Sunday, February 2, 2014

Zen Temple, Engakuji Temple @ Kamakura

Engakuji Temple was founded in 1282 to console the spirits the war-dead in the battles against Mongolia when Tokimune Hojo had ruled the country as Kamakura Shogun. The founder of the temple is a famous Zen Master, Mugaku Sogen. Shariden and the grand temple bell are both designated as national treasure.
The Temple site is very big and many places to see around. At least 1 hour is needed for sightseeing. We visited there in the late November and the colored leaves were very beautiful and it was full of tourists. The temple is located in front of Kitakamakura station.
Going up the stairs, you will see the Main Gate which was huge and magnificent. Some of the great names in literature wrote about this gate.

The Main Hall is new because it was reconstructed in 1964. You can see the statue of Buddha and white dragon drawn on the ceiling at the same time.

Kojirin is on the west side of the Main Hall. Zen meditation sessions are held for the general public. The sessions are held on every Saturday afternoon and the beginners also can attend them. (But no English sessions) If you are interested, check with the temple!

Hojo was originally the quarters for the abbot but is now used for various functions such as Buddhist memorial services, Sunday Sermon Meetings, Zen Meetings, various workshops and even charity concerts of Engakuji Temple. There are about 100 statues of Goddess of Mercy in the courtyard.  

Walking more inside of the precinct, there is Shariden. The Shariden is a sacred hall that holds a tooth of the Buddha. The beauty of this building's architecture has led it to be designated as a National Treasure. Since it is not open to the public due to Buddhism training, you only can see from the gate.

Engakuji Temple
409 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa (In front of Kamakura station)
TEL: 0467-22-0478
Mar - Nov 8:00 ~ 16:30
Dec - Feb 8:00 ~ 16:00
Admission: JPY300 
Experience Japan!

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