A Zen temple, where visitors enjoy its flowers and pray for a good match, once had been a nunnery and saved women as Enkiri-dera.
© 2010 Kamakura-Photo All Rights Reserved.Tokei-ji temple is famous for praying for a good match. However, the temple once had been known, together with Mantoku-ji temple in Gunma prefecture, as "Enkiri-dera: temple for cutting ties with a man (Kakekomi-dera: shelter for a woman)." It was because the temple had been passed on as a nunnery since its founding in 1285 until 1903 when the Meiji government confiscated its feudality.
In the Edo period, only man had right of claim for divorce. However, women were able to get a divorce if they ran into Tokei-ji temple or Mantoku-ji temple and had a three-year of training. This was legally guaranteed by “Enkiri-dera law." Once a woman threw what she was wearing into the temple grounds, it was recognized as running in. Even men in power were not allowed to enter the temple.
The temple was founded by Kakusan-ni, the wife of Hojo Tokimune. It started saving women from the beginning. Noble women like Yodo-ni, princess of the Emperor Godaigo, and Tenshu-ni, daughter of Toyotomi Hideyori, had been a chief priest in the past.
Now, this Zen temple has beautiful flowers of all four seasons and still has clean atmosphere of a nunnery. Also, Wooden Shokannon Bosatsu Ryuzo (bodhisattva) and the actual letters of divorce which are designated as important cultural properties are found in the treasure house, Matsugaoka-hozo.
Address: 1367 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
Hours open to visitors: 8:30 to 17:00 (until 16:00 November to February)
Admission Fee: 100 yen
[Rail]About 55-min by JR Yokosuka line from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station, about 3-min from Kamakura Station to Kita-Kamakura Station, about 3-min walk from Kita-Kamakura Station