Talking of Tokyo, many people will imagine silver buildings in Shibuya. Even in traditional places such as Asakusa, the streets are full of excited people. But actually, there is a calm, cool, country place in Tokyo, too.
|Japanese pottery and cafes along woods in Jindaiji, Tokyo, Japan|
I recommend visiting Jindaiji if you are a Ghibli Museum visitor or an adventurer who want to go somewhere different from other travelers.
I’d like to share my relaxing holiday in the nature and culture there. You’ll love it!
Jindaiji is a suburb with woods and large parks in the west from the busy city. The landmark is Jindaiji Temple, and the surrounding streets are very interesting to stroll. Things are very Japanese, foods are great, nature is so beautiful… My photos will tell you better than any words.
1: Jindaiji Temple
|Jindaiji Temple and its trees|
Jindaiji Temple is said to be built in 733, which means that it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Tokyo as well as Sensoji temple in Asakusa.
It is a town of spring water. As you see many times in the following, pure water is running just beside us in the streets. In Jindaiji Temple, the ponds are extremely clear and beautiful.
|A pure pond in Jindaiji Temple|
September is too early for fall foliage in Tokyo, but there are always false starters. I found one branch that was full of red maple leaves.
|False starting red maple leaves in September… But beautiful!|
But just visiting a temple is not very stimulating because you can do it in other places… When it turns to special experience only in Jindaiji, especially souvenirs and foods, you cannot miss it!
I like to stroll in the trails around the temple. If you were there, I’m sure that you’d feel, “Is it really Tokyo?”
|A stone Buddhist tower among trees|
|A path that is not paved|
|Green leaves are all around.|
I saw many maple trees around. When all the maple leaves turn red, it must be breathtaking.
When you feel like exploring nature more, you can enter Jindaiji Botanical Gardens that is just next to the temple. We can see remnants of old Western Tokyo in the 100000 trees of 4800 species and seasonal flowers. Actually, I like its aquatic plant garden that is apart from the main gardens better than the larger part.
Dragonflies, killifishes and other old local creatures are living so close to us.
3: Culture & Foods
What’s culturally interesting is the streets around the temple. I am a Tokyo local, but I can’t help getting surprised to learn that there is a quiet and unique place like this.
|The street in Jindaiji – Old, quiet, cozy and natural|
The old and cozy shop near the entrance of the temple has been baking pottery here for long. Pots, bowls, dishes and decorations are all Japanese. I understand you want to get souvenirs here. Be careful not to smash them in your luggage!
Japanese dishes, bowls, dolls, wind bells, etc, baked in the shop
The traditional cafes offer Japanese refreshments such as rice dumplings and manju. Steam is puffing out of the steamers and it makes the views dreamy.
|Japanese refreshments grilled & steamed in front of us|
|Benches of the cafe and spring water|
See it? When you have a tea break, clear spring water is running beside you.
Jindaiji has been famous for Japanese noodles (soba) because of the pure water. There are more than 20 cozy restaurants with history of decades or even hundreds of years.
|The soba restaurant I entered – I can’t wait to talk about my lunch there!|
I promise, it was amazingly delicious. it’s a must when you visit Jindaiji. I’ll write it in another post so that I can write a lot!
I said that they are cozy restaurants, but precisely, they are extremely cozy. Pure Japanese atmosphere is standard in Jindaiji, and it is not rare that waterwheels and carp are beside us in the restaurants.
I think that we can experience a meal and tea break like this nowhere in Tokyo, and even in Japan, but in Jindaiji. It is such a unique, interesting place.
|Tamon, one of the restaurants. The aquatic plant garden is next to this.|
|A pond, waterwheel, plants, carp and tables in the restaurant Yaoki|
If you love Totoro’s forest so much that you finally visit Ghibli Museum, I really want to advise you to explore Jindaiji to feel the real nature in Western Tokyo. Once you learn the way to Mitaka for the museum, it is quite easy to go to Jindaiji, too.
And I believe that we are sometimes very proud of bringing memories in minor places back at home after we travel. There are travelers in Jindaiji, but not many. There is transportation, but all local buses. Actually, it was a little adventurous for a Tokyo local like me!
I once wrote in the post about Walking-On-Fire Festival in Mt. Takao that I want to do something different from my daily lives to make a fresh start. And you love travels and travel blogs because of similar reasons, don’t you?
I just say that my trip to Jindaiji was so refreshing and memorable.
Jindaiji Visitor Information
How to Get to Jindaiji
The ways to Jindaiji are very complicated, especially for international travelers, but I started Tokyo Direct Guide to offer organized, simplified, practical travel information from the viewpoint of travelers!
It will save much time for you to have a copy of the station exit names, bus stop numbers and bus numbers. Also, open The Easiest JR Train Map in a new window to learn Tokyo’s transportation. You are lucky to find a right place to get visitor information of Tokyo!!
The Simplest Way that I suggest
Take Keio Line at Shinjuku Station and get off at Chofu. It is a 16 minutes ride on the rapid trains.
Go out of North Exit and catch a Keio bus via Jindaiji (Bus No. 調34) at Bus Stop 14. It is a 15 minutes ride.
Get off at Jindaiji, which is the terminal. A 1 minute walk to Jindaiji Temple. (There are around 3 buses on weekdays, 4 to 5 on weekends, per hour.)
Other Buses from Chofu Station
If you catch a bus via Kichijoji (吉14) by Odakyu Bus or via Kyorin Uni Hospital (Kyorin Daigaku Byoin) (調35) by Keio or Odakyu at Bus Stop 14, get off at Jindaiji Elementary School (Jindaiji Shogakko Mae). It’s a 5 minutes walk to the temple.
The buses via Kichijoji (吉06) and via Mitaka (鷹56) at Bus Stop 13 go to Jindaiji, too. Get off at Jindaiji Entrance (Jindaiji Iriguchi). 8 minutes to the temple.
If You Are Familiar to Mitaka & JR Chuo Line
Go to Mitaka Station by Chuo Line. It is a 13 minutes ride on the fastest Chuo trains. Go out of South Exit and catch a bus via Chofu Station North Exit (鷹56) at Bus Stop 5. It is a 25 minutes ride. Get off at Jindaiji Entrance (Jindaiji Iriguchi).
Or catch a bus via Jindaiji (鷹65) by Odakyu Bus at Bus Stop 3 and get off at Jindaiji, the terminal. (This route sounds very simple, but the problem is that there aren’t many buses on the time table…)
cf: A Trip to Ghibli Museum – Arts of Studio Ghibli, Photos & Visitor Information – You go to Ghibli Museum from Mitaka Station.
You might take a taxi between Mitaka or Kichijoji or Chofu Station and Jindaiji. If so, taxi drivers will be very happy if you have a copy of the Japanese site.
It is not tactful to put “Jindaiji” in the search box. I’ve listed up convenient places to visit there.
Stay in Shinjuku – You can choose a hotel from a wide range in one of the busiest cities in Japan.
Stay near Tokyo Station – Just get on a JR Chuo Line train to Mitaka!
Stay near Mitaka or Kichijoji Station – Just go to the bus terminal to visit Jindaiji. It is convenient to go to Ghibli Museum, too.