Kamakura’s Komyoji Temple

Tranquility, Sea breezes and Scenic sunsets

By Steve Morton    - 2 min read

During my various visits to Kamakura, I have had the pleasure of seeing some truly wonderful sights and have always felt that this city is one of those places that always has something more to offer. After first hearing about Komyoji several years ago, I was finally able to visit this temple that is renowned for its two gardens and impressive views over Zaimokuza beach.

Properly known as Tenshōzan Renge-in Kōmyō-ji, this is a Jodo sect Buddhist temple which was believed to have originally been founded in Kamakura’s Sasukegayatsu Valley in 1240 under its original name, Renge-ji or “Temple of Lotuses.”Although the exact date cannot be confirmed, it is thought that it was later moved to its present location in 1243, after a famous Buddhist priest received a "divine order" to rename it as Komoyo-Ji, “Temple of the shining light.”

Komyoji has the distinction of being Kamakura’s only major temple to be located close by to the sea and is some distance away from the city’s other historical sights. Perhaps this is the reason why Komyoji has a more localized feel to it when compared to the city’s other major sights. This is something I first noticed when entering its Sannon gate, where I was kindly greeted by one of its caretakers.

Ironically, my main reason for coming here was to see its famed rock garden and observation deck which is reputed for offering some legendary views over Zaimokuza beach. However, because the temple is partially undergoing renovation, I couldn’t see either. Despite this initial disappointment, I could still enjoy soaking up the peace and tranquility while visiting its pond garden where time just seemed to stand still.

Getting there

From JR Kamakura Station, the temple is about a leisurely 30-minute walk away, which passes by the scenic Zaimokuza beach. Alternatively, visitors can take Bus #40, which leads right up to the temple’s front gate

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Steve Morton

Steve Morton @steve.morton138

Yokohama based content creator, editor, and researcher. Steven likes, eating, reading and traveling on a streamlined budget guaranteed to make any self-respecting local gulp. When not too busy with work assignments, Steven attempts to not get lost while following Japanese tourist maps.Follow me on Wordpress or Instagram... and let's connect!