It is Jomyoji Temple, one of “5 Big Zen Temples in Kamakura” that used to be supported by Ashikaga samurai clan.
|Jomyoji Temple, Kamakura, Japan|
My point is that it is quite a “local” temple although it used to be counted as an important zen temple in the Middle Age.
This article is about things to do and see there. Plus, I hope to tell you the “local atmospheres” in the temple.
1: Temple Main Hall
When you get off the bus at Jomyoji Temple, you are in a local street and find the gate soon.
|Gate of Jomyoji Temple|
It is a quiet place – Jomyoji Temple is not counted as a top place to visit in Kamakura, so it is not crowded, either. It’s time to feel the nature, listen to birds, and refresh.
|Jomyoji Temple with fresh green|
By the way, did you know that some maple leaves turn red in spring, not autumn? The contrast was so beautiful.
|Red Maple Leaves in May|
The main hall is perfectly symmetrical and roofed with copper.
|The Main Hall of Jomyoji Temple|
Today it is not a central place of anything where too many people gather, but the plain beauty makes me feel the history from Middle Age.
2: Matcha, Stone Garden & REAL Japanese House
Jomyoji Temple has a matcha house as well as Hokokuji Temple. Even if you say, “Again?”, I say that it is a must to enter this Kisen-an.
In my opinion, there are 3 things to do and see here.
|Way to Kisen-an Matcha House|
First, the matcha house offers FRESH Japanese refreshment – Do you remember that I recommend fresh sweets at the matcha house in Tokyo?
|Matcha & Fresh Sweet Set at Jomyoji Temple|
I have one more thing to emphasize about this. We can have the Japanese sweet made by Misuzu, a famous Japanese confectioner in the town.
When you have a matcha break here, let me say that you should order the fresh sweet set!
If you are not used to sit on the floor, there are many chairs and tables in the house.
Second, we can see a beautiful Japanese garden with having a cup of matcha.
|The Stone Garden of Jomyoji Temple|
It is a classic Japanese garden of karesansui style, which means gardens with rocks, stones and sand without any ponds. The landscape of mountains and rivers are shown by the rocks in the garden. (Ryoanji Temple is Kyoto is famous for this.)
|The Garden is made of Stones and Sand.|
But I think the most interesting thing of this house is the house itself.
It is a classic architect of shoin-zukuri that originated from the Middle Ages. It used to be a tea house where so many priests gathered in the 16th century, but Jomyoji Temple had to go through hardships such as disasters after that time. The house had been private for long, but it finally got renovated into a matcha house that is open for temple visitors.
The point is that this house is as it used to be as a traditional Japanese house where people really lived.
Seeing is believing!
Let’s look around with a cup of matcha in your hand.
|Tokonoma Aclove for decorations|
Wooden ceiling, pillars, tatami mats, a kakejiku tapestry and small vase in tokonoma alcove for display… The room is full of interesting things.
|A Window of Shoji (Japanese paper)|
Wooden corridors are facing the garden.
|Wooden Corridors and the Garden|
Can we walk there? Of course!
|Front Door – It is very traditional.|
Not only the taste of matcha, it is undoubtedly fascinating to explore REAL Japanese traditions!
3: “Yagura” Tombs of Ashikaga Clan (& more)
Jomyoji Temple was established by Ashikaga clan as well as neighboring Hokokuji Temple. So there are their tombs in yagura coves which were made only in Kamakura in the Middle Ages.
|Yaguras of Ashikaga clan in Jomyoji Temple|
When I get close, yagura is like this.
The next is nothing for sightseeing at all – Just in case you are interested.
Jomyoji Temple is a very local temple today, so it has a typical Japanese graveyard back from the main hall. If you are a traveler who want to see “real local life” in foreign countries, or a manga fan who have seen Japanese tombs in your favorite manga and anime, here are the real ones.
|A Typical Japanese Graveyard – NOT for sightseeing…|
I wondered if I should talk about this or not – It is not a happy place, so please be respectful!
I said simply “nature” because the backyard of Jomyoji Temple is not an artificial garden at all.
|Bamboos around the Yaguras|
The area around seems to be good land for bamboos. It is said that Bamboo Garden in Hokokuji Temple was formed where the retreat of the priest who established the temple was. It is what humans defined which is which temple. Wild bamboos grow in Jomyoji Temple, too.
|A Wild Iris and Grass|
Imagine breezes in a calm Zen temple. The capital of Japan in the Middle Ages was like this.
5: British Cafe in the Zen Temple
Have a meal or brown tea break, not matcha, in Jomyoji Temple.
You might say, “What? A British cafe in a Zen temple?”
Yes, and that’s one of the interesting aspects of Kamakura.
|A British-Style Cafe & Restaurant IN Jomyoji Temple|
Kamakura is in Kanagawa Prefecture, and it is where the American generals came in the 19th century after samurais’ national isolation policy that lasted more than 200 years. As a result, Kanagawa Prefecture is one of the most international cities in Japan today.
Kamakura is the center of Zen culture lasting from the Middle Ages, but we see detailed Western things among very old temples in streets. They are naturally living in Kamakura – A British cafe is part of Kamakura.
How was Jomyoji Temple for you? Do you want to go there when you visit Kamakura?
See MORE of Kamakura
All About Hokokuji Temple, Kamakura, Japan – A Zen Temple with Bamboo Garden – The neighboring temple across from Jomyoji Temple. The Bamboo Garden is just stunning!
|Bamboo Garden in Hokokuji Temple|
Kamakura, Samurais’ Old Capital with The Great Buddha – Top Places for Autumn Leaves in Japan #02 – The Great Buddha and Hasedera Temple are undoubtedly must-sees in Kamakura.
|The Great Buddha in Kamakura|
A Trip to Kamakura, Japan – Hydrangeas in June & All the Travel Info – Beautiful hydrangeas in Hasedera Temple in June.
|Hydrangeas in Hase-dera Temple in June|
Jomyoji Temple Visitor Information
Admission Fee: 100 yen for Adult, 50 yen for Elementary School Student
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 16:30
10:00 – 16:30 (order by 16:15)
600 yen for Dry Sweet Set, 1000 yen for Fresh Sweet Set