Kencho-ji Temple, Kamakura

4.5
Take in the serenity and artistry at Kencho-ji Temple, a commanding Zen Buddhist temple known for its carefully designed gardens and grand architecture. Completed in 1253 under the command of Emperor Go-Fukakusa, the temple originally boasted 49 subtemples, most of which were lost to fire during the 14th and 15th centuries. As you explore the extensive complex, note the 13th-century temple bell, Chinese juniper trees in the temple garden, and the finely ornamented roofs and walls. The temple welcomes visitors to participate in 40-minute zazen meditation sessions, providing brief instruction on posture and the tenets of Zen Buddhism beforehand (in Japanese). North of the complex, hiking trails lead farther up the hill to an observatory. Plan to visit Kencho-ji Temple during your Kamakura vacation using our convenient Kamakura route planner.
Create an itinerary including Kencho-ji Temple
map
Kencho-ji Temple Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
399 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Very impressive architecture, with lots of history. Check out the old trees (over 700 years old), the dragon picture on the ceiling of the hall. For more on Kamakura, check "hiddenjapanguide"  more »
  • Brabra walked from tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine in Kamakura kaidō strong enough, and enter the main gate at the back of the right hand of big parking lot immediately robbed of Mikado have distinctive character in front of the eyes. Thoughts after extensive grounds on discovering his major wooden structure building and was called during the past hour. Visited at 11-first half of the season, and resilience of wooden architecture, beauty, and was able to explore what vast site satisfaction.
    View original
  • Met in a number of Tengu with commanding views kencho-ji Temple is known in the "soup" is a site wide, steep stairs to take and appreciate and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere!
    View original
Google
  • Easy access point for this temple from Kita-Kamakura station. There’s a brisk walk of about 1km. There are 9 points of interest here: The General Gate, Main Gate, Temple Bell, Junipers, Buddha Hall, Dharma Hall,Main Hall, Garden, Protecting Shrine, and Monastery. For the avid photo-hobbyist these 9 points of interest will be well worth visiting here, even though no tripods are allowed, so come in the afternoon. Spend some time here getting familar with the surroundings as this is the highest ranking Zen temple in Kamakura. The nice aspect about this temple is that you can enter in many of the halls and take pictures of the dieties, so less restrictions as other temples. When you pass through the main gates there is a sitting area for breaks and to get your camera gear ready. It’s a good idea to bone up on some history before you come here, or none of the artifacts will have any meaning. One of my favorite artifacts is the Fasting Buddha from Pakistan. Yes! The convergence of Buddhism in Japan has a violent and beautiful history. My second recommendation is the see the Unryu-zu ceiling painting called Hatto. Zen temples place emphasis on space and dimensions, so many of these temples will have very simple layouts with large thoroughfares for easy walking.
  • Beautiful, interesting & serene. Main gate is impressive & Sakura trees have just started blooming. All who pass through this gate should be able to rid self of any harmful addiction or habits. Zen garden, connected to hiking path, cultural treasures like giant statue & structures. Manicured garden surround each structure. Quite large facility- good value visit for 300 yen entry fee (100 yen for kids up to HS age). Possible to do Shu-in at main entrance office.
  • In my point of view, one of the most buddhist zen temple and architecture. It is a complex of many pagodas. The staff was nice and there are some explanations in english for all of them. Unlike the other spots of Kamakura, this place was not crowded at all even during the high season. I definitely, recommended to anyone to go there even if you have to walk around 30 minutes from the station.
  • Simple and serene. 🙏
  • Super beautiful temple area, would recommend. 500¥ entrance fee.

Plan your trip to Kamakura

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Kamakura

Given the easy access from Tokyo via a number of public transport options, the vast majority of visitors to Kamakura choose to stay in the capital and head here for a day trip. If you feel there's too much to see in one day, then you'll be pleased to find a decent selection of accommodations in Kamakura itself. Down by the sea sit perhaps the most luxurious of the crop, with sea views high on the list of desires for those who stay here. Follow the river as it snakes inland past the train station, and you'll see a good number of more standard hotels, as well as particularly budget-friendly guesthouses.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Kamakura by other users

13 days in Japan BY A USER FROM ITALY April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Japan BY A USER FROM THAILAND October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 2 days in Kanagawa Prefecture BY A USER FROM INDONESIA April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in Japan BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in Japan BY A USER FROM PORTUGAL April, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 24 days in Japan BY A USER FROM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC March, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 32 days in Japan & Ho Chi Minh City BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Japan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Japan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 21 days in Japan BY A USER FROM INDONESIA April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in Japan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 18 days in Japan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans