Hase-dera Temple is popularly believed to have been founded in the year 736, but relics at the temple (such as the temple bell) only testify to its existence from the 13th century onward.
Although the temple enshrines a statue of the Bodhisattva Kannon, the temple is better known for its numerous Jizo statues, which are propitiatory offerings left by parents of stillborn children or aborted fetuses.
The principle object of worship at Hasedera Temple is the eleven-headed Kannon statues, known to be some of the finest wooden Buddha statues in Japan.
According to temple legend, Hasedera’s founder, the Buddhist priest Tokudo,had a pair of eleven-headed Kannon statues carved out of a giant block of camphor that he found in the mountains of Hatsuse in Yamato province(present-day Nara prefecture).
One of the statues became the principal Kannon statues at the Yamato Hasedera Temple, and the other was sent out to sea with a prayer that it would help ease the suffering of mankind.
The Kannon statue travelled to Nagaiura on the Miura peninsula(near present-day Hatsuse), where it washed up on the beach.
Hasedera Temple was built on this location.
The temple’s lookout platform offers a spectacular view of the sea near Kamakura, and flowering plants, including over two thousand hydrangeas, can be enjoyed each season throughout the year.