Beyond the concrete jungle of Tokyo, some of Japan’s most breath-taking shrines and temples are just a train ride away. Kamakura, a city in Kanagawa prefecture, is home to some of the Kanto region’s most famous temples. One such temple is Hase-dera.
Step inside the main temple hall of Hase-dera, and you will find a magnificent statue of the goddess of mercy, Kannon. The wooden statue is one of Japan’s largest, gilded in gold. The statue is truly a must-see if you are in the Tokyo area.
The Underground Cave
Among the many halls and statues on the temple grounds is a traditional Japanese torii gate leading to the mouth of a cavern. Take a step inside, and you will not be disappointed! This cave, called Benzaiten Grotto in English, consists of a long, winding tunnel filled with passages. The ceiling is quite low, adding to the mysterious effect of the cave. Inside are hundreds of tiny figures of the deity, Benzaiten, the goddess of the sea, and one of the Seven Lucky Gods of Japanese mythology.
Something for the Nature Lover
There is also a walking path through a small and quaint bamboo forest near Kannon-do Hall. It was very refreshing to stroll along the path and take our time to enjoy the bamboo. There are other walking paths above the temple which offer a great view of the seaside town below. The gardens offer distinct scenes for each of Japan’s four seasons, making any time a great time to enjoy.
A Very Beautiful Temple
We really enjoyed our visit to Hase-dera Temple in Kamakura, just a five-minute walk from Hase Station. I hope to go back soon! There was so much to see and experience at this temple -named one of the holiest in the Kanto region – you will definitely want to add this to your travel plans. Don’t miss out on this treasure!
3 Chome-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0016
(All of the pictures were taken by me, except for the picture of the Kannon statue, and the picture of the inside of the cave. All credit for pictures goes to the original photographer.)