Engakuji Temple, Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture 円覚寺
Kamakura, the center of the Shogun's power in thirteenth century Japan, is now a bustling tourist town with a wealth of religious cultural treasures, many of them preserved throughout the centuries or lovingly restored.
Engakuji Temple is one of the town's many Buddhist temples and is located three minutes walk from Kita-Kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka line.
Founded in 1282, Engakuji is said to have been for the purpose of praying for the souls of those killed in the second of the Mongol invasions under the great Kublai Khan in 1281 which, like the first in 1274, had come to grief thanks to the kamikaze, or 'divine wind'.
That atmosphere of serenity remains today in the temple's beautiful gardens, inhabited by numerous songbirds who grace it with their calls.
May 6, 2006.