Ogigayatsu Area (2) : North Area
(扇ガ谷 北)

Kamegayatsuzaka Kiridoshi Pass (亀谷坂切通)

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Location: 1.5 kilometers north from JR Kamakura Station.

Site: This pass connects the busy shopping streets around JR Kamakura Station and the Kita-Kamakura area, where Engakuji, Tokeiji, and Kenchoji Temples are located. Many sightseers take this pass to access to the central part of the city after visiting the Kika-Kamakura area. They would enjoy an overshadowed quiet atmosphere.
    The slope was once one of the seven passes in old Kamakura and is now designated a Historic Site by the government.

Story:  The steepness of the slope has given rise to a story about a turtle around here. One day it tried to climb the slope to see what was like on the other side.  Gradually it became aware that the slope was too steep and finally turned around and gave up. Thus the slope came to be called Kamekaerisaka, "Turtle-Return-Slope," which, over the years, gradually corrupted into Kamegayatsuzaka.

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Kaizoji Temple (海蔵寺)

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Full name:  Senkokusan Kaizoji  (扇谷山海蔵寺)
Denomination:  Rinzai Zen sect (臨済宗)
Location:  1.5 kilometers north from JR Kamakura Station

History:  The temple originally belonged to the Shingon sect.  Fujiwara no Nakayoshi (藤原仲能) had the temple built in 1253 at the request of Prince Munetaka (宗尊親王, 1242-74), the sixth shogun in Kamakura.
    In 1333, all the buildings went up in flames, victimized by the battle between the Kamakura bakufu and the imperial forces, ending in the downfall of the Kamakura government.
    In 1394, Uesugi Ujisada (上杉氏定) rebuilt the temple by order of the second Kamakura kubo, Ashikaga Ujimitsu (足利氏満, 1359-98). This time the temple was converted to a Zen temple, inviting Genno Zenji (源翁禅師, 1329-1400), also known as Shinsho Kugai 心昭空外, to be the founding priest.
    From that time onward, Kaizoji Temple prospered under the patronage of the Ogigayatsu Uesugi family. Since 1577, it has been affiliated with Kenchoji Temple.

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Grounds and structures:  Beyond the Sammon Gate are a belfry, the Kuri (the priest's living quarters), and the Main Hall. On the left side of the grounds is Yakushido Hall (薬師堂, also called Butsuden).
     The Main Hall, called Ryugoden (龍護殿), was reconstructed after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The hall houses a seated image of Shinsho Kugai, the founding priest, a bronze image of Shakyamuni, allegedly brought from Thailand, and a standing image of an eleven-faced Kannon (十一面観音). The paper sliding doors of the hall are adorned with paintings of dragons, Chinese lions, and peonies.

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     Yakushido Hall, transferred here from Jochiji Temple (浄智寺) in 1776, houses Yakushi Nyorai (薬師如来), the main image, and two attendants, Nikko Bosatsu (日光菩薩) and Gakko Bosatsu (月光菩薩). Behind them are Juni Shinsho (十二神将, Twelve Guardian Generals), who stand in one column of six on either side of the main Buddha, acting as protectors. Also in the hall are statues of Garanshin (伽藍神), a temple protector, Daruma Daishi (達磨大師), and Kobo Daishi (弘法大師).

     The main image, Yakushi Nyorai, is popularly called Naki Yakushi (啼薬師, "Weeping Yakushi") or Komori Yakushi (児護薬師, "Child-guarding Yakushi"). The feature of this image is that it contains within its body an old wooden Buddhist head. The story dates back to the time when Kugai (空外), the first priest, resided here.

    The weeping of a baby could be heard every night behind the temple buildings. He sought the source of this crying and noticed that it was coming from beneath a gravestone. He chanted a sutra as an offering, and the crying stopped, suddenly and forever. The next day he dug up the grave and found the head portion of Yakushi Nyorai. He then carved a new image of Yakushi large enough to hold the unearthed head within its body. Close inspection will reveal a small door fixed with two hinges on the statue's breast. Even today this Nyorai is popularly held to be a guardian of children's happiness and healthy growth.

     On the left altar are two large and old mortuary tablets.  Both were made in memory of the people who contributed to this temple, one tablet in 1423, the other in 1515.  Such tall tablets are rare and seen
only here in Kamakura.

     Along the cliff to the left of the main hall are four caves. The third one contains an image of Ugajin (宇賀神) or Ugafukujin (宇賀福神) as an old man with a snake coiled around his body. Ugajin gives happiness to believers and is associated with the harvest and food in general.

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     To the left of Yakushido Hall is a footpath. Fifty meters further on and to the right is a cliff-side cave, four meters wide and deep, and three meters high. The well inside the cave is called Juroku no I Well (十六ノ井), literally the Sixteen-Well and is said to have been dug by the celebrated priest, Kobo Daishi (弘法
大師, 774-835), the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism in Japan.

    There are 16 round, shallow holes filled with clear water, four in each of the four rows. Following a series of natural disasters that buried the well, it was lost from memory until Kugai became a priest here at Kaizoji. He remove the piled-up earth and sand from the cave and clean the holes, pure water would again fill them. It has been flowing ever since, even in the dry summer season, and has helped countless numbers of sufferers, making the local people highly grateful for its curative powers.  The rear wall of the cave has a small stone image of Kannon, in front of which stands a small image of Kobo Daishi.  To the left of Kannon is a vertical recess which once held a stone tablet carved with an image of Amida-sanzon-raigo-zu (阿弥陀三尊来迎図) depicting Amida and an attendant Bosatsu as they descend to welcome a believer on his deathbed.
     The tablet is now on loan to the Kamakura Kokuhokan.  Because it is inscribed with an era name, 嘉元四年, (corresponding to the year 1306), it is very rare.  The tablet's well-formed design and the inscription
identifying the era of its creation are factors that make it a remarkable example of this kind of work.

Sokonuke no I Well (底脱ノ井)

sokonuke1 sokonuke2 Location:  To the right of the entrance to Kaizoji Temple.
Story: This well was one of the ten wells in old Kamakura.
   Although the term sokonuke, meaning "bottomless" or "no bottom", is attached to this well, the name was originally in reference to a bucket, as the following story shows.
   The story had its beginning in the Muromachi period when a lady of the Uesugi family became a helper at this temple.  One day when she tried to dip water from this well, the bottom of the pail dropped out. Immediately her spiritual darkness that had long been hanging in her mind disappeared. She is said to have
even attained enlightenment.
   A similar story is told about another lady, Chiyono (千代能), a daughter of Adachi Yasumori (安達泰盛, 1231-85), a warrior in the middle Kamakura period.


Kewaizaka Slope (仮粧坂, or Keshozaka) 

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Location:  Two kilometers north from JR Kamakura Station.
Origin of the name: The part of the slope's name, kewai or kesho, means "makeup" or "made up." One explanation about the origin of the name is that the face of a general of the Taira clan was "made up" here prior to the identification of his body in order to conceal the disfigurement caused by his death. (Refer to the next "History.")
   Another explanation is that the area here was once a rather busy one where many women, heavily made up (kesho), worked to entertain pleasure-seeking men.

History:  The slope was one of the seven passes in old Kamakura and is now designated a Historic Site by the government.  In olden times, this slope was very important, leading as it did to Musashi (武蔵) via Fujisawa (藤沢).

    When the army of Nitta Yoshisada (新田義貞, 1301-38) attacked Kamakura in 1333, he assigned his main forces to this area. A fierce battle between the Nitta and the Hojo was undoubtedly fought in the vicinity.
   A stone monument at the foot of the slope provides further information about Kewaizaka's history. The area preserves the atmosphere of olden times.

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Genjiyama Koen Park (源氏山公園)

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Location:  On a hill above Jufukuji and Eishoji Temples.

History:  This hill came to be called Genji Yama, or Hatatate Yama (旗立山), "Flag-Raising Hill," because it was here that Hachiman Taro Yoshiie (八幡太郎義家, 1039-1106) raised a white flag, the symbol of his Genji family. He prayed for victory before starting for the northern part of the country in 1083 in the Gosannen no Eki (後三年の役), Later Three Year War (1083-87).
    The park was constructed in 1965 and became a popular spot for flower viewers. A two-meter-tall statue of a dignified-looking Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝, 1147-99) stands within it. This was erected as one of the events commemorating the 800th anniversary of the beginning of the Kamakura bakufu.

The Grave of Hino Toshimoto (日野俊基の墓)

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Location:   In the Genjiyama Koen Park.
History:  Toshimoto (日野俊基, ?-1332) was a court noble under Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇, 1288-1339), who plotted to the downfall of the Kamakura bakufu. The head of the then military government was Hojo Takatoki (北条高時, 1303-33). He was once arrested when the plot leaked out beforehand, but he was released.  In the second attempt, he was arrested again, and sent here to Kamakura for execution at Kuzaharagaoka.  After the death sentence was passed, his wife asked one of his men to take a message to her confined husband.  This was difficult mission to carry out. Finally, on the very day of the execution he made a desperate dash up to the executioners who were heading for the execution site taking Toshimoto. He petitioned the guard for permission to meet his master. The guard, moved by his sincere behavior, is said to have permitted him to hand Toshimoto his wife's message.
    A year after Toshimoto's death, the hopes he'd held in life were realized when, on May 22, in 1333, the major forces of Nitta Yoshisada broke through the defenses here, rushed into the center of the city and overthrew the bakufu.

The tomb:  A stone fence surrounds an old hokyointo-type stupa claimed to be for Hino Toshimoto (日野俊基, ?-1332). This area is designated a Historic Site by the government.

Kuzaharagaoka Jinja Shrine (葛原岡神社)

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Location:  In the Genjiyama Park.
Grounds:  A simple structure called Kuzuharagaoka Jinja Shrine (葛原ケ岡神社), is dedicated to Toshimoto and stands on the far side of the open space.  Built in 1887, the shrine now acts as a guardian of the Yuigahama (由比ガ浜) area.  To the left of the second torii are the shrine office and a repository for a portable shrine.

Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Jinja Shrine (銭洗弁財(才)天宇賀福神社, more popularly, Zeniarai Benten, 銭洗弁天) 

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Location:  1.5 kilometers north-west from JR Kamakura Station.
Enshrined deity:  Ugafukujin  (宇賀福神)
    Zeniarai Benten, literally, "Money-Washing Benten," is famous for its miraculous power that adds to a worshipper's money if it is dipped in the water here; hence Zeniarai (銭洗), "Money-Washing-Water."  (In old Kamakura, the water here was counted as one of the five sources of pure water.)
   Today, many people visit especially on the day of the Snake ("Mi," 巳), which is connected with Ugafukujin. Because the body of this deity is generally in the form of a coiled snake with the face of an old man or lady, and it is responsible for the power of this water. 
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Story:  In olden days and even now, enclosed by cliffs, this spot was called Kakuresato (隠里), literally, "Hidden Hamlet."  To the right at the end of the tunnel of torii is the Main Hall, and further to the left is the cave where Benzaiten is enshrined.

History:  Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-99), the first Shogun of the Kamakura government, prayed daily and nightly for peace and order in the country.  One day, on a day of the Snake in the year of the Snake, an old man appeared to Yoritomo in a dream. He said, "Your concern for the people and sincerity have impressed me greatly.  Behold, I will show you a secret that will bring peace and prosperity to your country. To the northwest lies a valley where pure water runs from among the rocks. It is a holy spring. Make an offering of its water to the deities whenever you pray." The old man disappeared, saying "I am Ugafukujin, god of
this secret hamlet." Upon awakening, Yoritomo immediately sent his men to find the spring that had been revealed to him. When the party eventually located a spot, Yoritomo ordered a cave dug and a shrine built, which he then dedicated to Ugafukujin. Further Yoritomo ordered his men to carry water from the spring to his residence and offer it to the deities. The realm, it is said, soon knew peace, wrongdoings disappeared, and people enjoyed their lives.
    In 1257, Hojo Tokiyori (北条時頼, 1227-63), the fifth regent, revived a tradition that Yoritomo had established and created a new practice: if a person dipped money into the water to purify it, it would then become money of good fortune and the family would prosper. People rushed here, and once they dipped their money in the water, it would always bring more. Thus, in the course of time, the waters here came to be called Zeniarai no Mizu, and the well came to be counted as one of the five sources of pure water in old Kamakura.

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Grounds and structures:  On the right of the slope down from Genjiyama Park is a shrine gate, torii, and a small tunnel in the cliff. At its end is another "tunnel" of several score of red torii donated by the faithful.  The grounds contain not only the Main Hall and the cave, but a shrine office and a number of shrines, Kami no Mizusha Shrine (上の水社), Shimo no Mizusha Shrine (下の水社), and some related shrines in addition to refreshment stands and bench areas.
    Recently, a cave was found above the tunnel, the main entrance to the precincts. Relics found inside include a stone tablet bearing a Sanskrit character that symbolizes the Shakasanzon and the year name 正和元年 (corresponding to 1312), and a gorinto-type stupa bearing the year name 元徳二年 (corresponding to 1330).  The items are now preserved in the Kamakura Kokuhokan within the grounds of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Sasuke Inari Jinja Shrine (佐助稲荷神社)

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Location:   1.5 kilometers northwest from JR Kamakura Station.
Enshrined deity:  Inari, the god of the harvest

Story:  There is a story surrounding the founding of the shrine. It says that when Minamoto no Yoritomo was in exile in Izu, he fell ill and had a dream in which an old man appeared to him. In his hand the man held some herbs and, showing them to Yoritomo, said, "Make these into a medicine, take it, and you will be cured. Upon recovery, immediately take up arms against the Taira. Victory will be yours."  Yoritomo asked the man his name and he replied, "I am the god of the hidden hamlet in Kamakura," then vanished.
    Yoritomo succeeded in establishing his government and believed the success was due to the advice of the old man. He later ordered his men to search for the abode of the god, and in Kamakura, west of the hidden hamlet they found a shrine. Yoritomo immediately replaced the old shrine with a newly-built one and named it Sasuke Inari. 
   The sa (佐) in Sasuke was part of the name Yoritomo held in his youth, 佐殿
(but pronounced sukedono).  The suke in Sasuke means "to help." Thus, the name "Sasuke" was used as the name of this shrine because "Sukedono was helped by a god."

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Grounds and structures: Surrounded by tall trees, the grounds are rather dark even in the daytime. Sasuke Inari Jinja Shrine, a rather simple structure, sits at the top of a steep stone stairway. Behind it is another flight of stone steps, leading to the inner shrine.