Kanagawa is Spiritual: From hidden power spots to famous Zen temples
Discover the spiritual heart of Kanagawa with a sensory journey through Kamakura. From hidden power spots to famous Zen temples, experience for yourself what defines Japan’s spiritual culture in one of Kanagawa prefecture’s most beloved destinations.
Tucked away in the Kita-Kamakura region, the historical temple of Meigetsu-in is a spiritual masterpiece that comes alive around June when the beauty of 2,500 blue hydrangeas (ajisai) in full bloom envelop the central walkway up to the main hall. It is here where you can witness the stunning scene of Meigetsu-in’s inner garden, framed by a circular window within the main hall itself.
Kotoku-in rarely needs any introduction — the impressive 13.35m-tall Great Buddha (daibutsu) statue makes the temple grounds here a spiritual power spot and a popular candidate for a Tokyo day trip.
Great Buddha of Kamakura Kotoku-in
Kyoto’s Arashiyama is commonly cited for its iconic bamboo forest, but you don’t really have to go much further than Kamakura’s Hokoku-ji Temple to discover its own stunning example of its tranquil bamboo grove and secluded teahouse. Consider an early start to capture the majestic calm on offer at 9am opening when it’s less busy — or go further by joining a Zen meditation session on Sunday mornings (7:30am).
The serene Hase-dera Temple invites visitors to view its majestic Kannon-do Hall and 9m wooden Kannon statue (goddess of mercy), which celebrates its 1300th anniversary in 2001 since its original creation in AD 721. After exploring the temple’s gardens, where you may glimpse the peaceful trio of Ryo-en Jizo statues or encounter the secluded Benten-kutsu Cave, take a moment to admire the view over Kamakura and the ocean from the observation platform across from the main hall.
Located halfway between Kamakura and Kita-Kamakura, Kencho-ji Temple is Kamakura’s oldest Zen temple and ranks first among the Five Great Zen Temples (Kamakura Gozan). See why by taking a spiritual journey here for yourself and trying Zen meditation (zazen). Relax and let go as you achieve an elevated state of mind while overlooking the temple’s Zen garden.