Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Kamakura

Kenchō-ji

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,...

Top ChoiceMonument in Kamakura

Daibutsu

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...

Top ChoiceShinto Shrine in Kamakura

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū

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...

Top ChoiceShinto Shrine in Kamakura

Zeniarai-benten

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...

Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Engaku-ji

Engaku-ji

Engaku-ji is one of Kamakura's five major Rinzai Zen temples. It was founded in 1282 for Zen monks to pray for soldiers who lost their lives defending Japan against Kublai Khan. All of the temple structures have...

Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Hase-dera

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...

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...

Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Jōmyō-ji

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...

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...

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...

Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Tōkei-ji

Across the railway tracks from Engaku-ji, Tōkei-ji is famed as having served as a women's refuge. A woman could be officially recognised as divorced after three years as a nun in the temple precincts. Today,...

Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Enoshima-jinja

On Enoshima Island, a popular date spot connected by road to the Shōnan Coast, a steep cobblestone lane (or the escalator if you prefer) leads to this shrine to the sea goddess Benzaiten. There are separate entry...

Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Hōkoku-ji

This Rinzai Zen temple is popular for its small forest of towering mōsō bamboo, within which you can relax under a shelter with a cup of matcha and sweets (¥500). It's down the road from Sugimoto-dera, on the...

Museum in Kamakura

Kamakura National Treasure Museum

This museum displays an excellent collection of Kamakura religious art and statuary. Some are the typically peaceful Jizō (Buddhist patron of travellers, children and the unborn), others more gruesome, like the...

Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Sasuke-inari-jinja

This Shintō shrine, dedicated to the fox spirit Inari and strewn with thousands of tiny fox totems, is located in woodland along Kamakura's Daibutsu Hiking Course.

Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Sugimoto-dera

This small temple, founded in AD 734, is reputed to be the oldest in Kamakura. Climb the steep steps up to the ferocious-looking guardian deities and statues of Kannon. Take a bus from stop 5 at Kamakura Station...

Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Kamakura-gū

This shrine was built in 1869 on the order of Emperor Meiji to enshrine the spirit of Prince Morinaga, who was imprisoned and executed at this location in 1335.