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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 structures have been rebuilt over the centuries; the Shariden, a Song-style reliquary, is the oldest, last rebuilt in the 16th century. At the top of the long flight of stairs is the Engaku-ji bell, the largest bell in Kamakura, cast in 1301.

Engaku-ji also offers beginner-friendly, public zazen sessions from 5.30 to 6.30am April through October, and from 6am to 7am November through March. Instruction is in Japanese, but you can easily manage by watching everyone else; arrive at least 15 minutes early.