2019年07月02日

'Tokei-ji' Buddhist Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, was an official enkiri-dera which means a safe haven for women seeking to flee from their violent husbands in the Edo period.

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The history of Tokei-ji started from 1285 as a nunnery, and the successive head priests had been the daughters of the Imperial family or powerful feudal lords. Japanese woman's social standing was relatively low in the feudal years, thus it was not easy for a wife to get a divorce from her husband. In order to rescue a woman from this distress, the then government designated two temples, Tokei-ji in Kamakura and Mantoku-ji in Gunma Prefecture, as official enkiri-deras. A woman who wanted to divorce her husband was able to do so, if she rushed into these special temples, to be more precise once she threw one of her belongings into the temple ground. After two-year volunteer work for the temple, the wife could lawfully divorce her husband. This temple enjoys variety of field flowers in all seasons. The picture shows the gravestones of the successive head priests from prestigious families.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 13:31 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2019年03月25日

'Hokoku-ji' Buddhist temple in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture, features remarkably beautiful bamboo forest.

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Talking about a bamboo forest, the one in Sagano in Kyoto is widely known, but a beautiful bamboo forest comparable with Sagano's can be found in Kamakura City near Tokyo. About 1 km west of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, an elegant Buddhist temple named Hokoku-ji Zen Temple stands in a quiet environment. This temple is not as big as 'Enkaku-ji' and 'Kencho-ji' Buddhist temple, both of them are the leading temples in Kamakura, however it was built in 1334 and is one of the oldest temples in this district. The ground of this temple is very well maintained, so that the visitors can enjoy the bamboo forest as shown in the first picture, dry landscape garden and old bell tower in the second picture while walking around the promenade. 'Maccha' powdered tea with Japanese sweet are available at a tea house in the bamboo forest. A little far from Kamakura Station though, this temple is worth visiting for all the people who have no time to visit Kyoto.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 20:06 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年12月23日

'Hasedera' Buddhist Temple in Kamakura, although the principal buildings of it were leveled in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, is one of the leading old temples in Kamakura.

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According to the oral tradition, a pair of Buddhist images were carved out of one big trunk of a camphor tree for the sake of Hasedera Buddhist Temple in Nara in 736. One image was for this temple and the other one was washed out to sea. 15 years later, the latter one drifted to the coast of Kamakura and the locals erected Hasedera in Kamakura to enshrine this miracle Buddhist image. This story is untrustworthy though, lots of evidence showing that this temple already existed in the 13th-14th century are found. One piece of those evidence is the inscription of the old temple bell reading that the bell was made in 1264 and the old name of this temple was 'New Hasedera'. The main image of this temple which is said coming all the way from Nara, is difficult to estimate when it was made since too many traces of repair works are found though, it seems to be carved in the 15th century. This temple is built along the hillside, accordingly you can enter from 'Sanmon' gate in the first picture to ascend a flight of the open-air stairs through beautiful gardens up to 'Kannondo' main building as shown in the second picture. The main image of this temple, about 9 meters high, which is one of the largest wooden Buddhist images in Japan, is enshrined in this building.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:15 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする