a Journey of discovering your true self
TOKOZENJI is a small Zen temple situated in the Yokohama-Kamakura area, just south of Tokyo, Japan.
Established around the year 1200, it is one of the oldest temples of the Rinzai School of ZEN Buddhism in Japan.
ZEN Buddhism has been a cornerstone of life and culture in Japan for almost 800 years.
TOKOZENJI is one of the few temples in this area to offer a real ZEN experience to international visitors.
We would like to welcome you into the passage of ZEN mindfulness
and take you on a small journey to seek who you are and “what you are”.
The original meaning of the word “temple” in Sanskrit is “the place where your life shines radiantly”.
Beautiful temples and the teachings of the Buddha are deeply ingrained in the minds of the people of Japan.
At TOKOZENJI, the temple gate is always open. We hope that this temple will
become your spiritual home and the foundation of discovering your true self.
Head Abbot of TOKOZENJI since February, 2019. Undertook ZEN monastic training for four and a half years at KENNINJI（建仁寺）monastery in Kyoto and KENCHOJI（建長寺） monastery in Kamakura. One of the coordinators of “ZAZEN for Foreigners” at KENCHOJI. Worked as a writer and researcher for Japan Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Graduated with an M.A. in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands.
Head Abbot of TOKOZENJI from 1978 to 2019. Undertook ZEN monastic training at KENNINJI（建仁寺）monastery in Kyoto. One of the first residing monks at INDOSAN NIPPONJI (Japanese Temple) in Bodh Gaya, India (est. 1963). Volunteer probation officer 1983-2002. Representative director of Lumbini Warabe Kindergarden, Trustee of the International Buddhist Brotherhood Association, President of the Kanazawa-ku Buddhist Association, Councillor of the Kanagawa Prefecture Buddhist Association.
Legend has it that TOKOZENJI was built in Kamakura in the early thirteenth century by Hatakeyama Shigetada, one of the meritorious retainers of the Kamakura Shogunate. In 1282, it was officially founded as a Rinzai School ZEN temple by Iko Donen (posthumous Buddhist name Daiko-Zenshi). TOKOZENJI was moved to its current location in Kamariya during the Onin era (1467-69). It has been standing quietly in the small, mountainous area of Kamariya with elegance and dignity ever since, bearing a deep history as one of the oldest ZEN temples of Japan.
TOKOZENJI is dedicated to the Buddha of medicine and healing known as “Yakushi-Nyorai” (Sanskrit: Bhaisajyaguru). The principal image of Yakushi-Nyorai is a small, wooden statue of about one foot in height and is listed as one of Yokohama City’s tangible, cultural assets. The image is regarded as one of the sculptural masterpieces of the thirteenth century. Yakushi-Nyorai is attended by two Bodhisattvas (Jp: Bosatsu) known as “Nikko” and “Gakko” Bosatsu, serving as “wakiji” (flanking attendants). Yakushi-Nyorai is also guarded by twelve divine generals who stand at attention and protect Yakushi-Nyorai with defensive postures and fierce expressions.
“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self,
and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”
Master Dogen (道元禅師)
ZEN meditation (ZAZEN in Japanese) lies at the very heart of ZEN practice. Through ZAZEN we seek absolute tranquility in body and mind.
However, ZAZEN is much more than just a method of relaxation or healing.
Rather, it is the experience of awakening your true self, retracing the Buddha’s own path of attaining spiritual enlightenment.
Tokozenji Zazen sessions online via Zoom.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, Tokozenji has decided to temporarily suspend all meditation programmes held at Tokozenji until the situation returns to normal.
We are now holding Zazen sessions online via Zoom most Wednesday evenings from 9pm, Japanese Standard Time.
For further details and to make a reservation, please visit our website at the URL listed below.
TOKOZENJI ZEN PROGRAMME
We offer you a great experience in zazen, not only for seasoned practitioners but also for complete beginners.
We provide an easy to understand explanation of the basic knowledge and methods of zazen in English.
Chairs are available for those who may find it difficult to sit cross-legged on the floor (the traditional sitting posture for zazen.)
• Individuals or groups welcome.
• Sessions held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m.
• Advance reservation required. Please enquire to reserve date and time.
• 2,000 JPY admission fee.
• Green tea and Japanese cakes are served after the programme.
• We can accept up to 20 participants.
• Programme duration: 1.5 ~ 2 hours.
• No sessions held in July and August.
* Early reservation recommended. Please book at least two weeks in advance.
* Genuine reservations only please. If after reserving a place, you are unable to attend on the day,please let us know by e-mail or telephone in advance.
This will help avoid unnecessary preparations and waste.
* At Tokozenji we are unable to offer accommodation or long-term retreats.
TOKOZENJI ZEN PROGRAMME
Our regular, monthly zazen session is open to all. Although held mainly in Japanese,
we can provide a brief guide in English and there is an opportunity for conversation and questions with a Zen priest after the programme.
• Generally held every second Sunday.
• Next Session: 17th of May 8:30~10:00 a.m. → cancelled
• No reservation required.
• 1,000JPY admission fee.
• A brief orientation for beginners starts at 8:10 a.m.
• Tea and Japanese cakes are served after the programme.
• No programme held in January and August.
*For your information, bus directions from Kanazawa-Bunko station on Sunday mornings are listed below.
- Take the West exit from the station and go to bus stop number 2.
- Take one of the KEIKYU buses below (10 minute ride, ¥200.)
【For those who would like to attend the brief orientation starting at 8:10 a.m.】
7:36 a.m. (Line 文11) or 7:50 a.m. (Line 文10)
【For those who do not need to join orientation, arriving by 8:30 a.m.】
7:59 a.m. (Line 文11) or 8:05 a.m. (Line 文10)
- After getting off the bus, it is about a 4 ~ 5 minute walk to Tokozenji.
- See access page for map and other details.
- Taxis are also available from Kanazawa-Bunko Station (about a 10 minute ride.)
OTHER ZEN PROGRAMME
Join the English language ZAZEN programme at Kenchoji, the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura!
Kenchoji was established in 1253 and is home to the first Zen training monastery in Japan.
It ranks first amongst the five great Zen temples of Kamakura. At the Kenchoji zazen programme,
we provide an easy to understand explanation of the basics of zazen in English.
Chairs are available for those who may have difficulty sitting cross-legged on the floor.
Tokozenji’s Abbot, Daigo Ozawa, is one of the organisers of the English Zazen Programme at Kenchoji and joins as one of the guiding instructors.
Schedule for 2020
16st May (Thu.)-cancelled
21st May (Thu.)-cancelled
24th June (Wed.)-cancelled
29th September (Tue.)
9th November (Mon.)
1:30pm - 3:30pm (Reception open from 1pm.)
The programme includes a brief orientation, three zazen sessions (15 mins. each) and a Q&A session afterwards with refreshments.
• 1,000 JPY admission fee, plus ¥500 Kenchoji entrance fee.
• Place: Kenchoji Temple
8 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
15 mins. walk from Kita-Kamakura Station, JR Yokosuka Line.
• E-mail us for a reservation form. Please include your name and nationality.
•The nearest station is Kanazawa-Bunko station (金沢文庫) on the KEIKYU Line
(京急線) about 20mins from Yokohama station and 40mins from Shinagawa station.
• Come out the west exit of Kanazawa-Bunko station and go to bus stop number2.
• Take one of the KEIKYU buses below (takes about 10 mins, 200 JPY).
- number 文10, get off at Hakusan-do.
- number 文11, get off at Hakusan-do.
- number 文20, get off at Hakusan-do Koen.
• After getting off the bus, it is about a 4-5 minute walk to TOKOZENJI.
※You can also take a taxi from Kanazawa-bunko station (takes about 10 minutes).
※Car parking is also available just in front of TOKOZENJI.