The entrance of Hōkoku-ji
|Location||7-4, Jomyoji 2-chome, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003|
Tengan Eko (founding priest)
A statue of Gautama Buddha, called Shaka Nyorai in Japanese, in a sacred hall is the temple's principal image. The original of a statue of Sho Kan'non is on display at the Kamakura Museum of National Treasures. The temple is sometimes called Takuma-dera after the artist of a statue of Kashyap which was destroyed by a fire in 1891 in an adjacent hall.
The family temple of both the Ashikaga and Uesugi clans, Hōkoku-ji was established by founding priest Tengan Eko in 1334 (the first year of Kemmu era) to commemorate Ashikaga Ietoki, grandfather of Ashikaga Takauji the first shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate.
Known posthumously by his Buddhist name Butsujo Zenji, Eko was a member of the Five Mountains Zen literary school. Copies that he made of Buddhist teachings and carved wooden seals of his names "Tengan" and "Eko" are Important Cultural Properties and are in the Kamakura Museum on the grounds of the Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū. Other treasures owned by the temple include a painting on silk of Zaichū Kōen dating to 1388, a Muromachi-period painting of Arhats, and a pair of paintings of flowers and birds from Ming China, all Prefectural Cultural Properties kept in the same museum; a number of further works have been designated for protection at a municipal level.
The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake destroyed most of the temple structures including the original straw roof on the main hall. A similar roof is maintained on the bell tower today. Most of the temple structures were rebuilt.
A former annex behind the main hall was a training area where Butsujo Zenji also wrote poetry. Today a grove or forest of about 2000 mōsō bamboo sits in place of the annex. The site has a small tea house or chashitsu that is popular with tourists.
Grove of mōsō bamboo
(video) Inside the bamboo forest
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hōkoku-ji.|
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- "Hokokuji". A Guide to Kamakura. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
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- Eko in Five Mountains school mentioned in: Hobson, Peter (2003). Poems of Hanshan. Rowman Altamira via Google Books. p. 133. ISBN 0759104158.
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