Kamakura is a smallish town one hour by train from Tokyo and it is known for its many zen temples. If you get off the train at Kita-Kamakura, the closest temple complex is also the second largest one. It is called Engaku-ji.

Kamakura Engaku-ji   Kamakura, Engaku-ji
Kamakura, Engaku-ji, Butsu-den Kamakura, Engaku-ji Kamakura, Engaku-ji

I found it surprisingly difficult to photograph in Kamakura, quite simply because everything, including architecture, is so far away from that I am used to seeing, that I had to think hard and long about composition. (Insert thanks to my patient friends here.)

Engaku-ji, Kamakura   Wooden carvings at Engaku-ji, Kamakura
Stone sculpture at Engaku-ji, Kamakura Engaku-ji, Kamakura Stone sculptures at Engaku-ji, Kamakura

Temples, halls, stone and wooden carvings, moss covered trees, ponds, strange colourful berries, votive tablets, tea house, it was all there.

Engaku-ji, Kamakura Visitors at Engaku-ji, Kamakura Violet berries at Engaku-ji, Kamakura
Ema at Kaiki-Byo, Engaku-ji   Tea tables at Kaiki-Byo, Engaku-ji

And bells, more votive tablets (they are called Ema and you write your prayer/wish on the back side), and rice cracker sellers in Kamakura itself. By the way, sweet potato ice cream and chestnut ice cream are both delicious. Just don’t try to photograph while holding an ice cream cone in one hand and having two cameras hung on your neck, unless you wish to provide comic relief in the form of a “How to strangle yourself with your own camera strap” performance.

Bell at Engaku-ji, Kamakura Ema at Kaiki-Byo, Engaku-ji Preparing rice cakes in Kamakura

I see this post is becoming very long and a good candidate for one of my to-be-continued-tomorrow-or-most-probably-much-later-next-week-or-so stories. Tomorrow, probably.


~ by veronikab on 27 October, 2008.

5 Responses to “Kamakura”

  1. I love Kamakura. Thank you for sharing your photos, and your stories.

    It’s a beautiful, peaceful, historic town, and it just makes me feel good every time I go there. Looking at your photos makes me very nostalgic for Japan.

  2. Toranosuke-san, you expressed clearly in one sentence what I was struggling to put into words in the whole post, thank you for that. I find Kamakura very peaceful and beautiful too.

  3. […] part two – Kencho-ji It is and easy walk from Engaku-ji to Kencho-ji, it takes about half an hour and you can get the ice cream and rice crackers menioned […]

  4. […] are the previous entries from Kamakura: Engaku-ji and Kencho-ji and here is my Kamakura set of […]

  5. Hi,

    It seems a wonderful place to rest from the rest of the world’s chaos.

    Kind regards,


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