Zeniarai Benten Money Washing Shrine

Zeniarai Benten Shrine goes by a number of names, officially it’s called Ugafuku-jinja Shrine but colloquially it’s known a Kamakura’s ‘money washing shrine’. A little more hidden than many of the town’s other famous sacred sites, this nonetheless popular shrine is where many locals and visitors flock to visit to wash their money.

In Japanese zeniarai means "coin washing", and legend says that the money you wash in the shrine's holy spring water will double. Beyond that the shrine is said to bring power and prosperity to business and good financial luck in the future. Despite its humble size, this location has been named one of the most popular spot for tourists in Kamakura after the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū Shinto shrine.

Zeniarai Benten Money Washing Shrine
Zeniarai Benten Money Washing Shrine

Located in Kamakura’s west, the shrine was constructed following the instruction of Minamoto Yoritomo, a powerful shogun and the founder of the Kamakura government. Minamoto Yoritomo gained inspiration for the shrine after the Ugafuku God appeared in his dream and encouraged him to build the sacred site in order to provide salvation for people who were suffering from poverty following what seemed like a continuous series of disasters. In doing so Yoritomo believed the site would bring peace to the entire nation of Japan.

Zeniarai Benten Money Washing Shrine

Because the inspiration stuck on the day of the snake, in the month of the snake of the year of the snake the site was then also dedicated to the goddess Benten, the Buddhist figure associated with snakes. Once Yoritomo discovered the perfect valley for the shrine, he hollowed out spot in the rock and enshrined Shinto and Buddhist deities as his dream instructed.

Zeniarai Benten Money Washing Shrine

Since its original incarnation people truly believe that prosperity was brought to people and over time peace swept throughout the nation. What’s particularly amazing is the fact that holy water has continued to flow throughout the shrine ever since its birth, it’s this water that’s known as the ‘coin washing water’. Entry to the site is open from 8am until 4:30pm and admission is free, however to pray you do have to buy a set of 3 candles and incense sticks which cost 100 yen a set at the shrine office and borrow a basket for the money you wish to wash.

Zeniarai Benten Money Washing Shrine

The shrine is a little trickier to get to than other local sites as there are no bus stations or other famous tourist spots located nearby. Though its seclusion makes it a bit more work to visit, this isolated position also gives the area a undeniable sense of magic and tranquility, a contrast to some of the other more well trodden sites in Kamakura. The best way to get to Zeniarai Benten is by taxi or foot. If you do plan on walking it’s a 25 to 30 minute walk northwest of Kamakura Station. It is connected to the Daibutsu hiking trail, so the walk from there is also pretty straightforward and gives visitors a great opportunity to soak up the natural beauty of Kamakura.

Facility Name
Kamakura
Address
Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Komachi 1-chome
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine
Address
Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Sasuke 2-25-16
Phone
0467251081
Hours
8:00-16:30
Closed
open everyday
Fees
free
Introduction
Popularly known as “Zeniarai Benzaiten,” the Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine is located in the Sasuke district of Kamakura City. According to legend, the shrine was founded when, in the evening of the Day of the Snake in the Month of the Snake in 1185, Minamoto no Yoritomo was told in a dream that “If you pray to the Shinto deities and to the Buddha at this spring, peace will come to the land.” Subsequently, after the local ruler Hojo Tokiyori washed coins in the spring while praying for the prosperity of his clan, the belief spread that washing coins in the spring inside the cave would cause that money to increase. This practice is believed to be particularly effective if performed on the day of the temple festival dedicated to the goddess Benten, so the Shrine is usually thronged with worshippers on that day. The spring at the Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine is classed as one of the “Five Famous Springs of Kamakura.”
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Tsuruoka Hachimangu
Address
Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yukinoshita 2-1-31
Phone
0467220315
Hours
[Apr.-Sep. ]5:00-21:00
[Oct.-Mar.]6:00-21:00
Closed
open everyday
Fees
Nothing
Parking Lot
Available
Introduction
Kamakura's most important Shinto shrine. Originally established in 1063, and moved to its current location in 1180 by Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura bakufu(shogunate). After being destroyed by fire in 1191, it was reconstructed with the present style in the same year. Genpei pond is said to be its historic symbol; the rise and fall of two great clans, Genji (Minamoto clan) and Heike (Taira clan).
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

PLACES IN THIS ARTICLE

  • dummy image

    Kamakura

    Station
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Komachi 1-chome
  • Tsuruoka Hachimangu image

    Tsuruoka Hachimangu

    Shrine (Inari/Gongen)
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yukinoshita 2-1-31
  • Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine image

    Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine

    Shrine (Inari/Gongen)
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Sasuke 2-25-16
cntlog