Kotoku-in is the more common name for Taiizan Kotoku-in Shojosen-ji in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture. This Jodo-shu Buddhist temple is renowned for its Diabutsu, or Great Buddha, which is one of the most famous icons of Japan. The temple has been designated a National Treasure and is undergoing UNESCO review.
Guests to the temple can enjoy its serenity no matter what season they visit. The cherry blossom season and autumn leaves are especially charming times to go to the temple. Aside from the Kamakura Daibutsu, Kotoku-in has many things to see. From the cornerstones that once held up the house the Great Buddha sat inside, to bronze lotus petals that once circled the Buddha. There are inviting halls and questionably-sized straw sandals—but every piece of the temple has a history that speaks volumes.
Enjoy the gardens and the haiku-inscribed stone monuments as you wander through these calm grounds outside Kamakura.
Kamakura’s Daibutsu is a beautiful bronze statue built in the mid-13th century (750 years ago). He has been meditating under the sky for about 500 years of those years, after losing the shelter he was originally housed in. When you visit, you might see him soaked in rain, or sweating under the glaring sun, or just enjoying the warm spring sunshine. Whenever you come, his expressive face will touch your heart. Kamakura’s Daibutsu has been kept intact, without any large-scale restorations since it was built.Discover more
The temple gate holds a plaque inscribed with Kotoku-in’s official name and houses a pair of Nio (Vajrapani) images inside the gate. Their fearsome faces are the subject of many visitor's photographs. The Nio were imported from another location in the 18th century.
Kangetsu-do Hall is believed to have been part of the imperial palace in the mid-15th century Hanyang (present-day Seoul), Korea. In 1924, the former owner of the building moved it from the Sugino mansion in Meguro, Tokyo, to Kotoku-in, donating it to the temple. The hall houses a standing image of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva (Kannon Bosatsu), believed to date from the late-Edo period.
On the inside wall of the corridor to the right facing the Great Buddha rests a pair of huge warazori. The warazori were first woven by children in 1951 with the wish that “the Great Buddha would don them to walk around Japan, bringing happiness to the people.” The Matsuzaka Children’s Club keeps this tradition alive to this day: since 1956, they have continued to make these giant warazori and present them to Kotoku-in once every few years.
A 5-10 minute walk from Hase Station on the Enoden Railway Line.
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