about tokozenji

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”.


temple staff

welcome to tokozenji

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

Daigo Ozawa

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.

Presiding Abbot

Tetsugen Ozawa

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.


TOKOZENJI in 1917.

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.

* The statue of Hatakeyama Shigetada, Sugayayakata-Ato in Ranzan town, Saitama.
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zen meditation


“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 session online via Zoom

Beyond the distance, be quiet and calm together.
The joy of being "here and now".
Please have a line of mind and breath with Zazen.
Held both in Japanese and English.

                        Next session : Tuesday, 11th of June 2024, 9pm-10pm (Japanese standard time.)

Admission : Free
(Your donation to support our sessions is welcome and greatly appreciated. Donations can be made via paypal. Please search for info@tokozenji.or.jp)

                        Please visit the link below for the reservation. *Reservation form opens 7-10 days before the session.

8:50-    Zoom waiting room open
9:00-9:10  Zazen explanation, striking the Han
9:10-9:25  1st Zazen session
9:25-9:40  Break and talk
9:40-9:55  2nd Zazen session
9:55-    Sutra chanting, winding up
・Things to prepare: Zabuton (a square cushion) or other small cushion like a pillow ; a chair and a drink if needed.
・Participation sitting on a chair is also OK.
・Please sit a little distance from your computer and try to get your whole body, or upper body, into the screen.
・At the end of the session, we will read one short sutra (reciting meditation). Please read over the file attached below, “The Four Great Vows”.
・You can join and leave freely during the sessions.
・It will be held both in Japanese and English.
・An article for reference in “The Japan News”.
・An article for reference in “The Japan Times”.
・A guide of “how to practice zazen” (with English subtitles), introduced by Nanrei Yokota,
the abbot of Engakuji temples in Japan. Engakuji temple is one of the head temples of the Rinzai school Buddhism.

YouTube:【Start a Zazen practice】full version | Nanrei Yokota
The Four Great Vows:The_Four_Great_Vows

This moment - Connecting the world through Zazen


Monthly ZAZEN

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.
Beginners welcome.

• Generally held every second or third Sundays.
• Next Session: Sunday 14th of July 2024, 7:00am- (1st session), 9:00am- (2nd session)
• The registration will start on 30th of June at 6am. For details and reservation, please visit https://www.tokozenji.or.jp/4998
• Admission : Free (Donations are welcome)

*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 1st session starting at 7:00 a.m.】
6:31 a.m. (Line 文11) or 6:37 a.m. (Line 文10)
【For those who would like to attend the 2nd session starting at 9:00 a.m.】
8:32 a.m. (Line 文10) or 8:38 a.m. (Line 文11)

- 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.)


ZAZEN Programme
at Kenchoji,

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 2024-25
30th May (Thu.)
27th June (Thu.)
29th August (Thu.)
5th November (Tue.)
28th February 2025 (Fri.)
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. Please include your name and nationality.



2-40-8 Kamariya-minami,
Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-City
TEL +81-(0)45-781-0271

•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.

map from the bus stop