Kamakura attractions

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Kenchō-ji

Established in 1253, Japan's oldest Zen monastery is still active today. The central Butsuden (Buddha Hall) was brought piece by piece from Tokyo in 1647. Its Jizō Bosatsu statue, unusual for a Zen temple, reflects …
Top Choice Monument in Kamakura

Daibutsu

Kamakura's most iconic sight, an 11.4m bronze statue of Amida Buddha (amitābha in Sanskrit), is in Kōtoku-in, a Jōdo sect temple. Completed in 1252, it's said to have been inspired by Yoritomo's visit to Nara (where…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū

Kamakura's most important shrine is, naturally, dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war. Minamoto no Yoritomo himself ordered its construction in 1191 and designed the pine-flanked central promenade that leads from th…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Zeniarai-benten

One of Kamakura's most alluring Shintō shrines, which you can enter via tunnel or a trail above; it's located along the Daibutsu hiking trail. Washing money in the water here supposedly brings back three times the w…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Engaku-ji

One of Kamakura's five major Rinzai Zen temples, Engaku-ji was founded in 1282 as a place where Zen monks might pray for soldiers who lost their lives defending Japan against Kublai Khan. All of the temple structure…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Hase-dera

The focal point of this Jōdo sect temple, one of the most popular in the Kantō region, is a 9m-high carved wooden jūichimen (11-faced) Kannon statue. Kannon (avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit) is the Bodhisattva of infini…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Zuisen-ji

The grounds of this hillside Zen temple make for a blissful stroll in fine weather and include lovingly tended gardens laid out by Musō Soseki, the temple's esteemed founder. To get here, take the bus from stop 4 at…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Jōmyō-ji

This Tokasan temple of the Rinzaishu Kenchō-ji sect was originally a tantric Buddhist temple and converted to a Zen temple. The main reason to visit is for its atmospheric rock garden and teahouse where you can sip …
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Ennō-ji

Tiny Ennō-ji is distinguished by its statues depicting the judges of hell. According to the Juo concept of Taoism, which was introduced to Japan from China during the Heian period (794–1185), these 10 judges decide …
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Jōchi-ji

Founded in 1283 by Hojo Morotoki, Jōchi-ji is the fourth of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples. The main gate’s bell, on the second floor of the bell tower, was cast in 1340. Nearby is Kanro-no-ni, one of Kamakura’s …