Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

For the Glory of Sake

For the Glory of Sake

Couldn't help but notice the snarky remark the Japanese guy made sitting next to me on my left.  " like Japanese sake.   This is a Japanese drink.  I like I like" he chided in Japanese English.  He attempted to rest his hand on my balls, but I slapped it away.  "No shit, then why are you drinking two fingers Jack-n-Coke" I retorted.   
I was requested to come and have a sit and drink lesson by the owner of the bar, who in turn introduced me to this drunk S.O.B.  And for a nominal fee I had to grit and bear the sickness of sitting next to a stinky salary man with a Black penis fetish for several hours while appearing like I was having the time of my life.  I didn't want to ruin it for my Jukujo matron and patron, so I behaved.  
I haven't been to a Japanese shrine in a while, but whenever I go I always pray and thank the Gods for the Japanese Jukujo.  I thank them for delivering me from the scourge of silly little she-men w…