Engakuji temple is located in Kamakura district of Kanagawa prefecture. It is situated on the famous narrow pathway between Kamakura and Kita Kamakura called Kamakura Kaido. It is actually closer to the JR Kita Kamakura station and can be reached in a few minute walk from the JR Kita Kamakura station.
Engakuji temple has eighteen branch temples in it's precincts in addition to Jochiji, Tokeiji and Zuisenji temples nearby. Seven hundred years ago, Japan was attacked twice by Mangolia (Yuan dynasty China). It was one of the most trying times for the people of Japan. The ruler of Kamakura at that time, Hojo Tokimune, who has been a practictioner of Zen Buddhism, relied on his religion and study of Zen Religions practices to see him and his people through these trying times.
Engakuji Temple Seal
The source of Hojo Tokimuni's strength was the Zen teachings of a Chinese monk called Mugaku Sogen (Bukko Kokushi). After the Japan as a nation stood together and beat back the Mongolians (aided by two large Typhoons, which wiped out the Mangolian navy crossing the ocean, which was later revered by the Japanese Shinto followers as "Kamikaze", the wind god) ruler Hojo Tokimune, wanted to build a place which will serve as a memorial for the poor souls who lost their lives on both Japanese and the Mangolian side during this war. That is how this temple was born.
The temple was given the name of Engaku(ji) after Engaku-Kyo (The Sutra of Perfect Englightenment) dug out of the selected building site, in a stone chest.
Here is a video of the Engakuji Temple:
Like many other old Japanese temples, Engakuji also encountered fire several times in it's existence. Also, it's importance as a Zen school has decreased gradually until the Edo period. But a Zen priest by the name of Seisetsu appeared at the end of the Edo Era (1603-1867) and reconstructed the monstery to consolidate the foundation of the present Engakuji. He maintained the austere atmosphere for trainees, carrying out the reform of the sect.
Being located in a calm environmen within easy access from Tokyo Metropolis, Engakuji has allowed deep peace of mind to visitors. It also provides summer courses in Zen practices to general public.