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How to Properly Enjoy Kamakura Part 18: Ennoji Temple 円応寺

Before reading this post have a look at this 4-minute video first.   It's in Japanese, but you can sort of get the gist of what it is.   This is the King of Hell and is the chief diety at Ennoji Temple in Kamakura, Japan. ( fast forward a bit to see the performance).

After enjoying that short snippet, have a look at this next one.  It's only 2 minutes long.  The reason for the second video is to show the origin of the Emma.

Getting to this temple would be alot easier if there were more signage along the main road.  After leaving Kennchoji Temple, you head towards Kamakura, so,as you are walking, Kita-Kamakura should be directly behind you and you are heading towards the central Kamakura side.   This temple will be on your right hand side and up a flight of stairs.  Ennoji was built 767 years ago and retains many of its original wood decor.  

As a forewarning, this temple has a strict "no photography" policy that they enforce, so no pictures...There are tourist that do snap a few sneaky ones. 

Welcome to the temple of the gods of hell!

What sort of tourist would enjoy this temple?

1) Somebody who loves wood art.
2) A student of the Vedic scriptures
3) All Hindu and Buddhist will adore this temple
4) The history buff

The real draw for this temple is that you are allowed into the main hall where you can admire beautifully carved wood statuettes of the 10 gods of hell!   Very well worth your while to come here, you'll be impressed with the details on the statuettes.    When you enter the main hall start from the left and work your way around slowly.

In Buddhist mythology, 14 days after your death a maiden by the name of Datsueba ( Da-tsu-e-ba) will rip off your wet clothes, whether you are guilty of sin or not.   [ Judeau Christrians have a different take on what happens after death, but for the Buddhist, all men/women have to cross the Acheron River into the after-life. ]

( " There was no atonement for sin before Jesus Christ died, so everybody who died before expliation was sent to a type of purgatory, although it was not directly mentioned in the Bible, there was a third place.   Abraham, Enoc, Moses were all sent to this third place until Christ expliated these men and was able to lift them into heaven")   ( Additionally, all Buddhist who pass through the Acheron River pass into Purgatory by default until they receive judgement for their sins, so purgatories do exist outside the translation of both the Christian and Catholic scriptures.  It just wasn't mentioned explicitly.    John the Baptist and Paul stayed out of Asia, and no reference were made directly about going into Asia to spread the teachings of the Christ"). 

The first king of the underworld is called Shinko-ou who will determine the path each soul takes.   The second king( Shoko-ou) will judge people for stealing after they cross the river.  The third king( Sotei-ou) will judge the sins of lust.  the 4th king( Gokan-ou) will judge lies and selfishness and 7 other sins.   The 5th king ( Enma-ou)  is a ruling judge is the administrator of hell.  The 6th king will decide the details of each souls life.   Taizan-ou is the 7th king will decide how long your sentence will be.   Byoudo-ou the 8th king will investigate how you died.  The Toshi-ou, 9th king will assist on how to live properly  through those living.   The last and 10th king you will be admonished not to be stupid.

Remember to get some incense to burn before and after you enter the main hall.   You can see the whole temple in about 40 minutes.   Enjoy.


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