Winding up the mountain toward the temple, it is hard to tell where the wilderness ends and the gardens begin. Half-way up, visitors must choose between a steeper ascent on rough stone stairs or the gentler approach to the right. It is not an easy choice, as both paths offer something not found on the other. Here we are presented with a glimpse into the mind of the architect of Zuisenji, Muso-Kokusi, who designed the beautiful gardens for which Zuisenji is famous.
The structures here are simple, almost camouflaged by the nature which seems to extend from the hillsides themselves. Yet this nature has been carefully planned to offer guests stunning blossoms and foliage in any season. There is a serenity here that must be felt to appreciate.
Behind the temple is an original rock garden from the Kamakura Era- the last one remaining. This rock garden also seems carved from nature, a collaboration between Muso Kokushi and the gods. The large cave directly behind the pond, acts as a cathedral where monks have meditated for centuries.
A bit off the beaten track, this temple is one of Kamakura’s hidden gems.
Official Website (in English)
Open Daily 9am-5pm (enter by 5:30)
Entrance Fee: ¥200
Address: Nikaido 710 Map
[su_box title=”Temple Data” box_color=”#8f8c2f” title_color=”#ffffff”]Official Name: Kinbyōzan Zuisen-ji
Sect: Rinzai Zen
Founding Year: 1327 (approx.)
Founding Monk: Muso Kokushi
Founder: Doun Nikaido
Became the family temple for the Ashikage clan during the Muromachi Era.[/su_box]