Kamakura: Kenchoji Temple

After we left the Engakuji temple, we continued our journey along the rail tracks. They took us to a small street, from which we followed the signs to the Kenchoji temple, which is all together 1km away. It won’t be difficult to miss, you just follow the tourists!

Tourists in Kamakura

The Kenchoji temple was constructed in 1253 and ranks first among Kamakura’s so-called Five Great Zen Temples and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan. It is a very large temple with lots of different temples, we only explored about half of them.

What I liked best about this temple were the Cherry Blossoms in front of the main hall. Don’t they look beautiful?

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 1

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 2

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 3

We passed through the Sanmon main gate to reach the main hall, Butsuden, which displays a statue of the Jizo Bodhisattva.

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 4

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 6

Behind the Butsuden stands the Hatto, the largest wooden temple building in eastern Japan. It houses a statue of Kannon and has lots of bright and colorful curtains as well as a dragon painted on its ceiling.

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 5

Behind this golden and black Karamon gate (freshly renovated) lies a beautiful garden. It was designed by Zen master Muso Kokushi.

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 7

The gate was brought here from Zojoji in Tokyo together with the Main Hall in 1647. The gate was used exclusively for the envoys of the imperial court visiting the Temple. Even today, the gate is open only on specific occasions like the Airing of Treasures in early November. We had to go around the gate to reach the next building.

The Hojo or Chief priest’s quarters are partly open to the public. We walked to the backyard to see the zen garden, which was remodeled in 2003. The famous iris and azalea bushes have gone. Still, it is a calming, relaxing and beautiful garden.

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 8

Kenchoji Temple Kamakura 9

Useful info:

  • The temple is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm every day. The entrance fee is 300 Yen
  • You can walk from the Kita-Kamakura station or take a shuttle bus from the main station to get there

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