There's an absolute abundance of temples in Kamakura, more than you could see if you stayed for a few days, and many of them are overlooked by visitors. However, some of them off the tourist map are also worth stopping off at, and Kyo-on-ji is one of those.
Not far south-east of the station, it's an intimate little place, with plenty of points of interest for temple-spotters like me. Most interesting for me are the beautifully detailed wooden carvings you'll find overhead: in the gate there's a tableau of (presumably) Buddhist monks or saints, while under the eaves of the worship hall there's a ferocious-looking dragon poised to swoop down.
There's also a pleasant small garden to contemplate, a handful of Buddhist statues dotted around, and a collection of ancient grave markers, which have likely been there for hundreds of years.
Head south along the main road from the station on its east side, then turn east after you've walked under the railway bridge. The tenple will be on your left, not long after the rail crossing.
Was this article helpful?