Shiramizu Amida-do is a beautiful, historic Buddhist temple in a serene and peaceful garden. For those planning a trip to Iwaki or Northern Ibaraki, it is a great place to add to your itinerary!
What is an Amida-do?
An Amida-do is a temple dedicated to the Buddha referred to as Amida Buddha. If you don’t recognise that name, but you have done your fair share of travelling in Japan, you have probably been to a place dedicated to Amida Buddha already. Definitely so if you have gone to visit the Great Buddha in Kamakura – this is the Amida Buddha!
Shiramizu Amida-do Gardens
After entering the temple grounds, you have to cross a bridge over a pond, and walk through scenic gardens before reaching the temple itself.
The gardens are very peaceful, and really quite large, making Shiramizu Amida-do a lovely place to go for an afternoon walk.
I visited last winter with some tour participants. Even though it was not the best season to visit to see flowers, it was still a great visit.
After taking a look around the park, we moved to the main hall of the temple. The priest at Shiramizu Amida-do even explained how to pray inside the main hall of the temple.
However, his explanation of the significance of Shiramizu Amida-do contained quite a lot of very specific vocabulary, so I am glad I did my research before going!
What makes Shiramizu Amida-do Special?
It has been designated a Japanese National Treasure – the only one in Fukushima.
Built in 1160, in the Heian era, Shiramizu Amida-do is historically a very important building. One thing that makes Shiramizu Amida-do easily identifiable as an Heian place of workship is the fact it was constructed on a piece of land jutting out towards the centre of a pond, in keeping with traditional Japanese Buddhist architecture of the time (known as Jodo Teien 浄土庭園).
Not only is the main hall itself spectacular, but so is the scenery that surrounds it.
From July to early September lotuses bloom, and in autumn, the leaves of the trees that close around the temple turn bright red and yellow.
The temple is also lit-up at night during the autumn-leaf season, giving the gardens and main hall a really impressive, magical atmosphere.
From what I’ve seen in photographs, the sight of the temple covered in snow is also really lovely.
I’ll be visiting Shiramizu Amida-do in autumn leaf season this year, so I hope I get to take some good photos then!
Visiting Shiramizu Amida-do
400 yen for adults, 250 yen for children
8:30 to 16:00 (15:30 in Winter)
Closed 4th Wednesday of the month
Reaching Shiramizu Amidado by public transport:
Take the JR Joban Line to Iwaki Station. From there, take a bus heading for Kawahira (川平) and get off at the Amida-do Bus Stop (あみだ堂バス停). From there, it is a 5 minute walk.
Reaching Shiramizu Amidado by car:
Take the Ban Etsu Highway, get off at Iwaki Yumoto IC – from where it is a 15 minute drive.
For information on travelling to Iwaki City – including info on how to get around the city – please read my travel guide here.
See more posts about Iwaki here!
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