There is a beautiful old temple not far from Seizan-so called "Satake-ji" or Satakedera. "Ji" and "dera" both mean "temple" and to add to the confusion, they are written with the same kanji character. I've seen Satake-ji written both ways on English websites, so I'm not sure which is correct, but I'll stick with ji.
Anyway, as I wrote of it in 2006, it "is listed as a National Important Cultural Property. In 1177, a local warlord, Satake, donated the land and made the temple the official place for his warriors to pray. The temple burned down in 1543 and took fifteen years to rebuild. That is still the temple building one sees today. In 1590 it was Satake Yoshinobu who unified Hitachi - what is now called Ibaraki Prefecture. No doubt a descendant of the Satake who patronized this temple."
Last time, my camera was improperly set up and all the pictures were out of focus. On this visit I took more pictures and of course, I have a newer camera.
There is a large old ginko tree there which carpets the grounds with golden leaves. Unfortunately, it is a female tree and bears fruit which fall to the ground. For the unwary, the fruit, which has a very unpleasant odor, sticks to the bottom of shoes. So after you visit the temple and get into your car to leave you may soon wonder "what is that awful smell"? Don't look accusingly at the person next to you, just get out and clean off your shoes. ;^)
Satake-ji is the 22nd site on the "Bando Pilgrimage" started by the monk Tokudo in 718, which includes 33 religious sites in the Kanto area dedicated to the Bosatsu Kannon.
The papers that are glued to the temple and gate, which have names written on them, were left by past pilgrims to show that they had visited the site as they traveled along the Bando Pilgrimage. The practice of gluing these papers is no longer allowed, but some people still do follow this pilgrimage which starts in Tokyo and takes them all over the Kanto region.
I like the thatched roof of this temple.
Behind the temple are some old wooden ladders.
Though the gate has been rebuilt in the 20th century, the guardian statues are the originals.
They are called "Nio" or kindly kings. A common feature of temple gates throughout the Buddhist world, they are named Kongo (or Ungyo) whose mouth is closed to say "Un" and Misshaku (or Ahgyo) whose mouth his open saying "Ah". They were originally derived from Hindu Divas who became incorporated into Buddhism as protectors against evil.
FYI - Satake-ji is just a seven minute taxi ride or 30 minute walk from JR (Japan Rail) Hitachi-Ohta Station.