Finding Ozu in Kamakura


For those interested in Japanese cinema, famous for the ‘tatami-shot’ and Tokyo Story, Ozu Yasujiro is one of those directors not to be missed.

If you’d like to pay your respects to Ozu, you could start your pilgrimage from Tokyo. His resting place is in a zen temple, En-Kakuji, next to Kita-Kamakura Station – a recommended trip to take for anyone in need of a quick break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

Instead of taking the JR from Tokyo, I decided to be a little more ambitious by taking the Odakyu Line instead. With the Odakyu Line, you’ll be able to take a more scenic ride – the train tracks are next to the sea so you can take in the gorgeous sea view and spot Enoshima in the distance.

If you start your journey at Hase Station on the Odakyu Line, you get to calm your heart at the Great Buddha, financial fortune and a chance at love, go through bamboo groves (and get some exercise after feasting in Tokyo), before reaching the Zen temple where Ozu lies forever in peace.

My pilgrimage looked like this:

Hase station 長谷駅 → Great Buddha 鎌倉大仏 → Zeniarai Benten 銭洗弁天 → Kuzuharaoka Shrine 葛原岡神社 → Hiking Trail → Ozu Yasujiro Grave (Enkaku-ji 円覚寺)

My journey begins from Hase Station. Get out of the train station, turn right and follow the signs that lead you to the Great Buddha, it should be about 10 minutes walk away and it’s almost a straight path. When in doubt, follow the crowds of tourists heading in the same direction.

You’ll get to a pretty big traffic crossing, and the Great Buddha is just straight ahead. This is where things get a little tricky, because getting to the Zeniarai Benten can get a little more complicated.

Take the path behind the temple that houses the Great Buddha. It should be a small road that is very residential. Once you’re on that path, continue on and when you reach a traffic light after the train tracks (please be careful while crossing!), make a right turn and there should be signs along the way to guide you. That being said, getting lost could be a good idea because there are a lot of quaint cafes and small shops that are hidden within these residential roads.

Of course, getting back to our pilgrimage to Ozu Yasujiro’s grave, I had little time to spend looking at souvenir shops! Go up this steep slope before reaching Zeniarai Benten’s door in a wall (literally) and enter to wash your cash, and get some good fortune. I would also recommend getting the fortune Omamori (a good-luck charm), just because the priest would strike a glowing fired bit from a stone onto your Omamori. A level-up from your regular Omamori, if you will.

image9

One of the mini shrines you can find in Zeniarai Benten.

Continue up the steep slope from the entrance of Zeniarai Benten and you will find the lesser-known Kuzuharaoka Shrine, which you can stop by, take in the amazing hilltop view of Kamakura, smell the fresh air, and pray for love fortune. I was there during the cherry blossom season and the scenery was picturesque.

imagea

One of the stones you can find at Kuzuharaoka Shrine, the Masaru-ishi, which drives away evil or bad luck, and brings good fortune.

From this point on, it would be hiking trails all the way so remember to be wearing comfortable shoes before you start your trip. There are maps around the area, and while some of them do not show Enkaku-ji, look for either Kita-Kamakura 北鎌倉駅 or Jouchiji 浄智寺and walk in that direction.

Once you start walking from the Kuzuharaoka Shrine, you should find a crossroad. Take the right turn and continue on. Soon, you’ll be in a more densely forested hiking trail – you have reached Genji-yama Park 源氏山公園. Continue on for about 10 minutes (this is after going up a pretty steep staircase) and you’ll find yourself moving downhill.

The good thing about the hiking trail is that you do not have to be making any turns, just continue on the path and you’ll find yourself walking through bamboo groves and cobbled roads.

image3

Finally, at Enkaku-ji Temple, go in from the main entrance and walk straight. You will see a huge wooden structure. Keep right of the structure, and head out to the cemetery. You will see a path that leads to Oogane 洪鐘. The cemetery is right next to the shrine.

imageb

Entrance of Enkaku-ji

image5

Once you’re there, you should see a signboard that has a map of the cemetery with the names of the graves on it.

image6

image8

Enjoy the ‘Zen-ness’ that is Ozu’s grave – the character ‘Mu’ on his tombstone means Nothingness. How zen is that!

For more information, please see http://www.odakyu.jp/english/destination/enoshima_kamakura/