Ennō-ji is distinguished by its statues depicting the judges of hell. According to the Juo concept of Taoism, which was introduced to...
Ten-en Hiking Course
From Zuisen-ji you can access this trail, which winds through the hills for two hours before coming out at Kenchō-ji. From Kenchō-ji,...
Kamakura's most important shrine is, naturally, dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war. Minamoto Yoritomo himself ordered its...
Serving up hot, hearty soup, this humble soba spot is conveniently located on the route from Kita-Kamakura to Kamakura, just before you...
Lonely Planet review
Established in 1253, Kenchō-ji is Japan's oldest Zen monastery and is still active today. It once comprised seven buildings and 49 subtemples, most of which were destroyed in the fires of the 14th and 15th centuries. However, the 17th and 18th centuries saw its restoration, and you can still get a sense of its splendour. The central Butsuden (Buddha Hall) was brought piece by piece from Tokyo in 1647. Its Jizō Bosatsu statue, unusual for a Zen temple, reflects the valley's ancient function as an execution ground – Jizō consoles lost souls. Other highlights include a bell cast in 1253 and the juniper grove, believed to have sprouted from seeds brought from China by Kenchō-ji's founder some seven centuries ago.