Best Church: Most camouflaged house of worship

Buddhist Temple of Alameda

What comes to mind when you think of a Buddhist place of worship? There’s no shortage of churches in sleepy little Alameda, but this little island burg is also home to a thriving Buddhist temple. Surprised? It’s because the Buddhist Temple of Alameda is hard to find, nestled among all those big, beautiful Victorians in a little neighborhood off Park Street. The 91-year-old temple is run by Reverend Zuikei Taniguchi out of a cream and yellow house with a spiral turret jutting up into the skyline. Just passing by on the street, you’d think it was nothing more than another gorgeous old house. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll notice the fence posts are topped with pagoda-style roofs; there’s a traditional-looking church marquee, complete with mismatched white letters, and a large Japanese rock garden — normally for quiet contemplation but also the site of the temple’s annual Obon (thanksgiving) festival each summer. Dharma classes meet on Sundays; karate classes meet on Tuesdays.

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