The city of Kumagaya 熊谷市

At the gates of Tokyo, discover the city still very little known to tourists

Kumagaya was once a staging post town on the way to Nakasendo, the inland route from Tokyo to Kyoto that was heavily used during the Edo period. Today the city has fallen into anonymity but it has managed to retain its own identity. Located in Saitama Prefecture and nestled between the Arakawa and Tone rivers, the city of Kumagaya is the northern border of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Of the city's many temples and shrines, the Menuma Shodenzan Kangi-in is the most impressive. Founded in 1179, it is a national treasure of Japan.

Shodenzan Temple owes its distinctiveness to its main building Shodendo, erected in 1760 in the Gogen style. Its walls are covered with an incredible amount of colorful woodcuts dating from the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868).

These carvings are reminiscent of those infamous temples and shrines in the city of Nikko and this place is often nicknamed "Saitama's Toshogu Shrine".

One, which depicts an eagle with a monkey in its claws above a waterfall, is attributed to Jingoro Hidari, the artist who created Nikko's famous Three Wise Monkeys artwork.

Address: 1627 Menuma, Kumagaya
Hours: 10:00 am - 4:30 pm.
Access: Take the bus from bus stop No. 6 at the north exit of Kumagaya Station to the Shodenzan-mae bus stop. The trip takes about 25 min.

Menuma Kangiin

Menuma Kangiin in Kumagaya

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    From Shinjuku Station in Tokyo take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line or from Tokyo Station take the JR Joetsu or Hokuriku Shinkansen Line.

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