Kenchō-ji is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan and holds the highest rank in the Kamakura Five-Mountain system (五山). It was built in the Kamakura period (1192-1337), the construction was finished in 1273.
The layout of the temple follows the Chinese Ch'an (Zen) tradition, all the buildings are arranged on an axis. The garden can be found at the end of the temple complex, behind the Hōjō, the quarters of the head priest. Musō Soseki, a famous Zen priest, poet and garden designer, is said to have built the garden. The garden is a typical Zen garden, which uses few plants and materials. The pond in the garden reminds of the shape of the character 心, which stands for mind, heart and is an important element in Zen Buddhism.
Historical background - Kamakura period
History of the temple
The temple and gardens
Flowers and plants in the garden
Questions for Hayano-San
Eating and Drinking
How to get there