And so my chronicling of sights seen on my recent Japan travels continue... with this entry for Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts offering up images taken on day six of my trip -- specifically in a part of the Kenchoji temple that few people seem to go all the way to.
The first Zen temple erected in Kamakura and considered to be the number ranked of the town's five great Zen temples, Kenchoji was founded in 1253 by Lanxi Daolong (AKA Rankei Doryu), a Chinese Zen master who moved to Japan in 1246. Although (still) primarily a Zen Buddhist establishment, Kenchoji has some Shinto sections -- along with being an architectural mix of Chinese (specifically Song Dynasty) and Japanese styles.
Some might find this mixed state of affairs to be culturally and aesthetically dodgy but I think it adds to Kenchoji's charm. Still, this is not to say that I wasn't startled by some of the physical manifestations of this mix -- and particularly when I literally rounded a corner after passing through the torii and going further and deeper into Kenchoji's grounds, and up a hill to the Hansobo shrine erected for the protection of Kenchoji itself.
For suddenly, I was confronted by the startling sight of some un-Zen-like dodgy-looking characters that I later found out -- thanks to the power of the internet! -- are tengu, mountain and forest goblins with both Shinto and Buddhist attributes that are slayers of vanity!!
After recovering from the shock of encountering the tengu, I continued my trek up the hill -- and was rewarded not only by being able to enter the Hansobo shrine proper but, also, by getting to avail myself of free and refreshingly cold water from a drinking fountain located near the shrine's main building and, further still up the hill, getting grand views of Kenchoji's main complex and wide swathes of Kamakura.