Temples Of Japan

Enchanting Kamakura




Custom Search














Enoshima Island
Enoshima Island near Kamakura




Kamakura, located at the northwest end of the Miura Peninsula in the Kanagawa prefecture surrounded by mountains on three sides, while to the south it faces Sagami Bay.  It is a beautiful tourist area with approximate population of 170,000.  It also has a beautiful residential area and many (rich) people from various parts of Japan have second homes here, in addition to the local residents. 

Minamoto YoritomoKamakura, as a city is developed by the Minamoto family.  This family came to Kamakura, where Yoriyoshi Minamoto quelled a rebellion led by Tadatsune Taira. 

Minamoto Yoritomo
(First shogun of Japan)

The Minamoto family continued it's line down through Yoshiie, Tameyoshi, Yoshimoto, and Yoritomo.  Then, in 1180 Minomoto Yoritomo came out of the land of political exhile to defeat the Taira family.  After emerging victorious from his battle against Taira, he founded the Shogunate government in Kamakura and became the first Shogun of Japan. 


Later in 1185 Minamoto completely defeated the Taira Family in Dannoura in Nagato (present day Yamaguchi prefecture) and established the basis for a feudal political system controlled by the Samurai (the warrior class) which continued for 150 years during the Kamakura period and 300 years during the Tokugawa.  During this time as a result of contact with Chinese religious culture, a great number of temples and shrines were built in Kamakura.  The Samurai frequently began to move around this area because of political and military necessity.  As a result, the culture, economy, and transportation of eastern Japan rapidly developed and following a transfer from Kyoto and Nara, Kamakura becaue the new capital of Japan.

Kamakura is home to five historic Zen temples considered to be of the highest rank.  "Kamakura Gozan", as they are collectively known, includes Kenchoji, Engakuji, Jufukuji, Jochiji and Jomyoji Temples.  The practice of designating a set of the five holiest temples was borrowed from China together with Zen in the 14-15 centuries. 

 Kenchoji Temple
Kenchoji Temple
Engakuji Temple

Engakuji Temple
 Jochiji Temple
Jochiji Temple
 Jufukuji Temple
Jufukuji Temple
 Jomyoji Temple
Jomyoji Temple
 


In addition to these Zen temples, Kamakura is world famous for it's Kotoku-in Daibutsu ("The Great Buddha Temple") temple that was constructed in 1252.  Forming the historic center of the city is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.  Within the expansive precincts of this complex lie a trove of architectural gems from the city's early years, including the Hongu main shrine and the dance stage (in the main grounds).  As such the Kamakura Hasedera Temple is not to be missed while visiting Kamakura.  The Bando Pilgrimage (33 Kannon pilgrimage covering the Kanto region), starts with the Sugimotodera Temple in Kamakura.

Nearby Sugami Bay, is famous for it's panoramic views and Enoshima Island.  In addition to many visitor attractions, this Island has a beach that extends over five kilometers to the east and west of the shore facing the island, and is often referred to as the "Miami Beach of the East."  The beach has been one of the most popular swimming spots in Japan since the old days, and it remains a popular place in the Kanagawa prefecture to enjoy all kinds of marine sports.




It is easy to get to Kamakura from Tokyo.  If you carry a JR Pass you can take the JR Yokosuka line to Kamakura. 

Kamakura Access Map
Access Map to Kamakura



There are two stations known for the Kamakura destination, one is called JR Kita-Kamakura and second is JR Kamakura.  You can get off at Kita-Kamakura station and walk towards the central Kamakura, on a narrow road that consists many beautiful temples.  You can also get to Kamakura by Odakyu line from Shinjuku.

(Sources: Multiple tourist brochures from Kamakura Tourist Center).




Navigate to Next or Previous Buddhist Holy Site

  Enchanting Nikko >>>







Website Builder