Kenchoji Temple 建長寺
The top Zen temple in Kamakura, with an exquisite garden
The preeminent and oldest of the Zen temples in Kamakura , Kenchoji Temple features a wide variety of temple buildings and sub-temples. If you are lucky, you can even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from the highest shrine.
How to Get There
Kenchoji is a 15-minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station, one stop north of JR Kamakura Station on the Yokosuka Line.
The home of Japanese Zen
Established in 1253, Kenchoji was originally the exclusive Zen training temple in Japan. A 730-year-old juniper tree stands proudly before the temple as a symbol of the temple's and sect's longevity. The garden and bell are both recognized by the government as objects of national pride.
Age and beauty
The grounds are substantial, extending deep into the wooded hills behind. The garden is simply stunning, with exquisitely delineated ponds and some sublime use of borrowed scenery. The view from the observation platform at the highest point of the grounds is gorgeous, particularly in the autumn when the maple leaves are in full flush. From here, an hour-long hiking trail leads through the hills to Zuisenji Temple .