Kenchō-ji, Kamakura

Kenchō-ji is a Rinzai Zen temple in Kamakura, which ranks first among Kamakura's so-called Five Great Zen Temples and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan.

Kamakura is a seaside Japanese city just south of Tokyo. The political centre of medieval Japan, modern-day Kamakura is a prominent resort town with dozens of Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines.

Kencho-ji (28)

Here is the starving Buddha at Dharma Hall. It was rather amazing taking photos here without a flash, yet the shots came out much brighter than what we were seeing with our own eyes.

Built by Hojo Tokiyori in 1253, Kencho-ji Temple is one of the “Kamakura Gozan (top 5 temples),” and the first Zen temple in Japan.​ ​ From Yokohama station, take JR Yokosuka line and exit Kita-kamakura station or Kamakura station​ ​(about 20 minutes from Yokohama)​ ​​ ​then a 15 minute walk from Kita-kamakura station​.​ We actually took the train from Tokyo station which adds another 40 minutes. You really need to put aside the whole day as there are other temples and shrines to visit. I strongly urge you to also visit Enoshima, take the smaller private line to Fujisawa then walk across the 600 meter bridge to Enoshima. This is where Japan will host the 2020 Olympic sailing competition.

Ok, back to the fabulous Kencho-ji Temple​ with it’s breathtaking statues and buildings.​

Hatto (Dharma Hall) at Kencho-ji Temple​ in the above photos, was built in 1814 and is the largest Buddhist wooden structure in Eastern Japan.

Above ​is Kara-mon (Chinese-style gate)​ it​ was recently restored as it was when built in the 17th century to re-establish the ancient glory of this old temple.​ I particularly like the pots of Lotus on display, ​the Japanese just know how to create a charming vision.

This will go down as one of the most enjoyable days I have ever spent in Japan. The tree you see in the photos below is a 750 year old Juniper and is a Japanese national treasure.

Here is my photo blog on Kencho-ji.

​In Tokyo I recommend the Hotel Granbell at Shibuya.

Review by David Herd –