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鎌倉 長谷寺 Kamakura Hasedera Temple

  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
  • Around Kamakura
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Around Kamakura
3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan
  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
Opening Hours
[March-September]8:00-17:00, [October-February]8:00-16:30
Open Every Day
Date of post:2015/06/12

Visit and see the eleven headed Kannon Bodhisattva

  • Temple / Shrine
  • Special Recommendations

Hasedera Temple is located in the same area as Daibutsu, the great Buddha in walking distance. Of course it’s a tourist- favourite sightseeing spot, but Hasedera Temple is also something you shouldn’t miss.

Being built in the beginning of the 8th century, Hasedera Temple has attracted many worshippers and tourists. The nearby temple of the Great Buddha is quite simple, but on the other hand, here in Hasedera Temple, there are lots more to see.

The biggest feature is a huge statue of Kannon Bodhisattva, which is about 9 meters high, and it’s one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan. It’s made of camphor tree, but you might not notice it at first sight, as it’s covered by golden leaves. Well, I should tell you something basic about Buddhist statues for better understanding. Basically most temples have a main hall which houses a main Buddhist statue, but the types are different depending on the temple. The real character of all Buddhist statues is of course Buddha, but it incarnates itself into various forms to save all people who are suffering from different troubles. That’s why the statues look different from temple to temple. Especially here in Hasedera Temple, this eleven headed Kannon Bodhisattva is ready to find suffering people at once, having eleven heads which face all directions, in addition to the main incarnation. Kannon Bodhisattva is Buddha’s incarnation before its enlightenment, and it is half still in “our world”, not having finished its training, so it wears frilled clothes and accessories. As the training proceeds, Buddha needs less material without material desire.

In addition to the statue in the main hall, there is another important Buddhist statue next to it, which is called Amida-do hall. A different type of Buddhist statue is housed in the Amidado- hall next to it, and according to legend it was built for Minamoto Yoritomo who was the first Shogun of the Kamakura period. Traditionally Japan has a concept of unlucky age, which is not technically proven with scientific basis, but has been practiced for a long time on the basis of the physical cycle of human life. The ages are different from men and women, but 42 year-old men and 33 year-old women are said to have the unluckiest age. When Yoritomo was 42 years old, he had this statue made to drive bad sprits away. It’s been worshipped by many people since then.

By the way, the type of the statue here is “Nyorai” which is a transformation of Buddha after enlightenment and it has simple clothes with no accessories at all.

Another popular attraction here is a mysterious cave called “Benten-kutsu”. Inside the dark cave, there are stone sculptures attached to the wall, and especially the main statue of “Benzai-ten” which was originally the goddess of water from India that is worshipped by many visitors. This goddess was introduced into Buddhism and became popular as a goddess for music and art.

One more thing I shouldn’t miss to tell you is that the temple is famous for flowers as well, and any season you visit, you can enjoy them. Especially in June, hydrangeas are beautiful with many different colours. The walking path on the ground is lined with hydrangeas. It’s even worth visiting just for these flowers if you are in Japan in the middle of the rainy season, which sometimes ruin your plans. The rain makes the colours of flowers more vivid. On a sunny day, you can see a nice landscape of the sea and the nearby town from the viewing spot.

Opening hours: 8:00-17:00 (Mar-Sep) / 8:00-16:30 (Oct-Feb)
Closed: From 29 Dec to 1 Jan.
Adult ¥300 (JPY) / Child (Primary school ) ¥100 (JPY)

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