The incredible Engaku Ji entrance building build in wood in the city of Kamakura; Shutterstock ID 450122116; Your name (First / Last): Laura Crawford; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: BiA: Takayama, south of Tokyo POI images for online

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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 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-oriented public zazen sessions every Saturday at 1.20pm, and daily early morning 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.

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