Engaku-ji Temple


2017.11.27

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

  • If you really want to dig deep into Kamakura rich historical roots, you can’t go past a visit to Engaku-ji temple. Regarded as one of the most important Zen Buddhist temple complexes in the nation and one of Kamakura’s most sacred sites, its powerful presence and stunning location, in the forested hills of Kita-Kamakura make it a popular destination for both tourists and visitors alike.

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Engaku-ji Temple

    The story behind the temple’s main figures is incredibly fascinating. Originally Engaku-ji was founded by the ruling regent, Hojo Tokimune in the year 1282. Hojo Tokimune was the eighth shikken and de facto ruler of the Kamakura shogunate and reigned between 1268–84. He was known most famously for spearheading Japan’s battle against the invasion of the Mongols and for spreading Zen Buddhism throughout the nation. Hojo Tokimune founded Engaku-ji, only one year after his guidance led Japan to prevent a second attempted invasion by the Mongols. The temple was built in order to pay respect to the fallen Japanese and Mongolian soldiers lost over the years of battle.

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Sadly a large portion of Engakuji's original constructions were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. So today a majority of the buildings that are still standing are in fact modern 20th century reconstructions, but they’ve stayed true to the temple’s original ethos. When you first enter the temple ground you’re welcomed by the Sanmon main gate, which dates from 1783, behind it sits the temple's main hall, named Butsuden, in here you can get up close with a wooden statue of the Shaka Buddha, one of Buddhism’s most iconic figures. Nestled a little deeper into the temple ground sits Shariden a stunning hall which houses an enshrined tooth of Buddha, which has been designated a national treasure. The temple also features another national treasure, a large bell called ‘ogane’, which is situated on a hill right by a traditional style teahouse that’s open to the public.

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Engaku-ji Temple

    The grounds of Engakuji are flooded with visitors during koyo (autumn) season, when the surrounding maple tree foliage transforms the area into a sea of red, gold and orange. The trees usually hit their peak in early December, which is a little later than many other parts of Japan. If you’re in the area during this time of year there’s no better way to really soak up the natural beauty of the area than by visiting the public teahouse and enjoying a cup of matcha and snacking on a few Japanese sweets while immersing yourself in the tranquil beauty of Engaku-ji temple.

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Engakuji is located just a quick 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station, which sits on the JR Yokosuka Line. If you’re travelling from Kamakura Station it’s one stop on the JR Yokosuka Line, just catch the train heading for Chiba, the trip takes about three minutes and costs 140 yen each way. If you’re coming from Tokyo, Catch the JR Yokosuka Line heading to Kurihama from Shinagawa station (on the JR Yamanote line). From Shinagawa the trip takes about 45 minutes and costs 720 yen each way.

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Engaku-ji Temple

    Kamakura
    place
    Kanagawa Pref
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    Engakuji Temple
    rating

    4.5

    500 Reviews
    place
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yamanouchi 409
    phone
    0467220478
    opening-hour
    [Mar.- Nov.] 8:00-16:30[Dec.…
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    Sanmon (Main Gate)
    place
    Kanagawa Kamakura-shi Yamanouchi
    phone
    0467220478
    opening-hour
    [yen Kakuji] 8:00-16:30 (Dec…
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    Shariden
    place
    Kanagawa Kamakura-shi Yamanouchi
    phone
    0467220478
    opening-hour
    [yen Kakuji] 8:00-16:30 (Dec…
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    Kita-Kamakura
    place
    Kanagawa Pref
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