in 1760 by Hayashi Masakiyo, who was a head of carpenters.

Shodendo is a large reputable building, but more importantly, there are many colorful sculptures on the walls of the building. They are phoenixes, great men and children. Repairs to Shodendo were started in 2003, as it was weathered and worn. It took 7 years to complete the renovations and it was perfect when it was reopened. Local people are proud of this new national treasure.

To get to this precious spot, take the JR East Takasaki Line and get off at Kumagaya Station. It takes about one hour by rapid train from Ueno in the downtown Tokyo area. The EMU E231 series is the main fleet on the line. This model is basically the same as that of the train being operated on the Tokaido Main Line. It was launched in 2000 to replace the old model, the 115 series. All of the trains belong to Oyama Rail Yard near Oyama Station.

The delightful train takes you rapidly to the city of national treasure.

Shodendo (National Treasure) in Kangiin Temple near Kumagaya Station on the Takasaki Line