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Kamakura

Kamakura. Major centre in Japan of Shinto shrines, and of Buddhist temples and monasteries. Due south of Tokyo, it was a fishing village which became the effective capital in 1185. The principal Shinto shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu, is dedicated (as the name states) to Hachiman. Among the Zen monasteries, Kencho-ji is of particular importance, because Zen monks are still trained there. It was founded by Tao-lung in 1253, and is built, like the classic monasteries of Kyōto, on the single-axis design. Engaku-ji (also Enkaku-ji), founded thirty years later, contains a Relic Hall in which one of the Buddha Śākyamuni's teeth is preserved; several of its buildings were destroyed in an earthquake in 1923. Also of note is Zuisenji, founded by Soshi in 1327, recently rebuilt and surrounded by gardens of great beauty. Kamakura contains the second largest daibutsu (image of the Buddha, the largest being in Todaiji). The Jōdo school is represented by the Hasedera temple, which contains a massive image of Kannon (Avalokiteśvara) carved from a single tree, and many shrines devoted to Jizō (see KṢITIGARBHA) by those who have lost infants.

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Kamakura

Kamakura (kämä´kōōrä), city (1990 pop. 174,307), Kanagawa prefecture, central Honshu, Japan, on Sagami Bay and at the base of the Miura Peninsula. It is a resort and residential area but is chiefly noted as a religious center, the site of more than 80 shrines and temples. Kamakura is especially famous for its daibutsu [Jap.,=great Buddha], a 42-ft-high (12.8-m) bronze figure of Buddha, cast in 1252, and for a 30-ft-high (9.1-m) gilt and camphor statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Kamakura was splendid as the seat of Yoritomo and his descendants (1192–1333); under the Ashikaga Shogunate (1333–1573) it was the government headquarters of eastern Japan. An earthquake in 1923 severely damaged the city.

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