Kamakura : The Zen Capital of Japan
The former Japanese capital, which has now become Tokyo's top seaside resort, Kamakura retains vestiges of its former glory ...
By choosing to establish, in 1192, the political and military center of Japan in Kamakura, the shogun (war general) Minamoto no Yoritomo permanently metamorphosed the small town near Tokyo .
Having emerged victorious from the long civil war between the Minamoto and Taira clans, he established the first samurai government of the country. Thus commenced the Kamakura shogunate (1192-1333).
Zen influenceThe introduction of Zen Buddhism on Japanese soil in the same period - led by the monk Eisai, founder of the Rinzai Zen Sect, returning from a trip to China - profoundly changed the face of the former capital. In total, the city has 65 Buddhist temples.
Among them, the superb Kenchô-ji Temple and its many secondary buildings. It is the first of the five great Zen temples (Gozan) of the Rinzai school of Kamakura, followed by Engaku-ji, Jochi-ji-ji and Jufuku Jômyô-ji.
To the east, perched on the hills above the city, Hase-dera temple offers stunning views of the bay. Inside, an impressive gold statue of Kannon gives the place a mystical charm.
Read also : Zen in Japan
Back from NaraNot far away, the Great Buddha overlooks the surrounding treetops. Partially hidden within Kotoku-in temple, it is the star of Kamakura!
The best way to get there: Take the "Daibutsu hiking trail." It leads you to the heart of the city, towards roads lined with temples and shrines.