Lots of walking....and eating!

Kamakura Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Main gate Engaku-Ji

Well, I was traveling to Yokohama for a long weekend and I read that Kamakura rivals Nikko for beauty and culture, so since I have already been to Nikko, I went to check out what all the fuss is about.  First off, its about an hour ride to Kamakura from Yokohama so it is not too bad.  I would strongly recommend this town, but avoid it during a Typhon (I walked in the rain for 4 hours straight, it was not fun on the train coming back).  The town is literally a one road town.  There are loads of coffee shops spotted all down the road and in between these shops are Temples, some huge, and others quite small.

Praying Hall
 

When you get off the train there is a temple about 5 mins from the train station.  It is called Engaku-ji, it was built to comemorate the lost souls, both Japanese and Monogolian during the wars between the two countries.  The man that had this vision was a Zen master and he called the Temple Engaku which means The Sutra on Perfect Enlightenment.  Some of the temples had many fires over the next decades so a lot of buildings are not original, but that doesn't take away from their beauty.  There is a huge Main gate that was built in 1783.  There are several other buildings all serving their different purposes whether through schooling or sleeping quarters or eating.  They are not in use any more, but sometimes the grounds are used during ceremonies. 

After this temple you walk another 10 mins and you come to another temple called Tokei-ji.

Shrine in Engaku-Ji
  This temple was used to help women seeking refugee from their husbands.  Back in the day women had no rights to seek a divorce so they would come this temple and if they spend 3 calender years at it, and they would be granted a divorce.  It is pretty small and quiet lots of trees and a few buildings, not nearly as big as Engaku-ji.

Next on down the road is Jochi-ji temple.  This temple was built in 1238 and is considered one of Kamakura's five great temples.  It is most famous for the 3 wooden statues in the central temple that from left to right represent Amida 'past', Amida 'present', and Miroku 'future'.  The grounds are very beautiful and it is not a very big area, but very pretty.

A little further down the road is the biggest and number one temple in Kamakura, Kencho-ji.

No idea, but very pretty rock designs (Engaku-ji)
  It is quite large and you could easily spend an hour walking and admiring the buildings.  This is also the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan.  The temple was finished in 1253 the year of the Kencho Era, hence its name.  There are about 10 subtemples on the grounds most of them have been brought from Tokyo or Kyoto piece by piece and rebuilt here.  There are several buildings you can walk into, one called the Butsuden which has a giant buddha on a high alter and a painted dragon on the ceiling that is just amazing.  It is however painted upside down so you have to stand facing away the alter and looking up, it is fun to watch all these people doing this, but it makes it so much better.  There are Junipers trees planted all over the grounds and some date back 700 years, they are considered national teasures, so keep your dog away.
the front of the ceremony room
  Another sub temple you have to take your shoes off before walkin on the grounds, it is a very beautiful area, all tatami mats with a very elaborate alter at the front, and behind this building is the garden.  There is a pond in the garden in the shape of the character representing "mind", thus the pond is known as the "Shin-ji Ike", mind character pond (creative I know). 

And the last but definately not the least temple that I visited was the Enno-ji Temple.  This is a very small area.  It is known for the collection of statues depicting the judges of hell.  Most of these statues are rebuilt from the neck down so their bodies may seem out of proportion with their head.  This was because if there was ever a fire in a building the people would only take the head of a statue since this was the most important of the statue.

Tatami mats on the floor, ceremony room
  They main statue is the one of Emma, an ancient Hinu deity known in Sanskrit as Yama.  He was the main judge and he is more commonly referred to has Hades for obvious reasons.  You weren't allowed to photograph these statues and plus my camera battery died so, sorry no photos of this but plenty of others.  There are lots more temples and a few museums, but I just didnt have the time or the patients to walk anymore.

Well, after this I walked back towards the train station, only to stop and have some coffee and delicious at one of the many coffee shops.  I was soaked, hot, sweaty, and tired, I called it a day and headed back to Yokohama.

nik2blessed says:
loved hearing about this place, on my way there soon
Posted on: Jun 22, 2011
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Main gate Engaku-Ji
Main gate Engaku-Ji
Praying Hall
Praying Hall
Shrine in Engaku-Ji
Shrine in Engaku-Ji
No idea, but very pretty rock desi…
No idea, but very pretty rock des…
the front of the ceremony room
the front of the ceremony room
Tatami mats on the floor, ceremony…
Tatami mats on the floor, ceremon…
cool carving on doorway
cool carving on doorway
The pond behind the ceremony room
The pond behind the ceremony room
Another little pond, this one was …
Another little pond, this one was…
Living quarters (Engaku-Ji)
Living quarters (Engaku-Ji)
Path in Engaku
Path in Engaku
Bell at Tokei-ji
Bell at Tokei-ji
Buddha Tokei-Ji
Buddha Tokei-Ji
One of the main praying rooms
One of the main praying rooms
Buddhist Hall
Buddhist Hall
Waiting for their divorice papers?
Waiting for their divorice papers?
Graveyard, they are huge and every…
Graveyard, they are huge and ever…
Walk up to Jochi-Ji
Walk up to Jochi-Ji
Description of Jochi-ji Temple
Description of Jochi-ji Temple
The 3 statues, past, present, futu…
The 3 statues, past, present, fut…
Weirdest creepiest thing in this t…
Weirdest creepiest thing in this …
The lucky monk statue, you rub his…
The lucky monk statue, you rub hi…
Main gate at Kencho-ji
Main gate at Kencho-ji
Ceremony bell, think i can touch i…
Ceremony bell, think i can touch …
We werent allowed in here, i wond…
We weren't allowed in here, i won…
Temple the houses the giant buddha…
Temple the houses the giant buddh…
The walk up to the garden and pray…
The walk up to the garden and pra…
no shoes allowed, I think everyone…
no shoes allowed, I think everyon…
Praying room
Praying room
Sponsored Links
Kamakura
photo by: poison_dee