Kamakura is, hands down, one of my favorite areas in Japan. All the beauty and calmness of each spot surrounded by nature in the most diverse ways never stops impressing me.
I would like to talk about one of the sites that cannot be left behind while visiting Kamakura: The Hasedera Temple.
The place itself brings peace of mind, a Zen vibration like many other sites in Kamakura, each site has its own unique way of fascinating you.
I’ve been always curious about the Gods of the Buddhist universe. At Hasedera Temple, you can learn a bit more about some of these Gods. If you already have knowledge about this subject, every single detail of this temple will amaze you even more.
The Hasedera Temple is located close to the mountains, and uses the natural elevation of the mountain to give visitors two or three unique experiences of the temple from different heights much in the same way Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto does. From the various viewing spots you can get a grasp of the unique Geography of Kamakura surrounded by mountains on one side and beach on the other.
The Temple welcomes its visitors with a beautiful garden and the Honjo-ike Pond with Japanese Koi fishes (colored form of Amur carps) all over it.
Next to the Pond, there is the Benten-kutsu Cave, exploring the cave; you will find a Benzaiten Statue and a lot of small figures of Buddha. Benzaiten is a sea goddess and the only female among the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan, she’s known as the patron of music, the fine arts and good fortune.
On the upper level, the main temple is called Kannon-do Hall, it enshrines a notorious statue of the Goddess Kannon, it’s 9.18 meters (30.1 ft) and it has eleven heads in addition to the main one. The Goddess is known as the Goddess of Mercy, destined for enlightenment, who has promised to save all beings; she represents compassion, mercy and love. Buddhist monks chant daily at 8am in the Kannon-do Hall, visitors may sit and listen freely and I highly recommend it.
According to the legend, two eleven headed Kannon statues were carved from a large camphor tree in 721 AD, one of the statues was thrown into the sea with a prayer that it would reappear to save the people; fifteen years later, the statue was found at Nagai Beach, Miura Peninsula. The statue was brought to Kamakura and the Hasedera Temple was built around it to honor it. Another statue is enshrined in another Hasedera Temple located in Nara Prefecture.
Next to Kannon-do Hall, there is the Kannon Museum, an extra fee needs to be paid to have access to the museum. The museum exhibits ancient treasures of the temple and materials related to Kannon history.
On the other side of Kannon-do, it is located the Amida-do Hall where enshrines a golden statue of Yakuyoke Amida Buddha, known as the Protector from Evil Spirits.
The premises of the Temple also counts with a small restaurant with a view where you can taste Japanese Udon Noodles and desserts; and gorgeous gardens everywhere, a viewing spot, smaller buildings preserving pieces of Japanese history, a walking path, among others. The temple also runs regular events like Summer light up festival, Autumn leaves light up, Setsubun festival.
The pictures says it all, even on a rainy day. I could have considered myself unlucky for visiting such an amazing temple wearing rubber boots and holding an umbrella, however I’ve felt lucky and blessed as the light rain was pouring down on us, the cherry blossoms were falling down the trees in slow motion; I’ve felt even closer to the nature, the rain wasn’t stealing the essence of the temple and it wasn’t stealing the smiling faces of the visitors either.
Well, you have to see for yourself and be amazed with such richness of details this temple offers to its visitors.
I sincerely hope you have an awesome time visiting Hasedera Temple, you won’t be disappointed 🙂
Hours and Fees
|Hours||March to September:8:00-17:00
October to Feburary:8:00-16:30
|closing day||Tuesday(except public holiday)|
- Transit from JR Kamakura Station to Enoden. Get off at Hase Station. 5-minutes walk
- Enoden Bus or Keihin Express Bus (For Daibutsu). Get off at Hase Kannon Bus Stop, 3-minutes walk
Getting there from WeBase Hostel
13 minutes-walk or around 5 minutes by bicycle. (bicycles are available for rent for 500 yen per half day and 1000 yen per day. Non-guests rental is subject to availability)
Best times to go
At 8am if you would like to sit and listen to the Buddhist monks chanting.