This temple is the daihonzan (head temple) of the Kencho-ji Temple school of the Rinzai sect and ranks first among the Kamakura Gozan (Kamakura's Five Great Zen Temples). It has a number of national treasures, cultural assets, and historical structures. The Sanmon (three gates) are a must-see.
A temple with a rich history, located in the ancient city of Kamakura. It is ranked first among the Kamakura Gozan and is the head temple of the Kencho-ji Temple school of the Rinzai sect. Hojo Tokiyori, the regent at the time, invited a high priest of China's Song Dynasty to build this temple in 1253 as a family temple and to commemorate the rise of the nation. It is said that over 1000 trainee monks practiced asceticism in the training hall. The face of Kencho-ji is the Sanmon (the three gates) built in 1775. The original thatched roof is now copper, and as a result of the major renovations that the temple underwent in the early 2000's, it once again presents the magnificent stature that it had when it was first built. Enter the Sanmon, and you will see a number of remarkable Buddhist temples including The Butsuden, or Buddhist Hall, where the Jizo-Bosatsu, the principal object of worship, is located; the Hatto (Dharma Hall), where the statue of the thousand-armed Kannon is enshrined; and Hojo (or Ryuo-den) where the statue of Hokan Shaka Nyorai is enshrined. The temple even has three national treasures, including the statue of Daikaku Zenji, the founder of the temple, and three important cultural assets including the seated statue of Hojo Tokiyori. The temple is a 20 minute walk in the direction of Kamakura Station from Kitakamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line.