Founded in 770, Kimiidera Temple is a striking piece of Buddhist architecture, with a brilliant red façade that stands out against its green mountain surroundings. Said to have been graced by visits from emperors, the temple holds a prestigious place in the Wakayama area.
The temple is accessible on foot from JR Kimiidera Station on the Kisei Line.
For those visiting the temple from Wakayama City, Kimiidera Station is a couple of stops from JR Wakayama Station.
Visitors in early spring will witness the temple grounds bathed in cherry-blossom pink as 500 trees of distinctive early-blooming blossoms burst into color. The combination of soft pink blooms against the bright red temple and dark trees, makes an unforgettable photograph.
There are around two hundred steps to the temple's main hall, but the reward is the magnificent view over the nearby Wakanoura Bay. It's a sight that has inspired poets and writers over the ages; try to catch the sunset.
For a small fee, you can enter the main hall that houses Buddhist images designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. The grounds are also packed full of history with a range of statues and an ancient Camphor Tree.
In 2008, the largest standing wooden statue was completed and placed here. The multi-armed Kannon, or goddess of mercy, is serene yet impressive.