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How to Properly Enjoy Kamakura Part 15: Myohoji Temple 妙法寺

Why visit this temple:

1) You have a deep interest in Nichiren Buddhism
2) You love beautiful vistas from atop low hilly areas.
3) You love wood art under temple trellises.
4) You love stone pathways wound around beautiful gardens.
5) You love moss carpet stairways leading up to stone tombs.

Here's a quick 60-second intro to Nichiren Buddhism:

Myohoji Temple, not to be confused with Myohonji Temple, is the most famous of the moss garden temples in the world.    The layout is ensconced within a low mountainous valley deep in a crevice out of plane sight.

Before you pay your entrance fee, it is good to understand that this temple served as a hermitage for the great Buddhist teacher Nichiren when he was alive, not dead.    This is the temple where he taught the concepts of the Lotus Sutra.

Moreover, when I say hermitage or reference anything about Myohoji Temple, above all other things this period in his life was one of great persecution.    In fact this very temple is where he came to hide in the hilly moss green caves atop the hills in the back of this temple.    While in hiding, he taught the Lotus Sutra, so that's the most important mindset.  Ok now pay the entrance fee.

Main Hall

As you approach the temple take notice of the artistry on the ceiling.   Immediately you notice the wood carved into flowers from way back in the 12th Century.

Wood Carvings 

Nichiren lived here, behind this temple for 20 years while traveling around the country preaching his teachings.   Allow me to digress a little,  this temple is widely respected is because of having blood ties to the Imperial lineage which is the oldest in the world!

Foot path

Rear Gate leading up to the Hokkedo

From start to finish the whole walk is supposed to cause you to ponder and reflect on yourself and happiness.

Moss Carpeted Stairway

If you continue to the top you will see this beautiful stone statuette of the great Nichiren built into a rock.

And then the last few staircases get really touch, but from the top on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fujii.  I will keep that picture, you need to see with your own eyes.
How to get here is from JR Kamakura Station.


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