Travel

Search
Photo By: Claire Heginbotham
Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Yokohama
Population
8,489,932

Hase-dera Temple

From caves, to ocean views, to grand statues, this Kamakura temple is worth much more than just a quick look.

Hase-dera temple in Kamakura was constructed to hold a massive, gold-gilded, wooden statue of Kannon, the god of mercy. Located halfway up Mount Kamakura, the buddhist temple starts at the base of the hill, slowly revealing beautiful views of the seaside town as you climb. It is one of the biggest temples in Kamakura, featuring four halls and three other constructions.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham Temple garden.

Close to the entrance, you’ll find a koi pond and gardens famous for their hydrangeas in June/July. To the right there is a small temple hall and a cave area dedicated to Benzaiten; the goddess of feminine beauty, water and wealth.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham God of cooking — you rub him for luck。

Up the stairs to the Kannon Hall, various other deities are on display. There are rows and rows of small Jizo statues — the guardian deity of children. These are to honor miscarried and still-born children as well as aborted pregnancies and can be purchased inside the temple. Over 50,000 have been displayed, but only 1,000 are on display at a time.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham Quite a display of jizo!

At the top of the hill, there is a small restaurant, a look-out point and the main Kannon Hall. The look-out point is a fantastic spot to take a rest and soak in the view. To the right, Amida Hall houses the golden statue of the Buddha Amida, who promises rebirth in the Pure Land to all who chant his name.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham The main hall of the temple.

Inside the main hall, you’ll find the statue of Kannon. Standing at over 9 meters and gilded in gold, it is one of the largest wooden statues in Japan. Eleven faces display the different stages of human suffering representing Kannon’s mercy.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham Gold godess.

Legend tells the statue is one of two, carved from a single camphor tree by a monk in 712. The statue was thrown into the ocean, accompanied by prayers for it to find it’s karmic connection. Fifteen years later, it resurfaced at Nagai Beach, shrouded in ray’s of light and Hase-dera was founded. The statue is awe-inspiring and many stand mildly dumbfounded, staring at it for some time.

Photo by: Claire Heginbotham Hang a wish on a shell.

As a popular tourist destination, almost everything there (including the fortunes) is translated into English. The temple tends to become crowded, but often thins out in the late afternoon as the temple closes at 5 p.m.  It is situated near the the Great Buddha (Daibutsu), so why not visit both!

At an extra cost, you can enter the Treasures Museum, which contains some old and culturally important artifacts relating to the temple. With plenty to do and see, Hase-dera is a temple where you’d want to spend some time.

Dig this scenery? Check out more temples in Japan.

Things To Know

Hours

Opening hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last entry at 16:30 p.m.

Fees

The entrance fee for adults is ¥300 and children ¥100. The museum is at an extra cost of ¥300.

How To Get There

By train

Located in Hase, along the Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway), the JR East sells a one-day Kamakura-Enoshima Pass that allows visitors unlimited rides on the JR, Enoshima Electric Railway and the Shonan Monorail. The cost for adults is ¥600 and children ¥350. 

Take the Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) to Hase Station. The temple is a clearly labeled, 9-minute walk.

Where To Stay

Guesthouse Kamakura Rakuan
  • Sakanoshita 16-11 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0021
  • 8.9/10
  • 0.3 km
Powered by Booking.com
IZA Kamakura Guest House and Bar
  • Sakanoshita 11-7 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0021
  • 8.6/10
  • 0.3 km
Powered by Booking.com
Inn By The Sea Kamakura
  • Hase 2-22-32 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0016
  • 9.4/10
  • 0.4 km
Powered by Booking.com
WeBase Hostel Kamakura
  • Yuigahama 4-10-7 Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa 248-0014
  • 9.3/10
  • 0.8 km
Powered by Booking.com