Kamakura Trip Hom ＞ Hasedera Temple(Hase Kannon)
One of the most popular places in Kamakura with an old history
The lively area surrounding Hasedera Temple
Hase Station on the Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) is the gateway to some of the most popular locations in Kamakura: the Daibutsu (Great Buddha), and Hasedera Temple(Hase Kannon). The street connecting the station and Hasedera Temple is what one would expect in the area approaching such famous places, laden with restaurants, souvenir shops, long-established traditional Japanese inns, traditional crafts shops, and more. Walking down this street is a delight all on its own. It is said that Hasedera Temple was established in the Nara period (710~793). It is assumed to have one of the oldest histories as a temple in Kamakura. Unfortunately, few records can be found about Hasedera Temple, and many details remain a mystery.
Hojo-ike pond and Myouchi-ike pond
Upon entering the grounds, you’ll find two ponds called Hojo-ike and Myouchi-ike. Hasedera Temple can be divided into two parts; one is the lower garden area around these ponds, and another is up the stairs leading to Kannon-do hall.
The ponds on the lower grounds are arranged in the center of the gardens, and there is even a small cascade. Seasonal trees and flowers can be enjoyed here all year long. Plum trees blossom in early spring, irises in early summer, and in the fall you are treated with beautiful, colorful fall foliage, and much more. Visiting Hasederea Temple any time of year guarantees a visual delight.
One of the largest, most historic, wooden Buddha statues in Japan
Kannon-do hall is located at the top of the stone stairs that begin by Hojo-ike pond. The main statue, the Eleven-faced Knnon(Goddess of Mercy), is 9.18 meters (30.1 feet) tall and is one of the biggest historical wooden statues of Buddha in Japan. Its dazzling body is covered with gold leaf.
Panoramic view of the Yuigahama shoreline from the lookout
The official name of Hasedera Temple is Kaikouzan Jishoin Hasedera, named after the panoramic view available from the lookout and from the trail leading up the hill behind the halls. From the lookout you are treated to an expansive panoramic view of the blue ocean of Yuigahama beach under a blue sky. Hasedera Temple is produces a lively, welcoming atmosphere by enthusiastically participating in events and actively engaging in the promotion of tourism in Kamakura. You can take a tea break at the Kaiko-an, the café in Hasedera Temple, next to the lookout.
Kamakura's hydrangea hot spot
There is a trail that winds up the hill behind the main shrines and near the lookout. During the rainy season of early summer, more than 40 different kinds of hydrangeas cover the hillside with about 2,500 blooms. The reason Hasedera Temple's hydrangeas are so popular is that there is such a large quantity of both bushes and blossom color variety. It presents a strong contrast to the monochromatic hydrangeas in Meigetsu-in Temple, which is known as "the temple of hydrangea" in Kamakura. Since the trail through the hydrangeas in Hasedera Temple is so narrow, admission may be restricted on weekends and holidays when there are many visitors to the temple. It is recommended to visit on weekdays or early in the morning on the weekends.
Peaceful Jizo, guardian deity
Once you enter the grounds of Hasedera Temple, make your way to the right and you’ll find the peaceful statue of Jizo by the Hojo-ike pond. Due to its popularity, many people stand in line to take a picture with it.
Illuminated autumn foliage
Illuminated autumn foliage is a wide spread event all over Japan these days, but Hasedera Temple is the only place to do so in Kamakura. The light-up begins at sunset. Even if you happen to arrive early, there are many places like cafes and souvenir shops you can visit to pass the time in the Hase area.
Rinzo, rotating bookracks
There are many highlights in Hasedera Temple, but the most unique one is the rotating bookrack called rinzo. It was the invention of Fudaishi from the Liang dynasty in China. Priceless Buddhist sutras for the temple are kept on the rotating bookrack. It is said that you can earn the same benefit of having read all of the sutras just by turning it once.
Hasedera Ho-motsu-kan, the gallery of Hasedera treasures, was renovated as Kannon Museum in October, 2015. Not only does it exhibit former treasures, but it also has come to include materials related to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, the main statue of Hasedera Temple.
Address: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura City
Access: Take the enoshima electric railway from Kamakura and get off at Hase Station. It is a 5-minute walk from the station
Official Website: Kamakura Hasedera Website