Kamakura (鎌倉)

Kamakura, the central area of Kamakura City, is an urban town, in which MINAMOTO no Yoritomo established the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). It is located at the base of the Miura Peninsula and faces the Sagami gulf. It was also called Renbu in ancient times.


Kamakura, the site for the Kamakura bakufu from 1192 of the late twelve century to 1333 in the mid fourteenth century, held an important place in the politics of Japan.
Because of Koto Hozon ho (the Ancient Capitals Preservation Law) imposing restraints towards uncontrolled land development, today's Kamakura retains its historical climate with many old shrines and temples, and historic sites
(However there are few structural cultural treasures: only one structure is designated a national treasure.)
Kamakura flourished as a city of international tourism and culture partly because it was geographically close to Tokyo and because the municipal government promoted tourism. In recent times, Kamakura has become a place where cultured people such as writers and artists have lived and provided the setting for many dramas and novels.

This page describes 'Kamakura' as a 'historical city' and 'city of international tourism and culture.'

A natural fortress

The city of Kamakura is a natural fortress surrounded by mountains on its three sides--the east, north, and west--and faces Sagami gulf to the south. To enter Kamakura from the east, north or west, people had to pass through narrow paths (Kiridoshi) named 'Kamakura Nanakuchi' (Kamakura's Seven Entrances), which had been dug through the mountain. Kamakura was an easily defendable region. Yoritomo, the first Shogun of the Kamakura bakufu, established his stronghold here largely because Kamakura was his fatherland and has these geographical features. To the northwest of the city stands Mt. Genji (92 meters high), which then passes behind the Kamakura Great Buddha and reaches Inamuragasaki. From the north to the east, Kamakura is surrounded by low mountains-- Mt. Rokkokuken (147 meters high), Mt. Ohira (159 meters high), Mt. Tendai (141 meters high), and Mt. Kinubari (120 meters high)--extending all the way to Iijimagasaki and Wagaejima that border with Zushi City. Mountains surrounding the city are 100 to 150 meters high above the sea but are said to have many mountain paths with lots of ups and downs comparative to their relatively low sea level.
A ridge line north to the city is nicknamed 'Kamakura Alps.'

The city of Kamakura today faces the Sagami gulf to the south and constitutes a region that borders with Yokohama City to the north, Zushi City to the east, and Fujisawa City to the west. It is 39.5 square kilometers. This area includes merged peripheral municipalities--Koshigoe-cho (merged in 1939), Fukazawa-mura Village (merged in 1948), and Ofuna-machi (merged in 1948). Kamakura in the Medieval Period had a much smaller region equivalent to the above mentioned area surrounded by mountains on three sides, the east, north, and west. The area corresponds to the so-called 'old Kamakura area' (within Kamakura Nanakuchi).

In addition, a larger area that includes the southwestern part of Yokohama City and a part of Fujisawa City was called Kamakura-gun County (abolished in 1948).

City planning of the Kamakura bakufu: Kamakura roku oji (Kamakura's Six Big Streets)

Today's main road system of Kamakura (old Kamakura area) largely retains traces of the 'Oji' built on the basis of city planning from the Kamakura period. In other words, a typical example of city planning is the Wakamiya-oji Street extending from Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine to Yuigahama as the central line of the city. In addition, streets running parallel in the east -- Komachi-oji street (today also known as Tsujiseppo dori (Preaching Street) and the Miura-do Street, etc)--and the IMAOJI (today also known as Imakoji) running west constituted the major north-to-south Oji. Furthermore, the major east-to-west Oji included, from the north (mountain side), the Yokooji running in front of San no Torii, the Omachi-oji (today also known as the Yuigahama-dori Street, the Omachi-dori Street, and the Nagoe-do Street, etc) passing through Geba Yotsukado. Further to the south (coast side) the Kuruma oji (today also known as the Biwa-koji Street and the Honkoji ura tsuji (backstreet of Honko-ji Temple), etc) ran and crossed the Wakamiya-oji Street in front of the remain of Otorii (a large gateway to a Shinto shrine) (former Ichi no Torii). Therefore the six oji--three north-to-south oji streets and three east-to-west oji streets formed a grid, although largely distorted.

Among those streets, only a segment of the 'Kuruma oji' do not exist today.
(The street runs from an area near Rokujizo, passes in front of Kamakura City DAIICHI Elementary School, through the remains of Otorii, and in front of Kamakura Jogakuin Junior and Senior High School, crosses Enma-bashi Bridge, and then ends 100 meter ahead.)
The discontinuation of the street was due to the construction work of the Yokosuka Line in modern times but there remains a narrow crossroad extending again east from the pedestrian bridge between Iomachi-bashi Bridge of the "Komachi-oji street" and the crossing of the Miura-do Street with the Yokosuka Line and running toward Nagoe.
It retains traces of the 'Kuruma oji.'
And the neighborhood (ranging from Omachi south of Iomachi-bashi Bridge to the area around Motohachiman of Zaimokuza through the railway crossing) was once named 'Tsujimachi.'
This is because this area has a tsuji (crossing) between the 'Komachi-oji street' and the 'Kuruma oji.'
The names of Tsuji no Honko-ji Temple (Honko-ji Temple on the preaching street) and Tsuji no Yakushido (Yakushido on the street) retains a relation with tsuji.

Also it should be kept in mind that some names of the arterial streets mentioned above are mixed with other commonly known street names. Keeping the old street names unchanged as a 'street name' cultural asset is considered that should be done.

Particularly confusing are the Komachi-oji Street and Komachi-dori Street. The Komachi-oji Street extending from Sujikae-bashi Bridge and Zaimokuza is a historic street that was once lined with mansions of high ranking officials of the bakufu and gokenin (immediate vassals of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods). Especially the area south of Omachi Yotsukado (the crossing of Omachi) was once the most prosperous street in Kamakura. It is thus believed that Nichiren shonin (the Venerable Nichiren) carried out the so-called 'street preaching' everywhere in this Oji. In today's Oji, there stand two memorial stones at the sites where street preaching occurred (in front of the gate of Honko-ji Temple at Omachi and 2-chome Ono). This neighborhood is now a quiet residential area. On the other hand, Komachi-dori is a relatively newly named street with souvenir stores for tourists that run from Kamakura ekimae to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine. It is now one of the major sightseeing spots and crowded with many tourists.

In addition, the street running before DAIICHI Elementary School is now incorrectly called 'Biwa-koji Street' but, in fact, used to be a part of the 'Kuruma oji.'
A segment of the Wakamiya-oji Street from the Shimouma crossing to the Kuruma oji crossing is said to have been named Biwa-koji Street because it was once curved like a biwa (Japanese lute).

Ancient times

Kamakura contains remains from the Jomon and Yayoi periods and shrines and temples--Sugimoto-dera Temple, Hase-dera Temple, and Amanawashinmei-sha Shrine--reported to have been established in the Nara period. Kamakura was also described in "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), suggesting that the ancient Tokaido ran from the Miura Peninsula and led to the Boso Peninsula. However, it is after MINAMOTO no Yoritomo made his appearance that Kamakura came on history's center stage. Not much is known as to what went on during the time between the Nara period through the mid Heian period due to the lack of abundant historical evidence.

Minamoto clan and Kamakura

In 1063, MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi called on a deity of Tsuboi Hachiman-gu Shrine of Tsuboi, Ishikawa Country, Kawachi Province--ujigami (a guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion) for Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan)--to make a branch shrine at Yuigo Tsurugaoka (Zaimokuza, Kamakura City) as 'Tsurugaoka-wakamiya Shrine.'
The following year MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi defeated Sadato ABE in Mutsu and the Zen Kunen no Eki (Former Nine Years' War) came to an end. MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi prayed for victory at the Hachiman-gu Shrine, which he worshipped as his ujigami. After the war, he thanked Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine in the suburb of Kyoto for the victory and called on its deity to found Tsuboi Hachiman-gu Shrine at Tsuboi, Kawachi Province, the foothold of the clan. He also made a branch shrine to dedicate the deity of the Hachiman-gu in Kamakura, a strong fold for Kawachi-Genji to advance to Togoku (the eastern part of Japan, particularly Kanto region). This is the origin of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine, which serves as the center of Kamakura even today.

More than a century later, in 1180, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo entered Kamakura. MINAMOTO no Yoritomo's father, MINAMOTO no Yoshitomo, was defeated in a battle with TAIRA no Kiyomori in the Heiji War (in 1159) and killed in Owari Province while he was running away to Kanto region. Young Yoritomo who had served in the battle for the first time, was supposed to be killed. However, Ike no Zinnia, Kiyomori's mother-in-law, plead for his life, and he was exiled to Hiruga-kojima Island, Izu Province, chigyo-koku (provincial fiefdom) of the family of MINAMOTO no Yorimasa, Settsu-Genji (Minamoto clan). Twenty years later, in 1180, Yoritomo received Prince Mochihito's ryoji (orders issued by princes, empresses, etc) given to the Minamoto clan all over the country through MINAMOTO no Nakatsuna, the former Izu no kami (Governor of Izu Province) and a legitimate son of Yorimasa, and raised an army in Izu, a place of exile, to defeat the Taira clan. Yoritomo's army was defeated in the Battle of Ishibashiyama (Odawara City Kanagawa Prefecture) and once retreated to Awa Province (the south of Chiba Prefecture). However he arranged the army again and overwhelmed the army led by TAIRA no Koremori in the subsequent Battle of Fujigawa. Yoritomo who had conquered the Kanto region, entered Kamakura, his ancestors' land and a natural fortress, and established his residence at Okura. The remains of the residence almost corresponds to the site of Seisen Elementary School, east to today's Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine.
The residence later came to be called 'Okura bakufu.'

In the same year, 1180, Yoritomo moved Hachimangu (Tsurugaoka-wakamiya Shrine, Yuiwakamiya Shrine) from Yuigo Tsurugaoka to Kobayashigo.
Kobayashigo is the address of today's Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine, which means that the shrine was moved along with the name of 'Tsurugaoka.'
(Also, there still remains a small shrine named 'Motohachiman' at the former site of Yuiwakamiya Shrine.)
Since then Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine has been the symbol of Kamakura and placed at the center of its city planning. In 1182, Omote-sando (front approach) of the Hachiman-gu Shrine was built. Wakamiya-oji Street, still serves as the main street of Kamakura. In those days, embankment work was done with piled stones to build Wakamiya-oji Street over paddy fields. The pedestrian street now called Dankazura, one step higher than roadways running on its both sides, is a vestige from those days.

Beginning of Kamakura period

Opinions on when the 'Kamakura period' or 'Kamakura bakufu' started are divided.

Some suggest that it started in 1180 when Yoritomo entered Kamakura.

Another suggestion is that it started in 1185 when the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa allowed the establishment of Shugo and Jito (military governor and estate steward) and Heike (the family of TAIRA no Kiyomori, a collateral line of Ise-Heishi (Taira clan) of the Taira clan) fell in Dan no ura.

Yen another suggestion is that it started in 1192 when Yoritomo was appointed seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians").

There are few opinions other than the above as to what year the 'Kamakura Period' started.

As is well known, the succession to shogun by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo's legitimate family line of the Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) came to an end in three generations. After the third Shogun MINAMOTO no Sanetomo was killed by his nephew Kugyo (a son of Sanetomo's brother, the second Shogun MINAMOTO no Yoriie), the Hojo clan held power. In those days (the end of 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century) the central government (Insei (rule by the retired Emperor)) had not yet lost its power, creating a dual system of governments: the central government (Kyoto, the capital) and Kamakura government. After the Jokyu War in 1221 (in which the Retired Emperor Gotoba who hatched a plot to overthrow the Bakufu issued an order to defeat Yoshitoki HOJO but failed and was banished to Oki Province), the Kamakura government started to hold decisive political power, making Kamakura the seat of administration of Japan both nominally and virtually.

The Hojo clan defeated its potential rivals one after another-the Hiki clan, Miura clan, and Wada clan. Its regime remained stable enough despite the Genko (Mongol Invasions of Japan) incidents in and after the middle of the 13th century. In the latter half of the 13th century, Zen temples including Kencho-ji Temple and Engaku-ji Temple were founded and Kamakura Great Buddha was erected. Buddhist Culture greatly flourished with the completion of Kamakura Gozan Temples and activities of Nichiren.

In later years, Genko triggered tight financial conditions for the Bakufu, leaving Akuto (a villain in medieval times) such as tyranny unleashed by the Uchi-Kanrei (head of Tokuso Family), Nagasaki clan, uncontrolled.
It was under these conditions, that the Emperor Godaigo planned to overthrow the Shogunate
In 1333 Yoshisada NITTA, received an order from the Emperor, and took control of Kamakura. With suicides by Takatoki HOJO along with members of the clan and subordinates in their family temple Tosho-ji Temple, the Kamakura Bakufu fell.

After Muromachi period

Under Kenmu Restoration, the Kamakura Shogunfu (local institution of Kenmu government) was established to control the Kanto region and Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA, a younger brother of Takauji ASHIKAGA, was dispatched by order of Imperial Prince Nariyoshi (also known as Narinaga). In 1335, the Nakasendai War occurred where Hojo follower survivors recovered Kamakura. Takauji (ASHIKAGA) who had been sent to suppress the war, made Kamakura his foothold after he drifted away from the Kenmu Government following the war. In 1336 the Ashikaga army gained control of Kyoto and established a military government in Kyoto. In 1349 during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, Motouji ASHIKAGA, Motouji's son, was sent to Kamakura to establish the Kamakura Government, as a regional office to control Togoku.
(The government's director was called Kamakura kubo.)

During the Muromachi period, the Kamakura Government and Bakufu in Kyoto competed with each other resulting in conflicts such as the Eikyo War. The fifth kubo, Nariuji ASHIKAGA competing with Muromachi bakufu ran away to Koga of the Province of Shimousa (Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture) in 1455 and, since then, became Kogakubo (descendants of one of the Ashikaga families that held the office of the Kanto district administrator). In 1512 Soun HOJO established the Tamanawa-jo Castle in today's Ofuna, Kamakura City as a branch castle of the Odawara-jo Castle, but this area was no longer Kamakura territory during the medieval period.

Since the establishment of the military government in Edo in early-modern times, Kamakura did not appear on history's center stage, although the shrine building of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine was remodeled under the protection of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Hidetada TOKUGAWA. Since the middle of the Edo period, Kamakura became a popular place of Edo's suburb for outings. The so-called denominate numbers used in 'Kamakura Jikkyo' (Kamakura's Ten Bridges), 'Kamakura-jussei' (ten water wells in Kamakura), and so forth are said to have been given as a series of sightseeing campaign.

In and after the modern period, Kamakura began to flourish as an upmarket residential district, sightseeing spot, and beach resort of Tokyo's suburbs. In addition, many writers including Soseki NATSUME, Ryunosuke AKUTAGAWA, Doppo KUNIKIDA, Yasunari KAWABATA, and Jiro OSARAGI lived in Kamakura or left many works featuring Kamakura. Today's Kamakura has flourished as a city for international tourism that has many historic sites and cultural assets with pleasant natural environments, attracting many tourists.

Timeline summary

In 1063, MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi belonging to Kawachi-Genji called on a deity of Tsuboi Hachiman-gu Shrine of Kawachi Province to make a branch shrine at Yuigo Tsurugaoka. It was named Yuiwakamiya Shrine (Tsurugaoka-wakamiya Shrine).

In 1180, MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised an army against the Taira clan. The Battle of Ishibashiyama occurred. Yuiwakamiya Shrine was moved from Yuigo Tsurugaoka to kobayashigo.

In 1185, his appointment as Shugo and Jito (military governor and estate steward) was authorized by the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa
The Heike family fell in Dannoura. Yoritomo founded Shochoju-in Temple (extinct) for salvation of his father Yoshitomo.

In 1189 (or 1191), Yoritomo founded a memorial service for Eifuku-ji Temple ruins (extinct).

In 1192, Yoritomo became seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians").

In 1199 Yoritomo died.

In 1200 Yoritomo's wife, Masako HOJO, founded Jufuku-ji Temple for salvation of her husband.

In 1203 the Hiki clan, the maternal relative of the second shogun MINAMOTO no Yoriie (his wife's family) was overthrown. Yoriie was confined in Shuzen-ji Temple (Izu City) of Izu Province, and was killed the next year. In the same year Yoritomo's brother, MINAMOTO no Sanetomo became the third shogun and Tokimasa HOJO became the first regent.

In 1213 Tokimasa HOJO's son, Yoshitoki, defeated the Wada clan, Samurai-dokoro betto (the superior of the Board of Retainers).

In 1219, MINAMOTO no Sanetomo was killed by his nephew, Kugyo. Since then the Shogun became a puppet and Masako HOJO (Yoritomo's wife) and her younger brother, Yoshitoki HOJO, held power.

In 1221 the Retired Emperor Gotoba with a plot to overthrow the Bakufu issued an order to defeat Yoshitoki HOJO but failed and was banished to Oki Province (Jokyu War).

In 1225 Masako HOJO died.

In 1232 Yasutoki HOJO established Goseibai-shikimoku.

In 1252 casting of Kamakura Great Buddha started.

In 1253 Kencho-ji Temple was completed. Nichiren started street preaching.

In 1282 Engaku-ji Temple was completed. Nichiren died.

In 1331 the Emperor Godaigo's plot to overthrow the bakufu was revealed. Those who were involved in the plot were executed (Genko Incident).

In 1333 Yoshisada NITTA conquered Kamakura. Takatoki HOJO and his family killed themselves in Tosho-ji Temple. Kamakura bakufu fell.

In 1349 Takauji ASHIKAGA appointed his second son Motouji as Kamakura kubo.

From 1438 to 1439, Mochiuji ASHIKAGA, Kamakura kubo, had a conflict with Norizane UESUGI, Kanto Kanrei (a shogun deputy for the Kanto region). The sixth shogun Yoshinori ASHIKAGA issued an order to hunt down and kill Mochiuji, and Mochiuji stabbed himself (Eikyo Incident).

In 1455 Kamakura kubo Shigeuji ASHIKAGA was attacked by Noritada IMAGAWA by order of Shogun Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA and ran away to domain of Shimousa-Koga.

In 1512 Soun HOJO had the Tamanawa-jo Castle built.

Engaku-ji Temple

The second rank of Kamakura Gozan (Five) Temples
Rinzai sect Daihonzan (head temple) Engaku-ji Temple
The sango (literally, "mountain name")--the title prefixed to the name of a Buddhist temple--is Zuiroku-zan, the Kaiki (patron of a temple in its founding)is Tokimune HOJO, and the kaisan (a founder of temple as the first chief priest) is Mugaku Sogen.

Tokei-ji Temple

Rinzai Sect
The sango is Shokozan, the Kaiki is Sadatoki HOJO, and the kaisan is Mugaku Kakusan-ni.
It is also known as 'Enkiri-dera Temple.'
It has many tombs of distinguished people.

Jochi-ji Temple

The fourth rank of Kamakura Gozan (Five) Temples
Rinzai Sect
The sango is Kinpozan, the Kaiki is Munemasa and Morotoki HOJO, and the kaisan are Gottan Funei, Daikyu shonen (Shotai the kaisan), and Kokai NANSHU (Jun the kaisan).

Meigetsu-in Temple

Rinzai Sect
The sango is Fukugensan, the Kaiki is Norikata UESUGI (Tsuneyoshi SUDO according to temple history), and the kaisan is Misshitsu shugon.
It is known as 'Ajisai Temple.'

Choju-ji Temple

Rinzai Sect
The sango is Shokozan, the Kaiki is Motouji ASHIKAGA, and the kaisan is Kosen Ingen. The inside of the temple is not open to the public.

Kencho-ji Temple

The first rank of Kamakura Gozan (Five) Temples
Daihonzan (Head Temple) of Kencho-ji Temple school of the Rinzai sect
The sango is Kofukusan, the Kaiki is Tokiyori HOJO, and the kaisan is Doryu RANKEI.

Enno-ji Temple

Rinzai Sect
The sango is Araizan, the Kaiki is unknown, and the kaisan is reportedly Chigaku Zenji (Dokai SODEN) but is not exactly known. Juo-zo (the statue of Juo) including Enma-o (the King of Hell) are enshrined.

Jufuku-ji Temple

The third rank of Kamakura Gozan (Five) Temples
Rinzai Sect
The sango is Kikokusan, the Kaiki is Masako HOJO, and the kaisan is Eisai.

Eisho-ji Temple

Jodo sect
The Kaiki is Eishoni, a descendant of Dokan OTA and a concubine of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. It is the only nunnery, convent that exists in Kamakura.

Jokomyo-ji Temple

Junbekkaku Honzan (Special Head Temple) of Shingon sect Sennyu-ji Temple School
The sango is Shokozan, the Kaiki is Nagatoki HOJO, and the kaisan is Shina. It has Amida Sanzon-zo (the image of Amida Triad), an important cultural property, and a tomb of Tamesuke REIZEI, a national historical site.

Yakuo-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Daijozan and the kaisan is Nichizo.

Kaizo-ji Temple

Rinzai Sect
The sango is Senkokuzan, and the Kaiki was Ujisada UESUGI. The kaisan is not clear: some suggest Kuge, a line of Doryu RANKEI, but temple history suggests Genno Zenji (Shinsho Kugai), a monk of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. It has a cave (although some may call it a well or a tomb) dug in the medieval period and named 'Juroku no I' (Sixteen wells).

Kuzuharagaoka-jinja Shrine

Its enshrined deity is Toshimoto HINO. It was founded around 1887.

Ugafuku-jinja Shrine (Zeniarai Benten Shrine)

Its enshrined deity is Ugajin (identified as Saraswati (god of wealth, music, eloquence and water)). It is said to have been founded by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. It is believed that the water of a spring in its cave at the end of the precinct can multiply money washed in it.

Sasukeinari-jinja Shrine

It was an old shrine founded before the establishment of the Kamakura bakufu. The divine spirit of this shrine is believed to have encouraged Yoritomo to raise an army. The shrine is named Sasukeinari-jinja with the meaning that the divine spirit supported Sukedono (Yoritomo's nickname).

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine

MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi called on a deity of Tsuboi Hachiman-gu Shrine of the foothold of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan) to make a branch shrine. Although it was located at Yuigo (Zaimokuza, Kamakura City), MINAMOTO no Yoritomo moved it to its present location. Enshrining the guardian god of Kawachi-Genji (Minamoto clan), it serves as the symbol of Kamakura.


Ji sect
The sango is Mankozan, the Kaiki is unknown, and the kaisan is reportedly Ippen or Ikko but is not exactly known. The temple enshrines an image of Nyoirin Kannon once enshrined in Hokke-do Hall (Yoritomo's jibutsu-do hall (the nobility's private Buddha statue hall)).

Hokai-ji Temple

Tendai sect
The sango is Kinryuzan and the kaisan is Enkan (Echin). The principal image, Jizo Bosatsu zazo (sitting statue of Jizo Bosatsu), is an important cultural property. The temple is known as 'hagi no tera' (Temple of Japanese Bush Clovers).

Myoryu-ji Temple

Nichiren sect (Nichiren)
The sango is Eishozan, the Kaiki is Tsunetane CHIBA, and the kaisan is Nichiei.
It has a stone image of the second chief priest Nisshin known as 'Nisshin putting on a pot.'

Egaraten-jinja Shrine

The enshrined deity is SUGAWARA no Michizane. It is reported to have been founded in 1104.

Kamakura-gu Shrine

The enshrined deity is Imperial Prince Morinaga. It was founded by the order of the Emperor Meiji in 1869.

Kakuon-ji Temple

Shingon sect
The sango is Jubusan, the Kaiki is Yoshitoki HOJO and the kaisan is Chikai Shine. It is said to preserve most the appearance of old Kamakura.

Zuisen-ji Temple (Kamakura City)

Rinzai sect
The sango is Kinpyozan, the Kaiki is Doun NIKAIDO, and the kaisan is Muso Soseki.
The temple having a garden designed by Muso Soseki is known as 'the Temple of Flowers.'

Sugimoto-dera Temple

Tendai sect
The sango is Daizozan, and the kaiki is reportedly Gyoki. Reportedly the oldest temple in Kamakura, the three principal images are Juichimen Kannon-zo (the statue of Eleven-faced Kannon).

Hokoku-ji Temple

Rinzai sect
The sango is Koshinzan and the Kaiki is Ietoki ASHIKAGA, a grandfather of Takauji ASHIKAGA (also said to be Shigekane UESUGI) according to the temple's history. The kaisan is Tengan Eko. The temple is known as 'Take no Tera' (a temple of bamboo).

Jomyo-ji Temple (Kamakura City)

The fifth rank of Kamakura Gozan (Five) Temples
Rinzai sect
The sango is Tokasan, the Kaiki is Yoshikane ASHIKAGA, and the kaisan is Gyoyu TAIKO.

Myoo-in Temple

Shingon sect
The sango is Hanseizan, the Kaiki is the fourth Kamakura shogun FUJIWARA no Yoritsune, and the kaisan is Jogo.

Kosoku-ji Temple

Ji sect
The sango is Ganzozan, the Kaiki is reportedly Ippen but not exactly known, and the kaisan is Sakua. Well known are the principal image Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) (commonly called Hohoyake Amida (Burnt Cheek Amida)) and Shio name jizo (Jizo who licks salt) in the precinct.

Kumano-jinja Shrine (Kamakura City) Junisho-jinja Shrine

The shrine enshrines seven Amatsukami (heavenly gods) and five Kunitsukami (earthly deities).
(The temple was named after these gods.)
It is reported to have been founded in 1278.

Daigyo-ji Temple

Nonsectarian Buddhist temple
The sango is Chokeizan and the principal image commonly known as 'Onmesama' is the god for a smooth delivery and Onme Reijin.

Hongaku-ji Temple (Kamakura City)

Nichiren sect
The sango is Myogonzan and the kaisan is Nisshutsu. The temple has Nichiren Shonin Bunkotsu Do (A hall to place some of the Nichiren's ashes) founded by the second chief priest, Niccho.

Myohon-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Chokozan, the Kaiki is Hiki Daigaku Saburo Yoshimoto, and the kaisan is Nichiro. The temple has tombs of the Hiki family, Ichiman's tomb, and Jakushi Myojin.

Joei-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Eunzan and the kaisan is Nisshoi. The temple is known as 'Botamochi dera' (Temple of botamochi rice cake).

Betsugan-ji Temple

Ji sect
The temple has a stone hoto-pagoda (Important Cultural Property) reported to have been erected for the repose of Mochiuji ASHIKAGA's soul.

Anyo-in Temple

Jodo sect
The sango is Gionzan, the Kaiki is Masako HOJO, and the kaisan is Gangyo Bokenjo.

Myoho-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Ryogonzan, the kaisan is Nichiren, and Restoration patriarch was Nichiei, a son of Imperial Prince Morinaga.
Temple is famous for its 'steps with mosses' and also known as 'Koke-dera temple.'

Ankokuron-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Myo Hokkekyo zan and the kaisan is Nichiren
Nichiren wrote "Rissho ankoku ron" (the Treatise for Spreading Peace Throughout the Country by Establishing the True Teaching) in a cave in the precinct.

Kyoon-ji Temple

Jishu sect
The sango is Chuzasan, the Kaiki is Ujiyasu HOJO, and the kaisan is Chia Shonin (Priest Chia). It was originally located in the precinct of Komyo-ji Temple, Zaimokuza but moved to the present location after Zensho-ji Temple, a branch temple of Komyo-ji Temple, was closed.

Jogyo-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Hokyuzan and the kaisan is Nichiban Shonin (Priest Nichiban). The temple has a tomb of Matsunosuke HIROKI, one of the feudal retainers of Mito Domain who assassinated Tairo (chief minister) Naosuke II in the Sakuradamongai Incident.

Honko-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Hokkezan and the kaisan is Tenmoku Shonin (Priest Tenmoku). Located in the area where Nichiren shonin (The Venerable Nichiren) gave street preaching, the temple is called 'Tsuji no Honko-ji Temple' (Honko-ji Temple on the preaching street).

Tsuji no Yakushido (Yakushido on the street)

It was originally the main hall of the Jodo sect temple named Iozan Chozen-ji Temple. The fire destroyed the temple in the end of Edo period, only leaving the main hall. It is located in front of Honko-ji Temple.

Daiho-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Tafukuzan and the kaisan is Nisshutsu Shonin (Priest Nisshutsu). The temple has Tafuku shrine noted in connection with Shinra-Saburo (MINAMOTO no Yoshimitsu) in the precinct.


The original location of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine
MINAMOTO no Yoriyoshi called on a deity of Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine to make a branch shrine here.

Chosho-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Sekiseizan and the kaisan is Nichiren. The temple has a bronze statue of Nichiren created by Koun TAKAMURA.


Ji sect
The sango is Zuigazan and the Kaiki is MINAMOTO no Yoritomo.

Fudaraku-ji Temple

Shingon sect
The sango is Nankozan and the kaisan is Mongaku.

Kuhon-ji Temple

Jodo sect
The sango is Dairisan, the Kaiki is Yoshisada NITTA, and the kaisan is Fuko Junsai.

Komyo-ji Temple (Kamakura City)

Grand Head Temple in Kanto region of Jodo-shu sect
The sango is Tenshozan, the Kaiki is Tsunetoki HOJO, and the kaisan is Nenna Ryochu (Kishu Zenji).

Enmei-ji Temple

Jodo sect
The sango is Kimyozan and the kaisan is Senrenja Shoyo Noko Shonin (Priest Senrenja Shoyo Noko). The temple is said to have been founded by Tokiyori HOJO's wife.

Gosho-jinja Shrine

The ujigami of Zaimokuza
In the merging of Ranbashi-mura Village and Zaimoku-za Village in 1908, Yagumo-Jinja Shrine, Suwa-jinja Shrine, Mirume-sha Shrine, and Konpira-gu Shrine in the villages were merged and enshrined together into the Mishima-jinja Shrine. The merged shrines were renamed Gosho-jinja Shrine.

Kofuku-ji Temple

Ji sect
The sango is Enryuzan and the kaisan is Ikko Shonin.

Myocho-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Kaichozan and the Kaiki and kaisan is Nichijitsu Shonin (Priest Nichijitsu).
Nichijitsu Shonin is said to be a son of Yazaburo FUNAMORI, a fisherman who saved Nichiren in Izu
(Some suggest that he was Yazaburo himself.)

Jisso-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Koenzan, the Kaiki and kaisan is Nissho Shonin (Priest Nissho). Nissho Shonin--a grandson of Suketsune KUDO, who was killed in the revenge of the Soga Brothers--founded a temple as a Hokke-ji Temple at the site where Suketsune's residence had been located.

Hase-dera Temple (Kamakura City)

Nonsectarian Buddhist temple
The sango is Kaikozan and the kaisan is Tokudo Saint. The temple known as "Hase Kannon" enshrines nine meter high Eleven-faced Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) as the principal image.

Shugen-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The Kaiki and kaisan are unknown. The temple site is said to be where a mansion of a warrior, Yorimoto SHIJO, once stood, and the temple was rebuilt in the modern times.

Kosoku-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Gyojizan, the Kaiki is Mitsunori YADOYA, and the kaisan is Nichiro.
The temple is known as 'Temple of Flowers.'

Kotoku-in Temple (Kamakura Great Buddha)

Jodo sect
The Kaiki and kaisan are unknown. It enshrines Kamakura Great Buddha as the principal image.

Amanawashinmei-jinja Shrine

It is reported to have been founded by Gyoki in the Nara period.

Goryo-jinja Shrine (Kamakura City)

Its ujigami is Gongoro Kagemasa KAMAKURA
Menkake Gyoretsu' (Mask Procession) held on September 18 as the reisai (regular festival) is well known.

Gokuraku-ji Temple (Kamakura City)

Shingon Ritsu sect
The sango is Ryojusen, the Kaiki is Shigetoki HOJO, and the kaisan is Ninsho. The temple has many Buddhist images created in the Kamakura period, which include its principal image, Shaka Nyorai ryuzo (standing statue of Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni)).

Jojuin Temple (Kamakura City)

Shingon sect Daikaku-ji school
The sango is Fumyozan and the Kaiki is Yasutoki HOJO.

Manpuku-ji Temple

Shingon sect
The sango is Ryugosan and the Kaiki is reportedly Gyoki, a monk in the Nara Period. The temple is known as where MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune stayed and wrote 'Koshigoe-jo' (MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune's letter to OE no Hiromoto to ask an intercession to MINAMOTO no Yoritomo for him).

Ryuko-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Jakkozan. The temple stands on the site of 'Tatsunokuchi no honan' (Tatsunokuchi Persecution).
It is in Katase, Fujisawa City, in terms of the administrative district,

Shoren-ji Temple (Kamakura City)

Shingon sect
The sango is Hanseizan, the kaiki is reportedly Kukai, and Restoration patriarch is Zenkai. It is commonly called Kusari Daishi (Great Monk of Chains). The temple enshrines Kobodaishi-zazo (the Sitting Statue of Kobodaishi) (Kusari Daishi), an important cultural property. It is located in Tebiro, Kamakura City.

Enkyu-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Joyozan. The Kaiki and kaisan is Nissei Shonin (Priest Nissei) (or reportedly Nichii Shonin). It was originally a branch temple of Myohon-ji Temple. Yagumo-jinja Shrine at Tokiwa, standing next to the Enkyu-ji Temple once belonged to the temple and called Tennosha.

Komori-jinja Shrine
The enshrined deity is Komori no Okami.

Butsugyo-ji Temple

Nichiren sect
The sango is Fuedasan. The kaisan is Busshoin Nisshu. In a hill at the back of the temple, there is Gentazuka (Tumulus of Genta) where an arm of Kagesue KAJIWARA, the eldest son of Kagetoki KAJIWARA is reported to have been buried.

Joraku-ji Temple

Rinzai sect
The sango is Zokusenzan, the Kaiki is Yasutoki HOJO, and the kaisan is Gyoyu TAIKO. Rankei Doryu had lived here before Kencho-ji Temple was founded. Zokusen of its sango was an old name of Ofuna.

Shomyo-ji Temple (Imaizumi Fudo)

Jodo sect
The sango is Imaizumisan. It is reported to have been founded by Kukai.

Ryuho-ji Temple

Soto sect
The sango is Yokokuzan, the kaiki is Tunashige HOJO, the lord of Tamanawa-jo Castle, and the kaisan is Taijo Soei. The old house of the Ishikawa family, an important cultural property, has been moved and reassembled in the precinct.

Ofuna Kannonji Temple

Soto sect temple
It is well known as its huge Kannon-zo (statue of the Kannon).

Hiking course in Kamakura

Kamakura is surrounded by mountains on its three sides--the east, north, and west--except the south facing the sea, and has several hiking courses along which people can enjoy its rich natural environment. Many hikers enjoy hiking in the mountains of Kamakura particularly in holidays partly because the mountains in Kamakura, about 100 meters above the sea, can be enjoyed relatively easily.

Shoka (singing songs)

Song of "Tetsudo Shoka" (Songs of Railways), released in May 1900 as the first collection of the songs (lyrics by Tateki OWADA and 64 verses in total), diverges the Tokaido Main Line and enters all the way the Yokosuka Line to include Kamakura in its four verses. This is because the songwriter is said to have had an ardent attachment to historical places such as Kyoto City, the Eight Views of Omi, and Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine. When it comes to Kamakura, he later kept a villa in Hayama.

The 6th verse: Next to Ofuna called a station for changing the train for Yokosuka is Kamakura to visit and see Tsurugaoka and historical sites of the Minamoto clan.

The 7th verse: A ginkgo tree can be seen when standing on stone steps in Hachiman-gu. History says that Betto Kugyo was hiding behind this tree.

The 8th verse: where are the remains of the bakufu established by Yoritomo here
The sun set in cool wind among the pines and green mosses grow on a silent stone monument.

The 9th verse: Enkaku-ji Temple and Kencho-ji Temple are in the north with stars and the moon above the Great Buddha. It is only a half-day journey to Katase, Koshigoe, and Enoshima.

[Original Japanese]