This is simply one of the most amazing places to visit. Saifukuji Temple in Uonuma can be the highlight of any trip. The inside of the small prayer hall is decorated with the intricate carvings of some famous craftsmen including Uncho Ishikawa.
The structure itself lets you know that something special awaits as a protective roof covers the small thatched Kaisando prayer hall.
Fierce guardians are posted either side of the main gate to the temple grounds. The detail on these carvings are amazing and definitely warrant close-up inspection.
The grounds around the temple are worth some time too. There is a small shrine in the hills behind the main temple hall, as well as a well-tended garden. In the front is a pond, a huge bell and a statue of one of the craftsmen at work.
The temple itself costs a few hundred yen to enter. There is a video in English that explains about the temple and its long history. The main hall is peaceful and well-decorated with some really impressive pieces of art.
As if all this was not enough, keep walking through the temple until you find yourself in Kaisando. Prepare to be amazed. The ceiling (and just about everywhere else) is decorated with fantastic carvings. Taking photos is not allowed inside Kaisando but they probably wouldn’t do it justice anyway. This is something you should definitely see for yourself. You climb some stairs to the main part of the small hall which means that you are really close to the carvings. They are some well-done that they seem to crowd in on you. Truly impressive and memorable.