Well, the other day I mentioned about Nagaokakyo's best keep secret, it's now time for me to reveal it to the world... It's Komyo-ji (a Buddhist Temple)...
While most people around the Kansai region (about 22 million) know about Komyo-ji (and also many others further away in Japan), it's relatively unknown outside of Japan. When I was there it was crowded, because it is considered one of the best places in Kyoto to view the momiji (Japanese Maples) in their autumn colour, but I'm pretty sure I was the only gaijin (foreigner) there. There's no mention of this temple in the Lonely Planet guides or The Rough Guide to Japan. It is marked on an English map of Kansai (from the Kansai International Airport Tourist Information Management Association), but there's no mention of it in the accompanying guide to the sites.
So other than being a great place to see autumn foliage what else is there to see in Komyo-ji? Well firstly it is a sprawling complex with many interesting buildings, secondly it is delightfully set in the mountains, thirdly there's a rock garden that is almost as good as the famous one at Ryoan-ji, and fourthly it's one of the few large temples where you can actually observe the monks practicing their religion and laity joining in (in most of the "tourist" temples in Kyoto you can't see much of this). All this for a low entry fee of 500yen. Not to mention also, the great food and drinks to be sampled in the market area in the lower courts of the temple.
So how does one get there? Simply catch a train to Hankyu Nagaoka Tenjin (on the Hankyu Kyoto line) or Nagaokakyo (on the JR Kyoto line), then catch a bus from nearby one of those stations to Komyo-ji.