Kamakura played one of the most important roles in Japanese politics during the Kamakura period, about 800 years ago. The Kamakura shogunate was established at the end of the 12th century, and lasted for more than 100 years. Since the beginning of modern times, famous artists and writers have lived in Kamakura, and it has become the stage for several dramas and novels. Even today, there are many old shrines, historic sites, and cultural properties in Kamakura. There are more than 100 temples and shrines. In addition to famous Tsurugoka Hachimangu Shrine and Kotokuin Temple known for the Great Buddha, there are many small temples and shrines. Let’s explore together the historical city Kamakura!
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
This is a torii gate to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine at the beginning of January. Tens of thousands of people visit this shrine to wish their dreams come true. I also visit this shrine every year to wish the health and happiness of my family.
You can see two Chinese characters at the entrance gate. They mean “Happy New Year!”.
Great Buddha is a national treasure and located in Kotokuin Temple. It is unknown when this temple was established, but it is said Great Buddha was made in the 13th century. It sits in the open air. Its height is about 11 meters and weight is about 121 tons.
You can go into the Buddha if you like. This picture shows the inside of the Buddha. The hole at the left is the head of the Buddha. You are now in the national treasure!
It is said that Hasedera Temple was established in 736. Its principal image of the Buddha is a Kannon Bodhisattva which has eleven faces. It is about 9 meters tall and one of the biggest wooden statue in Japan. Sorry, no pictures because taking pictures is prohibited in the Kannon hall.
This temple is also known as “flower temple”. You can enjoy beautiful flower viewing according to seasons. Above are hydrangea and iris.
You can also enjoy beautiful ocean view from a lookout. I like this scenery very much because it’s so beautiful!
This temple was founded in 1334, and is truly Zen temple which has a beautiful and relaxing bamboo forest. It is also called “bamboo temple”. Staying inside the bamboo forest will make your heart very peaceful.
Surrounding by the bamboo forest you can enjoy Japanese matcha tea. This is the tea house you can enjoy it.
I like matcha served with small Japanese sweets!
Saint Nichiren, a founder of Nichiren sect of Buddhism, came to Kamakura for his missionary work in the middle of the 13th century, and built a small house at this place. But it was burned down by monks and samurai in Kamakura. After that he built a small temple. It is said this small temple is the origin of Myohoji Temple.
Because there are beautiful moss stone steps in the precincts, it is said to be a “moss temple”. It’s so beautiful!
Sugimotodera Temple is a temple of Tendai sect of Buddhism. It is the oldest temple in Kamakura, and was built in 734 by Saint Gyoki nearly 500 years before the Kamakura Shogunate opened. On the night of November 23, 1189, a fire broke out, but the three main images avoided the fire under the big cedar tree, so they were called “sugi-moto-kannon” meaning “kannon under the cedar tree”.
They have beautiful moss stone steps with white flags at the entrance of the temple.