Hasedera (Kamakura)

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The 30-foot gilded Kannon statue at Hasedera in Kamakura.
  • Established: 736
  • Japanese: 長谷寺 (hasedera)

Hasedera is a Buddhist temple in Kamakura, founded in 736.

A copy of the wooden statue of Kannon enshrined at the more famous Hasedera in Nara was made, and set adrift on the waves; it came ashore in Kamakura, and Kamakura's Hasedera was thus founded to house it. The gilded camphor sculpture is the largest Buddhist wooden statue in the country, at 30 feet tall. It is considered #4 in the Kantô 33 Kannon Pilgrimage.

The temple also houses a shrine to Daikokuten, making it one of the Kamakura Seven Lucky Gods sites, as well as a cave shrine to Benten.

The temple's sutras are stored in a rotating drum known as a rinzô (輪蔵), the largest such rotating sutra storehouse (経蔵, kyôzô) in the Kantô. It employs a concept quite central in Himalayan Buddhism; by turning the wheel, one gains the spiritual benefit as if one had read all the sutras. This is not seen nearly as commonly in Japan as in Nepal and Tibet, but the belief and the practice do exist in Japanese Buddhism as well.


  • Plaques on-site.
  • "Hasedera." Kamakura-burabura.com.

External Links