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.
Abbott of TOKOZENJI since 1978. 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.
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.
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.
ZEN Meditation Programme
We offer you a great experience in ZAZEN, not only for seasoned practitioners but also for very beginners.We provide an easy-to-understand explanation of the basic knowledge and methods of ZAZEN. Although ZAZEN is generally practised in a cross-legged position on the floor, chairs are also available for those who may have difficulty sitting in this way.
• Advance reservation is required.
Please send enquiries to discuss date and time.
• 2,000JPY admission fee.
• Green tea and Japanese cakes are served after the programme.
• We can accept up to 20 participants.
* In order to avoid unnecessary preparations and waste, may we ask for 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.
* At Tokozenji, we are unfortunately unable to offer accommodation or long-term retreats.
•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.