The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura


2017.11.27

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

  • Kamakura is a town simply overflowing with stunning temples, but one sight you can’t miss when you’re in the area is Hasedera, the legendary temple famous for being the home of an eleven-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Sitting at an impressive 9.18 meters tall this gilded wooden statue has been recognized as one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan, and the tallest wooden sculpture in Kamakura. Located in the Kannon-do Hall, legend says that this statue was carved from the same tree as the almost equally tall Kannon statue that lives at the Hasedera Temple in Nara Prefecture.

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    Hasedera is dedicated to the Jodo sect of Buddhism, which bases its teachings on the ideology that that everybody can achieve salvation by believing strongly in the Buddha Amida. Founded in 1224, this specific practice of Buddhism continues to have millions of followers to this day. Beyond its regular worshippers, the temple also draws visitors from all walks of life looking to experience Kamakura’s rich spiritual history and the temple’s impressive traditional style architecture. Adjacent to the main hall sits the Kannon Museum, a small exhibition space that displays some of the temple's most precious treasures including a temple bell and a picture scroll. Entry does require a small fee, however if you’ve made the journey to Hasedera it’s worth entering as it’ll provide more context to your experience. Though explanatory signs are in Japanese, there is an English pamphlet with basic explanations is available.

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    The temple itself sits about halfway up Mount Kamakura, on the southwest side of the city of Kamakura. The seven buildings that make up the temple complex sit over the popular neighboring Yuigahama beach commanding a rather impressive panoramic view of the town and its surroundings. There is also a small restaurant where Japanese sweets, meals and beverages are served for those who want to take a break a really soak up the incredible views of the city.

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    Beyond the temple there’s plenty more to explore when visiting Hasedera. Welcoming visitors at the entry of the temple is a tranquil garden with ponds populated by a healthy family of brightly colored koi fish. There’s also a small temple hall in the garden that’s dedicated to Benten who is known as the goddess of feminine beauty and wealth. Spend some time walking around the grounds to discover a collection of sculptures of Benten and other famous gods that call Hasedera home.

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    Hasedera sits an easy five-minute walk from Hase Station, one of the major stations for sightseeing in Kamakura and the third station from Kamakura station on the Enoden railway line. So getting to Hasedera by foot from the station is the easiest option. Travelling along the coast, the Enoden is a streetcar style train that connects Kamakura to the main sites in the area including Enoshima and the city of Fujisawa. The Enoden terminal station in Kamakura is situated just next to JR Kamakura Station, so if you’re staying in the area or just visiting for the day, switching to this sightseeing line is a breeze.

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    The Hasedera Temple of Kamakura

    Hase(Kanagawa)
    place
    Kanagawa Pref
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    Hasedera Temple
    rating

    4.5

    7 Reviews
    place
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Hase 3-11-2
    phone
    0467226300
    opening-hour
    8:00-17:00[Oct.-Feb.]8:00-16…
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