Kamakura Blog 2020

じ is for Jomyo-ji

At its peak, Jomyo-ji must have been incredible. That's not to say that it's not a beautiful spot now — it is, and very peaceful, too. But in 1386, it was comprised of seven buildings and 23 pagoda. Iso Mutsu writes that "in bygone days Jomyo-ji was one of the five most prominent temples of … Continue reading じ is for Jomyo-ji

す is for Sugimoto Dera

Dating to 734 CE, Sugimoto Dera is considered Kamakura's oldest temple — and it looks the part. The stairway going from the niomon to the hondo is uneven and moss-covered, and the grounds have an earthy, ancient feel to them. The primary object of worship at Sugimoto Dera is Kannon-sama. The temple is home to … Continue reading す is for Sugimoto Dera

くis for Kuzuharaoka Jinja

Kuzuharaoka Jinja (sometimes referred to as Kuzuharagaoka Shrine) owes its existence to the execution of Hino Toshimoto, a scholar famed for his poetry. Hino, a court official loyal to Emperor Go-Daigo, was twice caught plotting to overthrow the Kamakura Shogunate. Though released the first time, he was found guilty and sentenced to death the second … Continue reading くis for Kuzuharaoka Jinja

か is for Kaizo-ji

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 … Continue reading か is for Kaizo-ji

か is for Kakuon-ji

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 … Continue reading か is for Kakuon-ji

か is for Kamakura-gu

Kamakura-gu is one of Kamakura's newer shrines, having been founded in 1869 by Emperor Meiji. The spirit of the shrine goes back much further, however, as it was established in memory of Prince Morinaga, who was imprisoned in a cave on the property for seven or eight months before being beheaded in 1335. While the … Continue reading か is for Kamakura-gu

Kids’ Play Between Kamakura and Hakone: Odawara Wanpaku Land

The oft-visited Kamakura-Hakone stretch isn't terribly child-friendly outside of the summer beach season. Kids get bored with temples and shrines, and wandering the omiyage streets of hot-spring towns gets pretty old, pretty fast. Luckily, there are a few spots that provide ample opportunity to play, and that will, with any luck, fill kids' "play tanks" … Continue reading Kids’ Play Between Kamakura and Hakone: Odawara Wanpaku Land

お is for Onari Shotengai

  Onari Shotengai, out the west side of Kamakura Station, doesn't get much press, being overshadowed by Komachi Dori, the shopping street out the east side. But it has a lot going for it. The past year or so has seen quite a few new shops open along the shopping street, including cafes, jewellery shops … Continue reading お is for Onari Shotengai

お is for Ofuna Kannon

We're finally leaving え, though I'm guessing we'll be back again eventually. So many え... But onto お we go. Ofuna is a funny city, half of it being in Yokohama-shi and half being in Kamakura-shi. Luckily for us and our kana series, the Ofuna Kannon is on the Kamakura side. Kannon-sama is the goddess … Continue reading お is for Ofuna Kannon