Mini Buddha

Tokei-ji is deceptive.

After climbing up some steep steps, it may seem as though you’ve stumbled upon a small, boring temple, and you might think, “hmm… should have skipped this one.” But don’t give up and turn around–keep walking, and discover a gorgeous hillside world of emerald green, covered with tombstones and statues.

Tokei-ji also has an unusual history: it’s known as the Divorce Temple. Re-established in 1285 by the widow of Tokimune Hojo (and said to be founded by a woman called Mino no Tsubone in year unknown), it became a refuge for women seeking to flee difficult marriages. In exchange for temple service (originally three years of service, dropped to two years by Princess Yodo, daughter of Emperor Go-Daigo, 1318-1339), women could live safely away from their husbands, and, at the end of their period of service, receive a divorce.

Information from Kamakura: Fact and Legend, by Iso Mutsu. This is a fantastic guide to Kamakura’s temples and shrines, and is available on Kindle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s