Chosho-ji Temple in Kamakura

A hidden gem with some striking Buddhist statues

By Peter Sidell    - 1 min read

Wandering round Kamakura one time, I found on my map a temple that I hadn't heard of and knew nothing about (actually, there are dozens like that, but this one was nearby), and decided to go and take a look. Little did I know that it was so impressive, or that it holds an important place in the history of Buddhism in Japan.

I went in through a small door in the side wall, and was met by five tall, very striking statues: the priest Nichiren, founder of a major sect of Buddhism, flanked by four ferocious Devas, Heavenly Kings protecting the world from each direction. Founded in 1265 (though the present temple is a later reconstruction dating from 1345), Chosho-ji is one of three temples claiming to be where Nichiren lived and developed his teachings.

There are many other interesting statues around the grounds: some of them are Buddhist saints and deities watching over graves, lending the graveyards a serene atmosphere.

Getting there

The temple is about fifteen minutes' walk south-east of Kamakura station, on the JR Yokosuka line and the local Enoden line.

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Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.