Our next stop in Kamakura was the Hasedera Temple.
According to legend, in 721 the pious monk Tokudo Shonin discovered a large camphor tree in the mountain forests near the village of Hase in the Nara region. He realized the trunk of the tree was so large that it provided enough material for carving two statues of the eleven-headed Kannon. The statue he commissioned to be carved from the lower part of the trunk was enshrined in Hasedera Temple near Nara; the statue from the upper half was thrown into the sea near present-day Osaka with a prayer that it would reappear to save the people. Fifteen years later in 736 on the night of June 18, it washed ashore at Nagai Beach on the Miura Peninsula not far from Kamakura, sending out rays of light as it did. The statue was then brought to Kamakura and a temple was constructed to honor it.
The magnificent statue of Hase Kannon is housed in Kannon-do Hall for all to see and worship. It is 30.1 feet tall and has eleven heads in addition to its main one: three in front, three to the left and three to the right, plus one at the top and another on back. Each face has a slightly different expression, signifying that the deity listens to the wishes of all types of people.
Photographs are not permitted inside the temples, so we do not have images of the description.
The observation platform overlooked Yuigahama/Zaimokuza beaches and Sagami Bay.
The Benten-kutsu Cave is where Benzaiten and 16 children are chiseled out of the rock walls. Benzaiten is a sea goddess and the only female among the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. Her temples and shrines are located near water — the sea, a river, or a pond. She is the patron of music, the fine arts, and good fortune in general, and usually carries a biwa (Japanese mandolin) or plays a lute.
The ceiling in the cave was very low, so we had to walk crouched over most of the time.
I would like to tell you that I was purposely going for a ghostly image of Shawn…but this is really just a case of operator error with the camera settings.
As you exited the cave, there was a wall with prayer tablets…
This was our favorite tablet…
We’re still not done posting photos from Kamakura! More to come…hopefully you’re not bored yet!
The text in italics is from the info guide we were given upon entering the temple.