Zeniarai Benzaiten, the Hidden Temple 銭洗弁財天
Hidden in the wooded area around the Great Buddha , accessible by one of the many hiking paths of Kamakura , is Zeniarai Benzaiten, the temple of the miraculous source and carrier of wealth.
The term hidden temple is no exaggeration in the case of Zeniarai Benzaiten (or Zeniarai Benten). You'll find it at the end of a tunnel dug into the rock, ten meters along, leading to a sort of natural amphitheater. The entrance is indicated by lanterns and a torii (sacred gate). In summer, when the grass is the most dense, it's like being transported into a Studio Ghibli animation.
In The Middle Of Nature
The temple itself is located near one of these undeveloped parks bordering Kamakura, making this a natural fortress back in the old days. It has the distinction of being a syncretic temple, Buddhism and Shinto mixing without discrimination.
Zeniarai Benzaiten remains a popular temple, seeing as it promises riches. The kami (god) is revered through a small local source in a cave in the center of the temple. The faithful come to wash their money - coins or bills - and then let them dry. This ritual is supposed to encourage the increase of your fortune.
Make A Fortune
Visitors wanting to get rich will pay a small fee to use one of the baskets (used to wash bills and coins). In short, give to better receive. The cave is small and exudes tranquility. The temple also has a nice pond with the usual carp. Everything is in miniature, enclosed in a harsh terrain.
The quirkiness of the place, but also the beauty of Kamakura's natural surroundings, most definitely makes it worth a stop.
Address, timetable & access