The temple Saijoji was founded in 1394 in Sagami (modern Kanagawa Prefecture) by Ryoan Emyo Zenji, who was once chief priest at the Daihonzan Sojiji. Numerous Japanese cryptomeria cedars contribute to the solemn, mystical mood of the grounds, where there are more than 30 halls and temples, including a pagoda in the Treasure-Tower (tahoto) style erected in 1863.
The following story is told of Saijoji. One day, a great eagle seized Emyo Zenji's surplice, flew with it to some mountains, and hung it on a large pine bough. Taking this as a sign, Emyo Zenji had the temple built at that location. The pine survives. The ascetic monk (shugenja) named Sagamibo Doryo is revered in one part of the temple grounds. It is said that he flew to Emyo Zenji's side when the temple was being built and completed the project in only one year.
After Emyo Zenji's death, vowing to protect Daiyuzan and save as many people as possible, he disappeared into the mountains. Since then, as the Great Bodhisattva Doryo, he has been an object of fervent faith. Numerous pairs of red takageta (wooden clogs with high supports) donated in connection with Doryo are on view at the temple. In addition, the flowers of plums dating back as much as six centuries and of 10,000 hydrangea plants greet pilgrims in season.
JR Tokaido Line to Odawara. The Daiyuzan Line of the Izu- Hakone Railway to Daiyuzan Station. Five minutes' walk from the Doryo-son stop on the Doryo-son-yuki bus line.Address: 1157 Daiyu-cho, Minami-Ashigara, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0127, Japan.