Great Buddha of Kamakura

Must-see in Kamakura

Great Buddha of Kamakura

1 Great Buddha of Kamakura 鎌倉の大仏様

1.1 History

1.2 How to enjoy

1.3 Access

2 Hase-dera 長谷寺

2.1 History of Hase-dera

2.2 How to enjoy

2.3 Access

3 Recommended lunch spot- Japanese restaurant KAEDENA

3.1 Access

1 Great Buddha of Kamakura

1.1 History

The very first one was constructed around 1252, after spending nearly 10 years to built it.  It was modelled after the Buddha in Todai-ji in Nara.  The wife of Yoritomo Minamoto ordered this construction.  Minamoto family was the first samurai shogunate in Japan and chose Kamakura as its capital.  Kamakura has three sides surrounded by mountains and the South opening to the sea.  It was an ideal location, with natural protection from the enemies.

In 1334 and 1369, the Buddha was destroyed by the typhoon and had to be rebuilt.  The current Buddha stood here since the 15th century, most likely.  13.4meters high and weighs 121ton.

1.2 How to enjoy

It is one of the most popular destinations, so try to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.  The temple (Kotoku-in) opens from 8am in the morning.

Look into the half-closed eyes which are 1 meters long!  You will feel the peace and warmth of the Buddha`s expression of achieving enlightenment.  The surrounding mountains also provide a tranquil feeling.

Pay 20 yen and get inside the Buddha from the right side, so that you can appreciate the complex architecture.  It is very interesting.

There are several shops in the temple, selling Buddha related books, as well as incense.  Also, they sell souvenirs and food/drinks.

The trees in the temple are well-taken care of and are impressive.  Check this one below, which was planted by the Thai king century ago!

1.3 Access

Take the local line, Enoshima-Dentetsu, from Kamakura JR station.  In 5 minutes, you will reach Hase station, three stops from Kamakura station.

From there, it is an easy 7-8 minutes walk to the temple Koto-kuin and the Great Buddha.  Y200 admission fee.

2 Hase-dera

Very interesting history, 5 minutes walk from Great Buddha.  Worth a visit!

2.1 History of Hase-dera

In 721, monk named Tokudo Shonin found a huge tree in the mountain of Nara, near the village of Hase.  He had two large 11- headed goddess Kannon carved out from the same big tree.  One was enshrined in the Hase-dera temple near Nara.

The other Kannon, he threw into the sea near today`s Osaka, hoping that it will reappear somewhere and save many people.  15 years later, it reached Kamakura!  Hase-dera was constructed to honor this goddess Kannon.  You can see this Kannon (about 9 meters tall) in the main hall at Hase-dera.  (no pictures inside, though)

2.2 How to enjoy

As explained in 2.1 History of Hase-dera, this temple has a very unique history.  Make sure to go to the main hall and admire this huge Kannon.

Also, the Benten-Kutsu cave is very intersting.  (it was a bit scary for me, so I waited for others to go in, first…)  The carvings from this cave are amazing.

Aside, they have Daikoku-ten, one of the 7 gods of Shichifukujin.  This one is the god of fortune, business and good luck.

The garden is beautiful.  You can also enjoy the view of the ocean.

They also have a restaurant within the temple grounds, with a nice view.  (pretty commercial…)

The Kannon museum (additional Y300) is worth a look, especially if you would like to see the kannon up close.  English explanations.

2.3 Access

Easy 5 minutes walk from the station of Hase, on the Enoshima line.  Or a 5 minutes walk from the Great Buddha, back towards the station.

3 Recommended lunch spot, Japanese restaurnat KAEDENA

Kaedena (only in Japanese)

Tabelog site in English

This is a very good Japanese restaurant, serving casual lunch set with one big rice dish (choose meat, fish, vegetables, daily specials, etc.) that is cooked especially in an earthenware pot (which makes the rice more tasty, as the heat travels gradually and stays longer, helping the rich taste come out.), with three side dishes, using Kamakura vegetables and produce from the ocean nearby.  The price varies from Y1300-2300.

The atomosphere is very relaxing and down to earth.  But, there will probably be a line (no reservations for lunch) and you may have to wait 20 minutes to get in.  But, it is worth the wait.

3.1 Access of KAEDENA


2 minutes from Hase dera, or 5 minutes walk from the station of Hase, on the Enoshima line.  5 minutes from the Great Buddha.


Any questions or comments?

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