(Translated by http://www.hiragana.jp/)
 Kitakamakura Area

Kita-Kamakura Area (1)
Engakuji Temple and its vicinities
(きた鎌倉かまくら 円覚寺えんかくじとその周辺しゅうへん)

EngakujiTemple (円覚寺えんかくじ) 

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Full name: Zuirokuzan (みず鹿山かやま) Engakuji
Denomination: Rinzai sect (臨済宗りんざいしゅう)
Location: Next to the east side exit of Kita-Kamakura Station on the Yokosuka Line.

History: Under the patronage of Hojo Tokimune (北条ほうじょう時宗じしゅう, 1125-84), the eighth regent, the temple was founded in 1282 for the repose of the souls of those who had died in the battles between Japan and the Mongol or Yuan (もと) dynasty of China.
      The Mongol forces invaded the northern part of Kyushu Island in 1274. Fierce battles were fought and many lives were lost. Finally, a storm which later came to be called Kamikaze or the divine wind, wrecked their ships, and drowned countless soldiers and sailors who had been on board. After a second attempt failed in1281, the Mongols gave up their ambition to controll Japan for ever. They were regarded as hateful enemies, but death was an equalizer, so the souls of the foe received due respect.

       The founding priest of Engakuji was Mugaku Sogen (無学むがくもと, 1226-86), a.k.a. Bukko Kokushi (ふつこう国師こくし), invited from China by Tokimune. Sogen arrived in 1279 and served at first as the fifth head priest of Kenchoji (建長寺けんちょうじ), and later, in 1282, presided as the founding priest of Engakuji.

engakuji12        The"Engaku" (まどかさとし) in the temple name 円覚寺えんかくじ is said to have derived from the fact that when construction work began in the grounds in 1277, a container was unearthed that held a scripture of the Engaku-kyo Sutra (まどかさとしけい). As for the"Zuiroku" (みず鹿しか,"Lucky Deer") in the sango, みず鹿山かやま, this was derived from the legend that when Sogen was giving his first sermon at the opening ceremony, a herd of white deer appeared unexpectedly and listened to him. This was thought to be a good omen. Associated with this legend is a shallow cave, Byakurokudo (しろ鹿しかほら), in the rear of the grounds.

       Sogen was highly admired for his courage and self-possession. When he was in China, the Yuan (もと) forces, in their attempt to conquer the Southern Sung dynasty (みなみそう), advanced into the area where Sogen had taken refuge in a temple called Noninji (のうじんてら). When soldiers broke into the temple and threatened to slay him, he calmly composed a four-line poem. In it, he deplored how the world had become so small that there was no space to rest his staff and he said he found no pleasure in knowing that both the law and humans are simple nothingness.
       He admonished the warriors to use prudence in drawing their swords and declared that should the soldiers behead a priest like him who sees that all is void, their action would amount to no more than brandishing a sword in the spring wind. The soldiers, it is said, withdrew in admiration.

       (The invitation extended to Sogen in 1279 was due to an unexpected event. Tokimune, in 1277, had already started the construction of a new temple. The regent had asked Rankei Doryu (らんけい道隆みちたか, 1213-78) at Kenchoji Temple to be the founding priest, but the sudden death of Doryu in 1278 brought the work to a stop until Sogen assumed the office in 1282.)

       Records tell of the great size of the temple: in 1283 more than 250 people lived here, including 100 priests and the same number of officials and workers. The Engakuji Keidai Ezu (円覚寺えんかくじ境内けいだい絵図えず), an illustrated map of the temple made between 1330 and 1342, shows that the Somon Gate (総門そうもん), Sammon Gate (山門さんもん), Butsuden Hall (仏殿ぶつでん), Hatto Hall (ほうどう, built in 1323), stood in a straight line, similar to the Zen-style formation of temple structures. There were more than 40 sub-temples within the grounds.

       Even after 1333 and the downfall of the Hojo who had supported the temple, Engakuji was able to maintain its prosperity under Muso Soseki (ゆめまどうとせき, 1275-1351), who was trusted by Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇ごだいごてんのう, 1288-1339) and the Ashikaga family (足利あしかが). However, successive fires almost consumed the temple and it fell into decline from the Muromachi period (室町むろまち時代じだい, 1336-1573) through the Edo period (江戸えど時代じだい, 1603-1867).
       In 1875, Imakita Kosen (今北いまきた洪川こうせん, 1816-1892) became the 202nd head priest and restored the temple to the status of one of the leading Zen training institutions in the Kanto region. In 1876, he became the first Chief Abbot of the Engakuji school of Zen Buddhism. Under Kosen, a number of eminent priests studied Zen here, among them Shaku Soen (しゃく宗演そうえん, 1859-1919) and Suzuki Daisetsu (鈴木すずき大拙だいせつ, 1870-1966). Soen became the 207th head priest of the temple and was very active. He was known even in America and attended the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Soen, Daisetsu, and other enthusiastic Zen priests played important roles in spreading Zen to the West.

       Natsume Soseki (夏目なつめ漱石そうせき, 1867-1916), the famous novelist and scholar of English literature in the Meiji period (1867-1912), visited the temple and practiced Zen meditation. This visit inspired his novel, (もん), The Gate, which was published in 1910.

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Grounds and structures: The grounds of Engakuji once extended to the bus road running in front of Kita-Kamakura Station. The Kita-Gemon (きた外門ともん), the North Outer Gate, of the temple was located where a police box now stands, and the Minami-Gemon (南外なんがいもん), the South Outer Gate, was located some 100 meters further south.
       The road between the two gates was once called Medo (馬道うまみち) Horse Road, where even a daimyo (大名だいみょう) lord had to dismount or step out of his kago (駕篭かご), palanquin. A roundabout road still remains beyond the raised ground to the west, and starts in front of the police box, running south some 100 meters.

       The formal approach is via Gomabashi Bridge (降魔ごうまきょう, Evil-Subduing Bridge) from the bus road. On the side of the bridge is a stone monument inscribed "大本山だいほんざん円覚寺えんかくじ," Daihonzan Engakuji. The temple gate approach bisects a pond called Byakurochi (白鷺しらさぎ), literally, "White Egret Pond," and the area is designated a Place of Scenic Beauty by the government. Legend has it that the deity of Tsurugaoka Hachiman, in the form of a white egret (shirasagi or byakuro, 白鷺しらさぎ), led Mugaku Sogen to the pond and that was how it acquired the name, Byakurochi. Unfortunately, construction of the Yokosuka Line in 1889 reduced the pond to almost half its original size.

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       Beyond the pond and the Yokosuka Line tracks is a flight of stone steps leading up to the Somon Gate (惣門そうもん). A wooden plaque hangs on the beam of the Somon Gate, bearing the inscription みず鹿山かやま, Zuirokuzan, the temple sango (山号さんごう), and the characters are in the handwriting of Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado (こう土御門天皇つちみかどてんのう, 1442-1500). The gate's wooden doors once belonged to the Outer Gate.

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       The massive Sammon Gate is beyond the stone steps lined with tall Japanese cedars. This gate, rebuilt around 1783, is two-storied and has a roof covered with copper. A wooden plaque under the eaves has the inscription まどかさとしきょうせいぜんてら Engaku Kosei Zenji in the handwriting of Emperor Fushimi (伏見ふしみ上皇じょうこう, 1265-1317), who at that time was already in retirement.

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       The Butsuden Hall (仏殿ぶつでん, Main Hall), beyond the Sammon Gate, is behind a stand of junipers. Rebuilt in 1964 after the original was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the hall is constructed of reinforced concrete. Its actual design, though, is an exact copy of an old plan from 1573, making it worthwhile to take a close look at the structure and details. The writing on a plaque above the front entrance reads だい光明こうみょう宝殿ほうでんDaikomyohoden and is in the hand of Emperor Go-Kogon (後光ごこうげん天皇てんのう, 1338-74).
       A seated statue of Hokan Shaka Nyorai (宝冠ほうかん釈迦如来しゃかにょらい Shakyamuni with a Jeweled Crown) in the center of the hall was made in the late Kamakura period (1185/92-1333). The attendants, Bonten (梵天ぼんてん) and Taishakuten (帝釈天たいしゃくてん), were made in 1692. On the ceiling is a painting of a dragon among clouds, Unryu no Zu (雲竜うんりゅう), painted by Moriya Tadashi (守屋もりや多々たたこころざし) under the supervision of Maeda Seison (前田まえだ青邨せいそん, 1885-1977).

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       A thatch-roofed hall Sembutsudo Hall (せん仏堂ぶつどう), which was built in 1699 as a place of Zen meditation and a sutra repository, is to the left of Butsuden Hall.  The Kojirin (居士こじりん), also a structure for Zen meditation, stands next to Sembutsudo. It is open to the public.  A Karamon Gate (とうもん), also called Chokushimon (勅使ちょくしもん), stands on the raised ground beyond. The term karamon refers to a gate with a gently curved gable, kara-hafu (唐破風からはふ). Kara means China, and hafu means gable, but the style is of Japanese origin despite the use of the word kara. The gate carvings are elaborate and worth a close look.

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       The Hojo Hall (方丈ほうじょう), the head priest's living quarters, stands behind the gate, and beyond the hall is a garden with a pond formed in the shape of the character "しん." The character is pronounced shin or kokoro (meaning heart), and a pond of this shape is called shinji-ike (心字池しんじいけ), "shin-character pond." In the Hojo Hall, temple treasures are displayed to the public in early November.   Myokochi Pond (妙香みょうこう), is further up to the left. This has been designated a Place of Scenic Beauty by the government. On the bank beyond the pond is Kotogan Rock (とらあたまがん), literally, "Tiger Head Rock.
       Further up are several sub-temples: Shozokuin (せいぞくいん) with its Shariden Hall (舎利しゃり殿どの), Butsunichian (ふつにちあん), and Obaiin (黄梅おうばいいん). All are worth visiting and are mentioned below in the section on sub-temples.

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       One of the notable features of Engakuji Temple is its bell, designated a National Treasure. It is located beside the Bentendo Hall (弁天べんてんどう) on the hillside to the right of the Butsuden Hall. The 2.6-meter-high bell was made by Mononobe Kunimitsu (物部ものべ国光くにみつ), a caster, by order of Hojo Sadatoki (北条ほうじょう貞時さだとき, 1271-1311), the ninth regent, and is inscribed, 正安まさやすさんねん (corresponding to 1301). The bell, typical of the Kamakura period, is the largest in the Kanto region. A waniguchi gong (鰐口わにぐち), literally "crocodile mouth," that hangs in the belfry, has the inscription 天文てんもんきゅうねん (corresponding to 1540) and is designated an Important Cultural Property by Kanagawa Prefecture. Bentendo Hall itself was built to commemorate a legend that says the bell was cast successfully, thanks to the divine protection of the Benzaiten on Enoshima Island.

The Sub-Temples, or Tatchu (塔頭たっちゅう)
       It is said that there were as many as 41 sub-temples, but only 17 remain, most of which are not open to the public. The following six subtemples are introduced.

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Shozokuin (せいぞくいん)
       Shozokuin is situated to the left beyond Myokochi Pond. Immediately to the right behind the gate are a hall and subsidiary buildings, which served as a sub-temple for Mugaku Sogen, the founding priest.
       The structures were transferred from Kenchoji Temple. In the same area are the Shariden Hall (舎利しゃり殿どの, a hall for the remains of Shakyamuni), designated a National Treasure; Kaisando Hall (Founder's Hall), which houses a statue of Bukko Kokushi (a.k.a. Mugaku Sogen); and a shumidan platform (須弥壇しゅみだん, a platform on which Buddhist images are displayed); and a hall for Zen meditation, Shobogendo (正法しょうぼうどう).
       The original Shariden Hall was built in 1285 by Hojo Sadatoki (北条ほうじょう貞時さだとき, 1271-1311), but burned down in 1563. The present-day structure was once the Butsuden Hall of a convent, Taiheiji (太平寺たいへいじ), in Nishimikado (西御門にしごもん), before being transferred to the present location. The structure is typical of kara-yo (唐様からよう, literally, Chinese-style architecture), which is also called Zenshu-yo (禅宗ぜんしゅうさま, Zen-sect-style architecture), and was introduced from China along with Zen Buddhism in the Kamakura period.
       The Hall has a thick, shingled roof with elaborate rafters and brackets, finely-worked doors, transoms and windows, and is often described as elegant, splendid and feminine. The relic of Shakyamuni enshrined in this hall was supposedly presented by Noninji Temple in China during the Sung dynasty

engakuji13 Butsunichian (ふつにちあん)
       Butsunichian is located next to Shozokuin on the same side. It is the mausoleum of Hojo Tokimune, the eighth regent, and later served as the mausoleum of the head family, tokuso (とくむね), of the Hojo.
       The Main Hall, built in the Edo period, houses three wooden statues: one each of Tokimune, Sadatoki, and Takatoki (こう, 1303-33, the 14th regent), all dressed as priests, along with a seated Eleven-faced Kannon statue. Within the courtyard are two other structures, one called Insokuken (けむりあしのき), the other Fukoan (顧庵). A tea ceremony is held on the fourth day of every month to commemorate the day Tokimune died.

Keishoan (かつらあきらあん)
      Keishoan is located immediately to the left from the Somon Gate. The hall, also called Juodo Hall (十王堂じゅうおうどう), is dedicated to Shosen Dokin (うけたまわせんみち欽). Statues of the Ten Kings in Hades, including Emma Daio (閻魔えんま大王だいおう), are enshrined. A drill hall for Japanese archery is attached.

Shoreiin (松嶺まつみねいん)
       Shoreiin is situated to the left between Keishoan and the Sammon Gate and is dedicated to Shukuetsu Zen'eki (よしえつぜん懌), the one hundred fiftieth head priest, who died in 1535. Originally, the sub-temple was called Fukanken (閑軒). There is a peony garden within the grounds. Arishima Takeo (有島ありしま武郎たけお, 1878-1923), a novelist, wrote the latter part of Aru Onna, (あるおんな, A Certain Woman), his best known novel, here. The graveyard is the resting place for some well-known personalities: Nakayama Gishu (中山なかやま義秀よしひで, 1900-69), a novelist, Kaiko Ken (開高かいこうけん, 1930-89), a novelist and essayist, Shimizu Kon (清水しみずこん, 1912-74), a cartoonist, Sada Keiji (佐田さた啓二けいじ, 1926-64), a film actor, and Tanaka Kinuyo (田中たなか絹代きぬよ, 1909-77), a film actress and director, to name only a few.

Obaiin (黄梅おうばいいん)
Obaiin is located at the end of a path that runs up toward the hills at the rear of the temple grounds. The structure was built for Muso Soseki by Hogai Koen (かたがい宏遠こうえん), Soseki's disciple. The Main Hall houses a wooden statue of Soseki and an image of Yakushi Nyorai (薬師如来やくしにょらい). At the far side of the courtyard is Kannondo Hall, also called Buzando (武山たけやまどう), which houses a statue of Kannon brought from China. The garden is small but worth visiting because of the abundance of seasonal flowers and blossoms.

Kigen'in (げんいん)
Kigen'in, dedicated to Ketsuo Zeei (すぐるおうただしえい), a.k.a. Butsukei Zenjin (ふつめぐみ禅師ぜんじ), is located on the hillside to the right from the Sammon Gate. References to Kigen'in are found in two novels: Haru (はる, Spring) by Shimazaki Toson (島崎しまざき藤村とうそん, 1872-1943) and Mon, (もん,The Gate), by Natsume Soseki. Both authors stayed here temporarily while writing their works. In Mon, Soseki vicariously confesses through the main character that he was unable to attain enlightenment.

Temple Treasures: Engakuji is a major repository of Buddhist treasures. These include items connected with Mugaku Sogen, the founding priest, and Hojo Tokimune, the founding patron, as well as paintings, sculptures, and objects used in Buddhist rituals. Old documents from medieval times, Engakuji Monjo (円覚寺えんかくじ文書ぶんしょ, Documents of Engakuji Temple), are well known and designated Important Cultural Properties. Of similar design are a wooden seated statue of Bukko Kokushi, several paintings of the Five Hundred Arhats (五百羅漢ごひゃくらかん), an incense burner, and letters by Hojo Tokimune. These treasures are not usually on display, but most of them can be viewed on November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, when they are aired.


Tokeiji Temple (東慶寺とうけいじ)

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Full name: Shokozan Tokeiji (まつ岡山おかやま 東慶寺とうけいじ)
Denomination: Rinzai Zen sect
Location: The temple is situated some 200 meters south of Kita-Kamakura Station.

History: The temple was founded in 1285 by Hojo Sadatoki (北条ほうじょう貞時さだとき, 1271-1311), the ninth regent and the son of Hojo Tokimune.
       The founding abbess was Kakusan Shido (さとしさんしむらどう, 1252-1306), the wife of Tokimune. She was also called Kakusan Ni (さとしやまあま). She became a nun and entered this temple as the founding nun when her husband, Tokimune, took the tonsure.
       A law called Engiridera-ho (えんきりてらほうtemple divorce code) is credited to her. (However, another theory regarding the temple founding says that Mino no Tsubone (美濃みのきょく), the aunt of Minamoto no Yoritomo (みなもと頼朝よりとも, 1147-99), founded the temple, and later, Kakusan Ni re-established it as a Zen temple.)

       In the olden days, a woman could not initiate a divorce unless her husband agreed, even though he might have been rough, violent, or inconsiderate. Thus, many women had to endure misfortune all their lives. To improve the situation, the temple was built so as to enable a woman to part from her husband on the condition that she stay here for three full years (later reduced to two) and observe the temple's rules to the letter.
       As soon as a woman entered the temple she was questioned about her entire situation by temple officials, and then her husband, father, and brothers were summoned through the headman of their town or village. All the parties concerned were questioned within the temple. When all present agreed that the couple should part, the husband wrote an oath to the effect that they were no longer husband and wife. Because many women fled to the temple to escape husbands in hot pursuit, the temple came to be called Kakekomidera or Kakeiridera, literally, Run-in Temple.

       After Kakusan Ni, other celebrated women succeeded to the position of abbess. The fifth abbess, Yodo Ni (ようどうあま, ?-1396), was the daughter of Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇ごだいごてんのう, 1288-1339), and an elder sister of Prince Morinaga (護良親王もりよししんのう, 1308-35), a.k.a. Moriyoshi. She is said to have entered the temple to pray for the repose of the soul of her brother, who was killed by Ashikaga Tadayoshi (足利あしかが直義ただよし, 1306-52). It was at this time the temple also came to be called Matsugaoka Gosho (松ケ岡まつがおか御所ごしょ).
       The 20th abbess was Tenshu Ni (天秀尼てんしゅうに, 1609-45), the daughter of Toyotomi Hideyori (豊臣とよとみ秀頼ひでより, 1593-1615) and granddaughter of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣とよとみ秀吉ひでよし, 1536-98). In 1615, she retired here after Osaka Castle, her home, was destroyed by Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川とくがわ家康いえやす, 1542-1616). (Earlier, in 1598, after Hideyoshi died, the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa became rivals for control of the country. The Toyotomi held themselves in Osaka Castle to fight off the Tokugawa, but eventually the castle was destroyed and many of the Toyotomi were killed. This was how Tokugawa Ieyasu brought about the unification of Japan.) In the Edo period, many women were granted refuge by the temple and the number, it is said, increased toward the end of the period.

       The temple owned large tracts of land in the Edo period, including the present grounds of Kamakuragu Shrine in Nikaido (二階堂にかいどう). As the tomb of Prince Morinaga was under the care of this temple, Kamakuragu Shrine was built in Nikaido in the Meiji period and dedicated to the prince.
       In 1903, Tokeiji was converted from a convent to a temple under Furukawa Gyodo (古川ふるかわたかしどう, 1872-1961).

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Temple Grounds: At the corner of the approach is a gatepost with the characters 松ケ岡まつがおか (Matsugaoka), which is another name for the temple deriving from the sango, 松岡まつおかさん (Shokosan). The temple is also popularly known as Kakekomidera (てら), "Refuge Temple" or Kakeiridera (てら), "Run-in Temple", and, additionally, Engiridera (縁切えんきてら), "Divorce Temple."
       By taking the approach lined with pine trees and a flight of stone steps, you will see a thatched Sammon Gate at the top. Beyond the gate to the left is a belfry. The bell, brought from Fudarakuji Temple (陀洛てら), bears the era name かんおう元年がんねん (corresponding to 1350).

       The Butsuden Hall, called Taiheiden (太平たへい殿どの), is built in the hogyo-zukuri style (方形ほうけいづくり), four equal sides and a square roof with the four slopes meeting in a point at the top. The Hall possesses statues of Shaka Nyorai, Kakusan Ni, and Yodo Ni.
       The Kannondo Hall, also called Suigetsudo (水月すいげつどう), houses images of Suigetsu Kannon (水月すいげつ観音かんのん) and Shotoku Taishi (聖徳太子しょうとくたいし, 574-622). The former, made in the Muromachi period, has an elegant and delicate demeanor, and is designated an Important Cultural Property by Kanagawa Prefecture.
       Further to the left is a treasure hall called Matsugaoka-hozo (まつおか宝蔵ほうぞう). Among the many fine items here is the statue of Sho Kannon (きよしかん - designated an Important Cultural Property), made under the influence of Sung (そう) China, with decorative clay patterns on its robe.
       Hatsune Makie Hitorimo (初音はつね蒔絵まきえ火取ひどはは), also an Important Cultural Property, is a pumpkin-shaped incense burner with six rounded sides and is presumed to have been made in the Muromachi period.
       Budo Makie Seibei-bako (葡萄ぶどう蒔絵まきえせいもちばこ), a rare item related to Christianity, is a box for the sacramental wafer and is designated an Important Cultural Property. It is a cylindrical, gold-lacquered mother-of-pearl container with an exotic design. On the lid are the letters (IHS,( an acronym for Jesus, with a flower designed in the shape of a cross and three thorns symbolizing the Passion, all encircled by a halo.
       Other objects are umpan (くもばん) - a gold-lacquered box, a painting of Tenshu Ni, some old documents, and written oaths of divorce.
       To the right on the hillside just after the treasure house is a library called Matsugaoka Bunko (まつおか文庫ぶんこ). It was built in 1941 and possesses materials related to the world-famous Zen Buddhist philosopher, Suzuki Daisetsu. It is not open to the public.

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       There are cemeteries at the rear of the grounds. One of them can be reached by taking the stone steps up the hillside to the right, and you will see tombs of successive abbesses: that of Tenshu Ni, the biggest in the center, and of Yodo Ni and Kakusan Ni in the caves behind. In another cemetery are the tombs of many celebrated persons: famous scholars, literary men and women, and business people.
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       Among them are Nishida Kitaro (西田にしだ幾多郎きたろう、philosopher, 1870-1945); Suzuki Daisetsu (鈴木すずき大拙だいせつ、philosopher, 1870-1966); Watsuji Tetsuro (かずつじ哲郎てつろう、philosopher, 1889-1960); Tamura Toshiko (田村たむら俊子としこ、novelist, 1884-1945); Nogami Yaeko (野上のかみ弥生子やよこ、novelist, 1885-1985); Takami Jun (高見たかみじゅん、novelist, 1907-65); Ota Mizuho (太田おおた瑞穂みずほ、poet, 1876-1955); Nogami Toyoichiro (野上のかみ豊一郎とよいちろう、Noh scholar, 1883-1950); Maeda Seison (前田まえだ青邨せいそん、Japanese-style painter, 1885-1977); Kobayashi Hideo (小林こばやし秀雄ひでお、critic, 1902-83); Nakagawa Zennosuke (中川なかがわ善之助ぜんのすけ、law scholar, 1897-1975); Iwanami Shigeo (岩波いわなみ茂雄しげお、founder of Iwanami Shoten Publishing Company, 1881-1946); Abe Yoshishige (安倍あべ能成よしなり、philosopher and educator, 1883-1966) and Daimatsu Hirofumi (大松おおまつ博文ひろぶみ、 1921-78), to name only a few.

       The Butsuden Hall that was once in these grounds was transferred to Sankeien Park in Yokohama. It was a typical, late-Muromachi Zen-style work.

Jochiji Temple (浄智寺じょうちじ)

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Full name: Kinposan (金宝きんぽう(or ほう)やま) Jochiji
Denomination: Rinzai sect (臨済宗りんざいしゅう)
Location: Some 400 meters south of Kita-Kamakura Station

History: The temple was built around 1281. Its founders were Hojo Munemasa (北条ほうじょうそうまさし, 1253-81), the third son of Hojo Tokiyori, and Hojo Morotoki(北条ほうじょう, 1275-1311), a grandson of Tokiyori. There were two founding priests, Gottan Funei (兀菴ひろしやすし, ?-1276) and Daikyu Shonen (大休たいきゅう正念しょうねん, a.k.a. Butsugen Zenji ふつみなもと禅師ぜんじ, 1215-1289), and one sub-founder, Nanshu Kokai (みなみしま宏海ひろみ, a.k.a. Shin'o Zenji, おう禅師ぜんじ, ?-1303).
       A story connected with these founders relates that when Munemasa died young, his wife had a temple built in his honor, appointing her late husband and her son, Morotoki, as its patrons, and inviting Kokai to be the founding priest. Kokai declined the honor, explaining that he felt himself too young and immature to accept it. Instead, he then asked his master, Shonen, to assume the position, but Shonen in turn passed the honor on to his own teacher, Funei.

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Grounds and structures: The temple sits back about 50 meters from the main road. Greenery abounds within the precincts, which have the atmosphere of an old Zen temple. The area is designated a National Historic Site.
       A weathered bridge spans a small, old pond, and to the left is Kanro no I Well (甘露かんろ), one of the ten famous wells of old Kamakura.
       The Somon Gate is visible from here. A plaque on the gate bears the characters たから所在しょざいちか, hosho-zaikin. They were written by Mugaku Sogen and mean, in today's parlance, that the treasure one seeks is to be found nowhere other than in one's own backyard.

       Beyond the Somon Gate and a flight of stone steps stands a two-story Sammon Gate. The structure is very rare because of the belfry on the second story, which contains a bell made in 1340.
       Beyond the gate and to the right is the Butsuden Hall (仏殿ぶつでん), called Dongeden (くもりはな殿どの). Enshrined inside are three images of Buddha: Amida (阿弥陀あみだ), Shaka (釈迦しゃか), and Miroku (弥勒みろく), who are believed to preside in the past, present and future worlds, respectively.

       The temple is not so large now, but in its heyday it had eleven sub-temples and a large number of monks served here. Regarded as one of the five great Zen temples of Kamakura, it ranked fourth in prosperity.
       Visitors are free to stroll around the grounds from the left side of the Butsuden Hall. Beyond the hall are many old trees, among which are koya-maki (高野槙こうやまき) and hakuumboku (白雲しらくも or sarasoju, 沙羅双樹さらそうじゅ).

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       At the rear of the grounds is a stone statue of Hoteison (布袋尊ほていそん), the god of Good Fortune, who is also one of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune in the Kamakura and Enoshima area.
       The Seven Gods are Benzaiten (弁才天べんざいてん) at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hoteison at Jochiji Temple, Jurojin (寿老人じゅろうじん) at Myoryuji Temple (妙隆寺みょうりゅうじ), Ebisu (恵比寿えびす) at Hongakuji Temple (本覚寺ほんかくじ), Bishamonten (毘沙門天びしゃもんてん) at An'yoin Temple (あんよういん), Daikokuten (大黒天だいこくてん) at Hasedera Temple (長谷寺はせでら), and Fukurokuju (ぶくろく寿ことぶき) at Goryo Jinja Shrine (御霊みたま神社じんじゃ) in Hase. The Benzaiten on Enoshima Island (江ノ島えのしま) is also included among these Seven Gods.

       The temple treasures are an image of Jizo Bosatsu dating from the Kamakura period (an Important Cultural Property), and a Letter of Solicitation (an Important Cultural Property) by Gyokuin Eiyo for the repair of Sairaian Hermitage (西にしらいあん) at Kenchoji Temple. Both are presently on loan to Kamakura Kokuhokan (鎌倉かまくら国宝こくほうかん).

Yakumo Shrine (八雲神社やくもじんじゃ)

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Location: 0.2 kilometers north-east of JR Kikatamakura Station.

History:      The shrine was originally called Gozu Tennosha (牛頭ごず天王てんのうしゃ) and was dedicated to Susanoo no Mikoto (もと盞鳴いのち), a legendary deity in Japanese mythology. In the middle of the fifteenth century, Uesugi Norifusa (上杉うえすぎけんぼう, 1467-1525) replaced the shrine with the deity of Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社やさかじんじゃ) in Kyoto, and gave the new shrine the name Yakumo Shrine. In those days the Yamanouchi Uesugi family (山ノ内やまのうち上杉うえすぎ), to which Norifusa belonged, and the Ogigayatsu Uesugi (扇ガ谷おうぎがやつ上杉うえすぎ) were vying for power in Kamakura-fu (鎌倉かまくら). Norifusa allegedly had the shrine rebuilt in the hope of success in the power struggle and to prevent the spread of the plague.

Grounds and structures:      On the top of a flight of stone steps stands a shrine dedicated to a tutelary deity of the Yamanouchi area.
     Beyond the torii (鳥居とりい), shrine gate, are four structures: Honden (Main Hall), Haiden (Worship Hall), massha (末社まっしゃ, subordinate shrine), and a repository for a mikoshi (神輿しんよ), portable shrine.

yakumo3      Behind the repository for the portable shrine is a koshinto-type (庚申こうしんとう) stone monument with the inscription "寛文ひろふみねん" (corresponding to 1665) along with ten other monuments. It is well known because it is the oldest and the largest for its kind in Kamakura.

     The shrine festival is held from the 15th through the 20th of July every year, in which the passage of the portable shrine has been restored. Formerly five men and two women, who wore masks (made in 1840) and costumes of those days, marched in a procession, but it is discontinued. Now these masks are on display on the roadside.

Seimei no Ishi Stone (清明せいめいいし) yakumo4

     Within the grounds of Yakumo Shrine is a large stone, around which one barely put one's arms. It is called Seimei no Ishi and is deified. The stone was transferred from a location nearby the Juodobashi Bridge (十王堂じゅうおうどうきょう).
     The "Seimei" in Seimei no Ishi derives from a celebrated ommyoji (陰陽いんよう), an ancient fortuneteller, named Abe no Seimei (安倍あべ清明きよあき, 921-1005), who lived in the Heian period. The ommyodo (陰陽いんようどう), literally, "the way of yin (being negative or passive, かげ in Japanese) and yang (being positive or active, in Japanese)," evolved mainly in the seventh century after the introduction of the ancient Chinese theories of yin and yang and the five elements (wood, fire, earth, gold, and water) which compose the universe. According to this belief, the ebb and flow of yin and yang bring about all natural and social phenomena in the world. Even today, the date of a wedding or a funeral service, the start of construction for a new house and other important events are often decided in accordance with this theory of yin and yang.
     Legend says that if people step on this Seimei no Ishi Stone unwittingly, their legs will become strong; but if the same thing is done knowingly, their legs or health will weaken. Local people have deified the stone, believing that it protects them from fire and any kind of disaster.