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Ennoji Temple, also called “Enma-do Hall” or “Juo-do Hall”

The main hall of Ennoji Temple

The main hall of Ennoji Temple

Ennoji Temple is one of the sub-temples of Kenchoji Temple. It enshrines the juo , or the ten kings of hell statues, so it is also often referred to as "Juo-do Hall". There is a famous statue of Enma Daio among the kings enshrined in the temple, so another name of the temple is also "Enma-do Hall". The seated statue was created by famed sculptor Unkei in the Kamakura period. The statue is also known by the other names of "Smiling Enma" or "Childcare Enma". It is a National Important Cultural Property. Another of the ten juo statues, the Sitting Shoko-o, has been entrusted to Kamakura's Museum of National Treasures. It, too, is a National Important Cultural Property.

Smiling Enma, Childcare Enma

Smiling Enma, Childcare Enma

Elderly and dying of illness, Unkei was brought to the gates of the afterlife and stood before the king of the underworld, Enma Daio. Enma Daio said to him, "I understand that you are a famous sculptor. Sculpt my figure to frighten people, so that they may fear going to hell and thus do only good deeds." Unkei returned to this world, and he set to sculpting. However, Unkei was so happy to have come back to life that his feelings of joy reflected onto the Enma sculpture. Though it was supposed to be a fearsome statue, the face appears to be smiling a little, so people called it "Smiling Enma". Long ago, the Enma-do (hall) was located near the ocean; it is said in a legend that when a great tsunami washed children away into the ocean, the statue of Enma extended out its tongue and rescued them. People have admired Enma as a god who protects and raises children ever since. In the Edo era, people hung a red silk string from the mouth of the statue to represent its tongue and held on to the end of it when praying to Enma.

The pain of Enma Daio

The pain of Enma Daio

Causing others pain is the most sinful act in the teaching of Buddhism. This means that Enma Daio, the king of the underworld, whose duty it is to send sinners into hell where they will suffer eternally, is also guilty of this great sin. To atone for his own inescapable sins, Enma Daio drinks boiling lead every day. Therefore, if no one in this world were to sin, Enma Daio would also be released from his pain.

Information

Address:1543 Yamanouchi, Kamakura City
Phone:0467-25-1095
Access:  A 15-minute walk from JR Kamakura station
Map: Google Map
Official website: -

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