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, there are no nuns; the grave of the last abbess can be found in the cemetery, shrouded by cypress trees.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kamakura attractions

1. Jōchi-ji

0.13 MILES

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…

2. Engaku-ji

0.25 MILES

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…

3. Ennō-ji

0.57 MILES

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…

4. 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…

5. Zeniarai-benten

0.68 MILES

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…

6. Sasuke-inari-jinja

0.84 MILES

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…

7. Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū

0.88 MILES

Kamakura's most important shrine is, naturally, dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war. Minamoto no Yoritomo himself ordered its construction in 1191 and…

8. Kamakura National Treasure Museum

0.97 MILES

This museum displays an excellent collection of Kamakura religious art and statuary. Some are the typically peaceful Jizō (Buddhist patron of travellers,…