Kamakura Trip Home ＞ Jochiji Temple
The fourth ranked temple of the Kamakura Gozan (Five) Temples
The history of Jochiji Temple
Jochiji Temple is a prestigious temple, ranked fourth in the Five Great Rinzai temples of Kamakura, called the Kamakura Gozan. The wife of Tokiyori Hojo and their son, Morotoki, established it together to pray for the repose of Munemasa’s soul. Munemasa was the third son of Tokiyori, who was the fifth regent of the Kamakura shogunate. The area surrounding Kitakamakura station is very quiet, home to not just Jochiji and many other temples, but also many residences. It is a very quiet and peaceful place. The red, cylindrical-shaped object seen on the approach to the temple is an old-fashioned mailbox. A stroll through this quaint, old-fashioned area of town is sure to be a delight all its own.
Hou Sho Zai Kin: an encouraging message
Many people are curious about the words “Hou Sho Zai Kin” on the signboard hanging on the main gate. It sounds like it means, “the treasure is there very near you,” but it is actually a message to the monks in training. It means: “If you train hard, you can attain spiritual enlightenment earlier than you think.” If we were to think of it this way, it could be a very encouraging message for us as well: "Happiness is closer than you think; work through unpleasant moments and strive to live fully."
Kanro-no-i (Kanro Well), one of the 10 well-known wells in Kamakura
There is a well called Kanro-no-i in front of the main gate to Jochiji Temple. It is one of 10 well-known wells in Kamakura. Most of the spring water in Kamakura was slightly salty due to the city being near the ocean. This made pure spring water very valuable before piped tap water was supplied. Lacecap hydrangeas bloom next to the well during the rainy season.
The stone steps that appeared in the movie of Bushi-no-ichibun
Jochiji Temple's Sanmon gate is of a rare Chinese design. The stone steps, which lead up to the gate, appear in the move Bushi-no-ichibun, English title Love and Honor. The scuffed stone steps appear in the scene where the wife of Shin-no-jo(Leading role of the movie) visits the grave of ancestors.
The Buddhist statues representing the past, present, and future
Donge-den is the temple building where three Buddhist statues are enshrined. They are Donge-den’s principal icons. The three-seated statues of Amida Nyorai, Shaka Nyorai, and Miroku Nyorai are together called “Sanze-Butsu-zazo”. Each statue represents the past, present, and future, respectively.
High Priest Hotei
Deep in the grounds of the temple, there is a statue of High Priest Hotei, one of the Seven Gods of Good Luck (Shichifukujin) of Kamakura and Enoshima. It is said that touching its belly brings you happiness, so everyone does just that, causing the belly to blacken over the years. In Japan, the phrase "black belly" refers to a person who is evil. But don't worry, this "black-bellied Buddha" is nothing of the sort!
Daibutsu Hiking Trail
If you take the path out of the left side of the Jochiji Temple grounds, you will pass by Mt. Genji Park and Zeniarai Benten Shrine, and then eventually be led to Daibutsu (Great Buddha) via Daibutsu Hiking Trail. Many hikers especially traverse this trail during the early bright green colors of spring, or the golden and red colors of fall.
Address：1402 Yamanouchi, Kamakura City
Access: 8-minute walk from JR Kitakamakura station
Map: Google Map