What to Expect
A-1 Engaku-ji is famous for its two national treasurers:the Grand Bell cast in 1301 and the Relic Hal that is believed to hold Buddha's tooth. The temple is internationally famous as a Zen temple. Zen meditaion is open to beginners including foreigners on Saturday afternoon. I have some interesting legends about the temple to tell you.
A-2 Take pictures at the impressive Jyochi-ji entrance. In the main hall you'll see three worlds' Buddhas representing the past, present and future. Rub the statue of Hotei or God of Happiness to get energy and happiness.
A-3 As you approach Meigetsu-in, you'll smelll the fresh green fragrance in the eraly summer. Visitors also take pictures of beautiful blue flowers.
In the fall you'll enjoy the autumn leaves in the back garden, which is open to the public twice a year(entry costs an additional ￥500).
A-4 At Kencho-ji Temple you see 700-year-old juniper trees grown form seeds sown by a founder priest from the Song Dynasty, a big bell, another national treasure and a dragon painted on the ceiling of the hall. Walking straight on the ground, you'll hit the statues of long-nosed goblins at the start of the hiking trail. The linear arrangement of buildings is peculiar to Zen religious complexes.
B-5 There are many spots of interest here! Walk on "Dankazura Approach", see the stump of the fallen big ginkgo tree of 1,000 years old, offer a prayer at the main hall, draw an oracle, write a votive tablet, look over the view of the downtown Kamakura and lots more. Yes, this is the must place to visit.
B-6 Jyomyo-ji is ranked 5th among Kamakura's 5 Great Zen Temples. The beauiful copper-roofed main hall comes into your sight. At Kisen-an, a tea ceremony house, a hostess will serve you a cup of 'Maccha', powdered green tea(700 to 1,000 yen). It's a great experience to sip "Maccha" while admiring the rock garden.
B-7 It is said, "Wind in the bamboo leaves makes a memorable sound." What a relief! A tomb cave will attract your attention. This is an artificial cave to house the gravestones in the Middle ages.
B-8 Komachi-dori street runs parallel wih Wakamiya Oji street or Dankazura Footway. Shops on the sreet are selling ice cream, crepe, fans,chapsticks with your name printed, Japanese towels and so on. The exciting street is always flooded with many people.
B-9 Take a great snapshot with 13-meter-tall Great Buddha in the background. The statue is hollow and you may go inside the statue for only a 20 yen donation. He has been sitting outside for more than 500 years. He was restored last year. He looks cool right after his face lift.
B-10 Hase-dera Temple is famous not only for its 9-meter-tall Goddess of Mercy, but its beautiful garden,magnificent view,revolving bookshelves, bell tower and cavern. Touch the God of Wealth having a magic mallet. You may be rich.