A Perfect Guide for Tokeiji Temple in Kamakura, Japan

A 5-minute walk from Kita Kamakura Station, Tokeiji Temple is known for its flowers, which bloom throughout the four seasons and include the spring cherry blossoms and early summer hydrangeas. Originally, in Zen temple, it was called the “Enkiri Temple” (Cutting-ties Temple) and saved the lives of many women. In this article, we introduce the history and attractions of Tokeiji Temple. 

About Tokeiji

It was founded in 1285 in Koyasu by Kakusan, the wife of Hojo Tokimune, the 8th Shikken in the Koan period. It is the only temple that exists among Kamakura Amagozan (five Zen nunneries in Kamakura), and during the feudal era when women were unable to divorce, allowed them to take refuge from their husbands and stay as nuns in the temple, which was often called “Enkiri Temple” at the time.

In the 4th year of the Meiji Era (1871), the nunnery and sanctuary were abolished, and in the Meiji 36 (1903), and male monks took charge. It is no longer a Zen temple. 

Highlights of Tokeiji Temple

On the temple grounds, there is a main hall, a study hall, a bell tower, a tea room called Kanuntei, and the Treasury. The greatest highlight is the main hall. It has a distinctive appearance that is made from four triangular shingles on top of a square building (this is called hougyou-zukuri), and it bears a statue of the temple’s principle deity, the Shaka-Nyorai. The temple has a solemn atmosphere that reminds visitors of its past as a Zen temple, with the roof gate on the top of a narrow stone stairway that only 2 adults may fit through at a time.

The Museum at the Matsuoka Treasury (Hour: 9:00 to 15:30, Closed: Monday (Tuesday for public holidays) free admission) has a statue of St. Kannon stepping forward lightly with her right foot, and ancient documents related to the statue and divorce, such as the Tokeiji Bunsho. All are designated important cultural assets of Japan. In addition, there are classes such those for copying sutras, Zen meditation, perfumery, and flower pressing. These classes charge a fee. 

Seasonal flowers of Tokeiji Temple

All photo provided by : 鎌倉市観光協会

All photos are provided by the Kamakura City Tourism Association

Tokeiji Temple is also famous for its flowers. In particular, there are many types of cherry blossoms, which start to bloom in order of Higan-zakura, Shidare-sakura and the Yoshino Cherry. Several types of cherry blossoms come out in intervals, and they can be viewed slowly without being crowded as they are well distributed across the grounds. In addition, beautiful flowers bloom throughout each season, such as plum blossoms in early spring and the Japanese Iris in June. 

Access to Tokeiji Temple

From Tokyo area, exit JR Yokosuka Line Kita Kamakura Station East Exit, walk towards Kamakura and cross the level crossing in front of Engakuji Temple. It is about 4 minutes on foot from the station.

Spot Information

  • Spot name: Tokeiji
  • Street Address: Yamanouchi 1367, Kamakura City 247-0062
  • Ticket: 200 yen
  • Business Hours: 8:30 to 16:30 (from October to March is until 16:00)
  • Closing days: none