か is for Kaizo-ji

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Just six hundred metres from Eisho-ji is a temple that blooms year round. Kaizo-ji, founded in 1394, is most famous for its bush clover, which blooms in September. The temple, of the Kenchoji school of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, is also a great spot for plum-blossom viewing and koyo (fall foliage).

Behind the main temple building is a large garden with a pond. Though it’s not often open to the public, visitors can see the garden from the yagura (cave tombs) to the left of the main shrine building.

Another building houses the main objects of worship (Yakushi Nyorai among others), which are on display rather than locked up like at some other temples.

Near the yagura is a path that leads to a grotto with sixteen small wells, each roughly 40 centimetres deep and 70 centimetres in diameter. What were the wells used for? The Kamakura Today website says the following:

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What were those wells used for? Nobody knows for sure. The established view by the archaeologists is that they were used for burying ashes of the departed, but the Temple denies it saying each well represents a Bosatsu or Bodhisattva and the sacred water was dedicated to those Bosatsu.

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Established: 1394

Pilgrimage: Kamakura 33 Kannon Pilgrimage (temple # 26)

Kamakura 24 Jizo Pilgrimage (temple #15, however, the building that  houses the Iwafune Jizo is not on the main Kaizo-ji grounds, but rather a short walk away.)

 

Iwafune Jizo (磐船地蔵)

か is for Kakuon-ji

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In her book, Kamakura: Fact and Legend, Iso Mutsu calls Kakuon-ji a “venerable temple of unimposing exterior.” It is indeed quite simple on the outside (though wonderfully peaceful), but inside it houses a number of statues and other items, including two national treasures (the Yakushi Sanzon and the Black Jizo).

While the outer grounds are free to wander, getting a chance to see the temple’s treasures requires joining a tour for about ¥500. The tour takes roughly 50 minutes and is in Japanese. It’s only offered a handful of times a day, and not at all during certain times of the year (August, end/beginning of the year, rainy days), so make sure to google or contact the temple if you’re determined to join. Please note that photography is not allowed.

Founded: 1296 (built on the site a Buddha hall established in 1218)

Festival: Black Jizo festival, August 10

Trivia: Kakuon-ji is home to the Black Jizo, which is Jizo #3 of Kamakura’s 24 Jizo pilgrimage.