Saitama 5 – Kangiin Shotendo (歓喜院聖天堂)

Saitama postcard number 5 is the building called “Shotendo” at the temple Kangiin in Kumagaya City, Menuma area. Although it is a well known shrine in and around Saitama, it is difficult to get to and is far away from other popular sights, and therefore is relatively unknown to Japanese living outside the general area, and completely unknown to tourists visiting Japan. As such, it is hard to find good information on it in English. Luckily Saitama’s tourist info site has a good English description of it. You can read about it in English here, and the official site of the temple is here (Japanese only).

Kangiin is nicknamed “Little Nikko” because of the beautiful and ornate craftsmanship of the inner building. It is truly reminiscent of Nikko to those who have visited both, and was declared Saitama’s first “National Treasure Structure” (最初の国宝建造物) in 2012.

Unfortunately, when trying to find this temple, I was sidetracked by a different one very close to it, and as a consequence was too late to take the tour to see the building up close. So these pictures are very bad ones! I will have to go back when I can (earlier this time!) to take better pictures to post here, but meanwhile, here is what I have:

Gate at Kangiin

The main shrine area; Shotendo is attached to the back of it.

Since I was too late to get in, I had to content myself with peering behind the fence at it

This was the best I could do… oops!

Around the corner… still can’t get a good view!

Oh well, it’s only an hour from me, I’ll go back for better pictures another time!