Hasedera Temple in Kamakura, Japan

Dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy, the Hase Kannon Temple or Hasedera is home to Japan’s largest wooden sculpture, the statue of goddess Kannon. The Hasedera temple is located on a hill in Kamakura, Japan and offers a stunning view of the sea, besides a pretty garden with a pond which is located at the base of the slope atop which the temple stands.

What makes the Hasedera temple so special is the 9.18 meter tall wooden statue of goddess Kannon. The statue is said to be made from a single camphor tree in the 8th century and has 11 heads that show the different expressions of human suffering. As per a legend, there were actually two statues made of the same tree, one of which is kept in Hase which is near Nara and the other was given away to the sea to choose its own destination. The statue drifted 300 miles and washed up on the shore but when it brought ill luck to those who touched it, it was again thrown back to the sea. The statue finally reached Kamakura and since then Kamakura is regarded its birth place, hence the name Hase Kannon, which means birth place of goddess Kannon.

Reaching the Hasedera temple is easy as it is located at a short distance from the Hase Station. Going along the Enoden railway line, which is a street-car like train connecting Kamakura with Fujisawa and Enoshima, the Hase Station is the third station from Kamakura. The temple opens on all days from 8.00 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening in summers and 5.00 in winters. There is an admission fee of 300 Yen. Tourists wishing to visit the temple must reach the temple a little earlier than the closing time as admission of new guests closes 30 minutes prior to the closing time.

Besides the statue of Kannon, the Hasedera temple has several other attractions to visit as well. These include the Treasure House, the statue of Amida, small statues of Jizo, the Bentendo and Bentenkutsu. The temple is a must-visit place for those visiting Japan for the first time.