This is one of the most renowned attractions of Kamakura. We took a train to Hase Station, and walked about 5-10 minutes. This statue is a national treasure, and it was constructed in 1252. It originally was housed inside a building (which was later washed away by a tsunami at the end of the 15th century), and since then, this statue has remained outdoor.
The statue is 13.4 m tall (including its pedestal), height of the cast is 11.3 m and it weighs approximately 121 tons.
To visit the interior of the statue, there is an admission fee of 20 Yen. Admission ticket to see this statue costs 200 Yen per person.
This pond (Myokochi Pond) is designated as a 'Place of Scenic Beauty' by the government. On the bank beyond the pond is the Kotogan Rock, which translates in the 'Tiger Head Rock'. When we were there, we saw a crane in the pond, looking at its own reflection.
This is the famous Sanmon Gate of the Engakuji Shrine, which is often mentioned in Japanese literature. The Gate represents the three gates to emancipation, with san meaning 'three'.
This gate was rebuilt around 1783, is two-storied and has a roof covered with copper.
This Zen temple was named after Engaku-Kyo (The Sutra on Perfect Enlightenment), and was built in 1282. Admission costs 300 Yen for each person. The entire building premises are designated as a national historic site.
It is believed that its Sanmon Gate frees one of various obsessions and brings about enlightenment, and visitors should pass under this gate with a pure mind.
If you are looking for a pleasant day trip that simple to pull off, you might consider taking a train to the town of Kamakura. Kamakura is on the coast about 1 hour from Tokyo (leaving from Shibuya station). Kamakura has a feel of an older Japan, with it's many shrines and temples. The biggest attraction is probably the Great Buddha. Apparently the second largest in Japan.
There is also some nice shopping on the main street (right outside the station, and through the torii. I found some unique handbags there as well as some incredible pastries. Make sure you stop at some of the street-side cooks for some fresh made snacks.
The cost was about 890 yen from Shibuya to Kamakura Station
Hachiman, the war god and god of the samurais is honored at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine. This site has been moved here in 1180 by Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura government.
It is said that the shrine is host to various events, including the Yabusame, horseback archery, in April and September. I defnitely got a different feel of the place as we visited it on a rainy night, with just one or two local worshippers there.
There are many reasons why I love this temple - it has beautiful Japanese gardens; there's a cave; a nice tea house; a museum, a viewpoint of the coast of Kamakura; rows of jizos; and a magnificent wooden statue of the boddhisattva kannon with eleven heads. Indeed, there's so much to see in this one place alone. And this is why it's worth the visit.
The Hase Temple is houses the statue of Buddhist god/goddess of mercy, Kannon. At 9.18 meters, it is said to be the largest wooden sculpture in Japan.
less than an hour south of tokyo is the coastal town of kamakura, home to japan's second largest buddha statue, the daibutsu. the bronze statue, with a height of 13.35 meters, can really make a great impact to visitors. it used be inside a large temple hall but a tsunami in the late 15th century washed away all the buildings. the great buddha remained. surrounding the buddha are various stores selling buddhist items as well as souvenirs. it's a must-visit when in japan.
When going to Tokyo going to Kamakura is a good alternative in case you do not have enough time to visit Kyoto, but its still worth it even if you have that time.
The most famous sight is the Daibutsu - Great Buddha statue. But more of that later. Kamakura, a former capital of Japan, is a city full of old temples and shrines. I will describe the highlights, which are managable in a day.
When arriving from Tokyo it is convenient to get off at Kita-Kamakura station. After walking a little bit south you will find the Engakuji Temple (entrance 200 ¥), that hosts two National Treasures, a tooth of Buddha and a large bell casted in bronze. Whereas the builing hosting the tooth is the oldest Zen-building in Japan.
From there follow the train line south-east and after a short walk you will arrive at Kenchôji Temple (200 ¥). It has a elaborate gate as well as other fine temples and its grounds stretch far into the mountains behind it. Peculiar are probably the strange statues of Samurai that look like ducks found at the steps to the hillside.
Then if you go further south-east you will find the Tsurugaoka-Hachimangû shrine, the most important shrine in Kamakura, with nice views of the town as well as the sea. This shrine has lots of history and close-by is the grave of Minamoto Yoritomo, one of the most important shoguns in Japanese history.
From here follow the avenue of cherry trees to the main station where you take a Enoden train to Hase station. Hase-dera temple close to the station has a terraces with gardens and temples as well as nice views of the bay. More famous are the thousand of statues dedicated to aborted children. As lots of signs show you the way it won't be a big hassle to find Kôtokuin with the famous Amita Buddha.
For ending your trip take the Enoden Line again to Enoshima a cosy little islet.
For more information look at my upcoming Kamakura page
This one took me a long time to find because I got off at the wrong station, get off at Kamakura if you are taking the train, nothing with the an extension to the name, just KAMAKURA! :)
Anyway, this was quite something to see, a very old Buddah statue which has been sitting for hundreds of years in this spot has lost part of its structure but the main body remains fully intact. There is even a small area to go inside if you are interested. This is mostly for history people, if you have no interest in seeing a statue this isn't really worth it to you!
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