Hōkoku-ji(報国寺)

Hōkoku-ji is a small Zen temple in Kamakura, world-famous for its bamboo grove of more than 2000 Mōsō bamboos. It is also called Take-dera (Bamboo temple) for that reason.

The temple was founded in 1334, a time of turbulence and unrest in Japan. The Kamakura shogunate had just been defeated, and the first Ashikaga shogun Takauji established his rule in Kyoto. Takauji’s grandfather, Ashikaga Ietoki, ordered Zen priest Tengan Ekō to found Hōkoku-ji. Just as the famous garden designer and Zen priest Musō Kokushi, Tengan was a disciple of priest Mugaku Sogen, the founding priest of Engaku-ji in Kita-Kamakura.

This temple became the family temple of the Ashikaga clan as well as the Uesugi clan. Both families shared the power in Kamakura. In 1439, the temple became the scene of a family drama: Shogun Yoshinori attacked Kamakura to re-establish his power in the east. The Kamakura ruler, Ashikaga Mochiuji and his son Yoshihisa were forced to kill themselves to escape capture. Hōkoku-ji is the place the 13 year old Yoshihisa chose for the ritual suicide by disembowelment better known as Seppuku (切腹) or Harakiri (腹切り) .

After the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, most buildings had to be rebuilt – none of the original structures remain. Still, old stone lanterns, gorinto gravestones and the yagura tomb caves make the thousand year old past come alive.

There is a small tea house hidden away behind the cool bamboo grove. For 600 yen, visitors receive a bowl of powdered green tea and traditional Japanese sweets. The carefully maintained Zen garden behind the main hall is also a nice place to rest and take in the atmosphere.

Contents of the eBook:
  • Introduction
  • History of the temple
  • Stone Lanterns, gorinto and Buddha statues
  • Bamboo in the garden
  • Plants in the garden
  • The Zen garden
  • The Tea garden
  • Yagura


12 pages filled with all necessary information about the garden and packed with
47 excellent garden pictures
8MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
Take the bus 鎌23 from the Kamakura main station. After 6 stops (about 8 min), get off at the bus stop Jōmyō-ji (浄明寺). From the bus stop, walk a few meters back, cross the street and walk straight ahead until you get to the gate of Hōkoku-ji temple.

Opening Times
9am – 4pm

Admission
300 yen for the bamboo garden

Address
7-4, Jomyoji 2-chome, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003

Erin-ji(恵林寺)

Erin-ji is a quiet Zen temple surrounded by the Yamanashi mountains. It was built in 1330, when Nikaidō Sadafuji the military governor of the Kai-no-kuni administration asked the Zen priest and garden designer Musō Soseki (夢窓 疎石), also known as Musō Kokushi, to found the temple.

At that time, it was a Rinzai Zen temple of the Engaku-ji branch. It was destroyed in the Ōnin war (1467-77), but rebuilt when the Takeda samurai clan appointed it to be their family temple. In 1541, it changed to be a temple of the Myōshin-ji branch of the Rinzai school. The famous daimyo Takeda Shingen (武田 信玄) is buried here.

It is quite surprising that you only see a few visitors in the temple, given its importance, size and beauty. There is a small dry landscape garden and a big pond garden. Especially the pond garden is impressive. The temple also features a nightingale floor whose wooden boards squeak, when a person (or ninja) tries to sneak up to the building.
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Contents:
  • Introduction
  • The monk and the garden
  • Cold fire and spiritual enlightenment
  • Architectural features of the temple
  • The Zen garden


10 pages, packed with
42 great Japanese garden pictures
in 14 MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
From Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo Line (中央線) to Enzan Station (塩山駅). With the Rapid train, this takes about 1hour and 25 minutes. From there take the bus and get off at the bus stop called “Erin-ji”.

Telephone
0553-33-3011

Address
2280 Oyashiki Enzan , Koshu City 404-0053

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am – 4:30pm

Customer’s Voice

I’d never heard of Erin-ji before I read this ebook. The pictures are stunning and I’m surprised the garden and temple are not more widely known because they look absolutely gorgeous! The book also had the perfect amount of history – enough to give you an understanding, but not so much that you felt overwhelmed. Gorgeous book and looking forward to reading more..and going to Erin-ji sometime, of course!

N.R.

Kenchō-ji(建長寺)

Kenchō-ji is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan and holds the highest rank in the Kamakura Five-Mountain system (五山). It was built in the Kamakura period (1192-1337), the construction was finished in 1273.

The layout of the temple follows the Chinese Ch’an (Zen) tradition, all the buildings are arranged on an axis. The garden can be found in the end of the temple complex, behind the Hōjō, the quarters of the head priest. Musō Soseki, a famous Zen priest, poet and garden designer, is said to have built the garden. The garden is a typical Zen garden, which uses few plants and materials. The pond in the garden reminds of the shape of the character 心, which stands for mind, heart and is an important element in Zen Buddhism.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • Historical background – Kamakura period
  • History of the temple
  • The temple and gardens
  • Flowers and plants in the garden
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Eating and Drinking
  • How to get there


14 pages
55 illustrations
21 MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
Kenchō-ji is a 15-20 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura Station when coming from Tokyo.
It can also be reached in about a 15 minute walk from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Address JP: 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内8
Address EN: Kanagawa-Ken Kamakura-Shi Yama-no-uchi 8

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am to 4:30pm

Engaku-ji  (円覚寺)

Meet the charismatic regent Hōjō Tokimune and Zen master Mugaku Sogen and eavesdrop on their Zen conversations. Mongol invasions, Buddha’s tooth, and a forgotten Sutra roll – the founding story of Engaku-ji temple gives you a direct insight into the military and political challenges of the Kamakura period.

Engaku-ji temple is the second most important temple in the Kamakura Zen temple mountain system. It is situated in North Kamakura (Kita-Kamakura 北鎌倉). The Kita-Kamakura station is actually on the former temple grounds and the train line cuts off the temple entrance and pond from the main grounds. It used to have 40 sub-temples, nowadays there are 18. The temple was named after a Sutra roll (a copy of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment) that was found in a chest unearthed when the construction works on the temple began in 1277. Engaku means „Perfect Enlightenment“ (円覚, engaku).

Actually, the temple was planned to be built for the Chinese Zen master Lanxi Daolong. Unfortunately, he died before the temple could be finished. Instead, Hōjō Tokimune decided that Engaku-ji temple was devoted to the victims of the battles against the Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281. Legend has it that white deer appeared on the temple grounds and listened to priest Sogen’s first sermon at the opening ceremony. This was interpreted as a good omen for the temple. Thus the temple received the mountain name ‘Auspicious Deer Mountain’ – Zuiroku-San (瑞鹿山). A mountain name (山号 – San-gō) is traditionally given to temples of the Zen school – one reason is to tell them apart easily, as some temples in different areas carry the same name.

Contents
Introduction
Historical background – Kamakura period
History of the temple
The temple and gardens
Jenny’s impressions
Eating and Drinking
How to get there
Literature

14 pages
56 illustrations
14.7 MB

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

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Directions

How to get there
Yama-no-uchi 409, Kamakura
神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内409

By train
Yokusuka Line between Kamakura and Tokyo, Kita-Kamakura station
The train stops directly in front of the temple. Another option is to take a long walk from Kamakura station to Kita-Kamakura.

Opening times
Apr – Oct 08:00 – 17:00
Nov – Mar 08:00 – 16:00

Entrance fee
300 Yen

http://www.engakuji.or.jp/index.shtml

Hasedera  (長谷寺)

A mystical kannon statue, hydrangea at full bloom, a modern dry landscape garden. This is the Hasedera temple in Kamakura, the probably second oldest temple in the city, also simply known as Hase kannon. It is the 4th station of the thirty-three Kannon pilgrimage in the Kanto area.

The Hasedera temple is most famous for its eleven-headed Kannon statue, which is over 9 meters high. The temple is of the Jodo school of Buddhism and is said to have been founded in 736.

The Hasedera garden and Hojo-ike pond can be found just behind the temple entrance while it is advised to climb until the top of the mountain to have a stunning view over the ocean.

Contents

Introduction
History of the temple
Buildings
-Kannon-dō
-Amida-dō
-Jizo-dō
-Benten-dō/ Benten-kutsu
-Daikoku-dō
-Inari-sha
-Kyōzō
-Shoin
Gardens
-Go-en Garden
-Mossy Pond Garden
-Hojo Pond Garden
Plants in the Garden
The Kannon Museum
Events
Restaurants & Cafes
Anika’s Impressions
Access & Gerneral Information
Around Hasedera

14 pages
31 pictures
17 MB / 24MB
2019

eBook will be delivered as pdf and mobi

 
 

Hasedera Video

Watch the Hasedera video here.

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Directions

How to get there
You can take a bus or the train from Kamakura station to get to Hase.
Kamakura bus number 4 (鎌4) takes you to the Hase-Kannon (長谷観音) bus stop in 7 minutes.

If you prefer to go by train, take Enoshima-Dentetsu line and get off at the third stop Hase station (長谷). It should take only 5 minutes.

If you are visiting the Great Buddha (Daibutsu, at Kotoku-in) in Hase, the temple is just a 10 minute walk away.

Opening times
March – September: 8am – 5pm
Otober – February: 8am – 4:30pm

Admission
300 yen

Address
11-2, Hase 3-chome, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016

Kenchō-ji  (建長寺)

Kenchō-ji is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan and holds the highest rank in the Kamakura Five-Mountain system (五山). It was built in the Kamakura period (1192-1337), the construction was finished in 1273.

The layout of the temple follows the Chinese Ch’an (Zen) tradition, all the buildings are arranged on an axis. The garden can be found in the end of the temple complex, behind the Hōjō, the quarters of the head priest. Musō Soseki, a famous Zen priest, poet and garden designer, is said to have built the garden. The garden is a typical Zen garden, which uses few plants and materials. The pond in the garden reminds of the shape of the character 心, which stands for mind, heart and is an important element in Zen Buddhism.

Contents:
Introduction
Historical background – Kamakura period
History of the temple
The temple and gardens
Flowers and plants in the garden
Questions for Hayano-San
Jenny’s impressions
Eating and Drinking
How to get there

14 pages
55 illustrations
21 MB

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

  •  Click to view details

Directions

How to get there
Kenchō-ji is a 15-20 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura Station when coming from Tokyo. It can also be reached in about a 15 minute walk from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Address JP: 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内8
Address EN: Kanagawa-Ken Kamakura-Shi Yama-no-uchi 8

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am to 4:30pm

Zuisen-ji (Flower Temple)  (瑞泉寺 (花寺))

Zuisen-ji is a small temple hidden away in the eastern mountains of Kamakura. The temple’s nickname is ‘flower temple’ and its flower garden in the front of the temple is the most beautiful in Kamakura. It is a branch of the Engaku-ji temple in Kita-Kamakura. Zen priest, poet and garden designer Musō Soseki founded the temple with the support of Nikaidō Dōun, a powerful lord of the Yamanashi area in 1327.

After walking up the steep way to the temple, you can enjoy a breathtaking outlook on the surrounding mountains while resting under a wisteria arbor. This spot is especially famous in autumn when the mountain forests turn a bright yellow, orange and red. The garden seems enchanted – it has lots of gnarled, moss covered trees, overgrowing flowering shrubs and scattered perennials that partially cover old stone lanterns and garden stones.

The rock zen garden in the back was created by its founder and garden designer Musō Soseki. A cave and a pond with islands were carved from the rock of the mountains. Closed for the public, a steeply ascending passageway leads up to the to a meditation arbor and view point.

The temples mountain name (San-go 山号) is Kinpei-zan (錦屏山). The direct translation is Brocade-Wall-Mountain. Zuisen-ji received it because the near mountains around the temple (like a wall) glow bright like brocade in autumn, when the leaves change their colors.

Contents
Introduction
Historical background – Fall of the Kamakura Shogunate and beginning of the Muromachi period
History of the temple
Musō Soseki
The temple and garden – Ichiran-tei, Zen rock garden, Yagura
Plants in the garden
Jenny’s impressions
Eating and Drinking
How to get there
Literature

14 pages
51 illustrations
27.4 MB

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Directions

How to get there
English: 710 Nikaidō, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0002
Japanese: 神奈川県鎌倉市二階堂710

Zuisen-ji is located in the far east of Kamakura, rather distant from Kamakura Station.

On foot
It takes about 45-50 minutes to reach Zuisen-ji by foot from Kamakura Station or about 30 minutes from Hachimangu Shrine. The temple can also be reached via the attractive Tenen hiking trail which starts at Kencho-ji and leads through the wooded hills north of Kamakura in about 60-90 minutes.

By bus
The closest bus station to Zuisen-ji is located at Kamakura-gu Shrine. Take the bus 鎌20 towards Ōtō-nomiya 大塔宮 (鎌倉宮Kamakura-Gu ) from bus stop number 4. Get of at the last stop and walk from there about 10-15 minutes.

Opening times, entrance fee
9.00-17.00, 200 Yen

Meigetsu-in  (明月院)

Every year in June, after the rain season has begun, and the air gets hot and damp, thousands of visitors from Tokyo and Kamakura surge to the Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-Kamakura. This is the time, when the temple’s ajisai (紫陽花), the hydrangeas, are in full bloom and look their best.

Meigetsu-in is now a temple of the Rinzai Zen school of Buddhism. It was founded in 1383 (Muromachi period) by Uesugi Norikata, a powerful statesman of the Uesugi clan.

Apart from the hydrangea, which gave the temple its nickname Ajisai-dera (紫陽花寺), it is famous for an excellent dry landscape garden and the round windows of the main temple buildings. Like all Kamakura gardens, it is also beautiful in autumn when the leaves change color.

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eBook Coming Soon…

Directions

How to get there:

Meigetsu-in is a 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura station when coming from Tokyo.

Admission
300 Yen, in June 500 Yen

Opening hours
9am-4pm, in June 8:30am to 5pm

Shōmyō-ji  (称名寺)

The Shōmyō-ji is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon school of Buddhism in Yokohama, Kanagawa-Ken. It was founded in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) as a family temple of the Hojo clan, the powerholders of the Kamakura period. The garden is laid out as a Pure Land Paradise garden with a pond that symbolizes the ocean that devided birth and death. The red bridge connects the world of Buddha with the human world.

Good cherry blossom viewing spot!

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eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
From Yokohama station, take the Keikyu Main line from platform 1 towards Keikyu-Kurihama. Get off after 16 minutes and 2 stop at Kanazawabunko station. From there, walk 500m in eastern direction, then turn north and walk 100 meters to get to the temple.

Opening times
9am – 4pm, closed on Monday

Admission
Free

Address
Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Kanazawa-ku, Kanazawachō, 212−1 称名寺金堂