Skip to main content

How to Properly Enjoy Kamakura Part 14: Kenchoji Temple 建長寺

Why visit here?

1) The largest temple nearest Kita-Kamakura Station, so if you have a little time then visit Kenchoji.
2) You want to visit the First among Kamakura's Five Great Zen Temples and the head temple of the Rinzai Sect of Buddhism.
3) You have an interest in Buddhism and Zen.
4) You love wooded and venerated statuettes.
5) One of the most important training grounds for Zen monks.


Let's first start with a quote from Master Rinzai who said: "If you know fundamentally that there is nothing to seek you have settled your affairs. But because you have little faith you run about agitatedly seeking your head which you think you have lost. You cannot stop yourself".

Being in the right mind set and understanding a little about the teachings of Rinzai and Zen can you have an even greater appreciation for Kenchoji Temple.


When I enter Kenchoji from the tourist perspective I am impressed by massive wooden structures.



This temple is 1 Kilometer south of Kita-Kamakura Station, and you are walking up a mild incline along a narrow road you share with others.  Gets tight.   You'll see this gate off to your left.  Walk through it and proceed to the entrance.


The first founding priest of this temple was a Chinese man named Rankei Doryu.  Rankei and 13 of his disciples were invited to Japan by a Regent of the Kamakura Shogunate to establish Chinese Zen teachings.


These incense sticks cost anywhere from 50 yen to 100 yen.   You light them in this holy fire.

Then stick them in this cauldron.  All temples have them.   The smoke you wave into your face for affect and a blessing.



When you approach the center beyond the cauldron, you'll see an offering box.  You can drop small coins inside.  ( 5 yen or a 10 yen coin).    Whenever you visit a temple never clap your hands when you pray.   You clap at shrines.  Temples you simply put your hands together and bow to the main hall and silently pray.   When you enter and exit the temple gates you do the same thing.

There are about 26 points of interest here at Kenchoji and if you were to see everything could take you up to 90 minutes or more.   This post gives only some basic information.   You take from it what you experience after you visit, but for sure, if you have an interest in the above reasons for visiting this temple you will be impressed.

________________________________________________________________________

Shaka Nyorai

Famous Fasting Buddha from Pakistan

Unryu-zu
This dragon on the ceiling was painted in 2003 by Mr. Junsaku.  It's located in the Hatto Hall.

Another  artifact is this Pakistani diety once a real living mystic who is shown in great detail.  Another note are the Junipers.  We grow these in the U.S. naturally and in other parts of the world.   The ones here at Kenchoji are 750 years old and are dedicated as Natural Treasures from China as seedlings now fully grown.  

This temple is huge, so lugging photo gear is not recommended, but needed in some areas like the Ryuo-den in the back.   Most tourist record everything instead.   There are about 9 points of interest, make sure you visit the Hanso-bo if it's open and the Garden all located at the far end of the temple.  Check out the Tokugetsu-ro and Oshinkaku.  

Lastly, if you feel hungry you can try Kencho-Jiru a type of traditional soup made for monks.  You can read the description in English.   This was an excellent dish on a cold day.



Tofu, vegetables, sesame oil




Just across the street from Kencho-ji Temple is this restaurant called Kenchiro.   Enjoy!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  





Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japanese Girls: A Sex(quisition)

While writing this, I was listening to "Going Through Changes" by Eminem

No, I haven't lost any love for momma, Japanese Jukujo that is, and yes, I do have a special place in my heart for young Japanese women, too. 

But then....then I glance over and there's a momma, a delectable Japanese Jukujo momma.  Fully rounded, and fully figured and fair healthy skinned.  Full fine silky muff fujii mounds. 

From this point I feel I need to qualify my remarks more thoroughly, though, especially when referencing women in general.   Firstly, it cannot be denied that there are beautiful women all over the world and from a variety of different backgrounds.  Women are people. However, in this essay I would like to take it a little further.

For me, living in Japan I have created a world unto myself so to speak.  I believe that some people create reasons for doing things, more so than there actually being a real need for doing said things, while others drift along accepting any an…