Kotakuji Temple is tucked in the hills behind the rice paddies in the Satoyamabe area (east side of Matsumoto). It was established in 1441 by the Soto school of Zen Buddhists. A visit to this temple would be an excellent addition to a bike ride among the rice paddies or as part of your hike to the Hayashi Castle Ruins. It is also located near the Chikatoyama Park.
The entrance is marked by a humongous, scarred tree and a brownish gate.
Pass through the gate and follow the wooded path all the way up the hill.
Along the way, you’ll be greeted by a few Buddhas and Jizo statues with red « bibs » around their necks.
Once you make it up the hill, next you’ll have climb this huge set of stone stairs…
But it’ll be all worth it when you see the beautiful temple at the top!
Look closely and you’ll find impressive woodwork, intricate carvings, and gorgeously designed roof.
In one corner of the temple grounds is a large, metal bell and a couple of cute rabbit statues.
Be careful on the way down, because the stairs are steep (which I’m sure you’ll notice when you climb them in the first place, hehe)!
Kotakuji Temple is about a 30 min. bike ride or a 60 min. walk from Matsumoto Station.
You may see signs for Kotakuji Temple written in Japanese characters. There are two variations, but they refer to the same spot: 広沢寺 and 廣澤寺