Kencho-ji Temple

Kencho-ji Temple © TSasaki

Kencho-ji Temple

This is a Rinzai sect temple which ranks first among Kamakura’s Five Great Temples. The temple was constructed in 1253 by Rankei Doryū, a Chinese Zen master who moved to Japan following the invitation of Hojo Tokiyori, shikken (regent) of Kamakura government.

The Sanmon (main gate) was rebuilt in 1775 and is declared an Important Cultural Property. On top of the gate there is an image of a Buddhist saint Gohyaku Rakan.

Moreover, the main hall has a mausoleum of the wife of Tokugawa Hidetata whose remains were reburied here. You can also find a statue of Bodhisattva Jizo here.

Apart from this, you can see a 750 year old tree planted by Rankei Doryu. There is also “Hanzobo” Hall. When you take the stairs to go there, you will see a statue of a creature called Karasu-tengu. It is an entity with a human body that has wings and a beak.

There are paid sutra-copying events held at the temple every day from 10:00 to 15:00. Zen meditation events are conducted every Friday and Saturday from 17:00 to 18:00, reservation is not required. Overnight meditation events are conducted two times per year. Kencho-ji is believed to be the  birthplace of “Kenchin-jiru”, a soup that consists of horse radish, burdock, ginseng and tofu. You can try it at the restaurants nearby.


From JR Kita-Kamakura Station it is 20 minutes walking towards Kamakura city. Alternatively, from JR Kamakura Station take a bus headed towards  Kencho-ji/Ofune Station and get off at Kencho-ji Station. A 30 minute walk in the direction of  Kita-Kamakura.

Image Gallery: Kencho-ji Temple

Description: Kencho-ji Temple

Sights Kencho-ji Temple (建長寺 )
Address 8, Yama-no-Uchi, Kanagawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken
Phone / Fax Phone: 0467-22-0981
Duration 1Hour(s)
Admission Fee Pay admission: 300yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Kencho-ji Temple