Odawara Castle was built in the 15th century by Daimyo Hojo Soun. It was demolished by the Meji government in the 19th century. It was rebuilt in 1960 and today the 5-story castle sits on the top of a hill that overlooks Odawara.
Inside the castle there are exhibits on the history of the building as well as exhibitions of armor and swords. The top floor offers a beautiful view of the park and the surrounding city. The castle is also famous for its cherry blossoms and many other flowers, including plum blossoms, azaleas, hydrangeas and lotus blossoms. There is a ninja museum on the castle grounds. There is also a small samurai museum there.
Daiyuzan Saijoji is a temple with a deep connection to the tengu, those creatures who occupy a special place in Japanese folk religion. For example, folklore has it that the tengu, in a variety of different ways, supported the Zen priest who first built Saijoji TempleThe Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple in Minamiashigara is a breathtaking temple of Soto Zen Buddhism. The temple grounds, which were built more than 620 years ago, contain around 30 ceremonial halls and other temple buildings. The temple is surrounded by an impressive cedar forest. In the temple the novices receive their formal religious training to become monks. There are 3 impressive halls on the temple grounds that are worth visiting: the Hondo, Kaisando and Myogaku halls. The temple has a deep connection to the mythical creatures of the Tengu, those creatures that have a special place in Japanese folk religion. For example, it is said in folklore that the Tengu supported the Zen priest who built the Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple in various ways.
It is believed that lanterns were made in Odawara since 1573. The unique feature of these lanterns is that they are cheap and foldable. Thanks to the effort of Jinzaemon, a Japanese trader, Odawara lanterns became well known throughout Japan.