Luce at Kakuonji
A special tasting for the community of this ancient temple in Kamakura
Luce, already available in Japan for a long time now, last month was the focus of a tasting to which the monks of Kakuonji Temple, in Kamakura, invited the community.
It was Tenuta Luce’s way of thanking monk Nakata for the contribution he gave to Birth, telling the fascinating story of Kakuonji.
Here’s the story of the temple, as published in Birth.
Since its birth, now 700 years ago, Kakuonji Temple with its statue of Buddha and its worship hall have preserved they harmony with the surrounding nature. To this day, in the spaces surrounding the temple and the cemetery, there’s a desire that people feel the harmony of a sacred ground of prayer, where the souls of the departed and the souls of us, the living, can communicate.
Though the temple was built 700 years ago, this doesn’t mean it hasn’t transformed itself over the centuries. For example, Kakuonji is a temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, but when its worship hall was rebuilt in 1354, it was built not in the Shingon style, but in the Zen style. This is because, in the Kamakura Period, the Zen sect had captured the hearts of many people, and the temple priests of Kakuonji decided that they also needed to understand other schools of Buddhism. The worship hall shows the desire to understand other Buddhist sects. Back then, it must surely have been a revolutionary decision.
In the 18th century, the temple fell onto hard times financially and was unable to afford the tiles for the roof. The priests decided, therefore, to change to a thatched roof, straw thatch being the cheapest roofing material available at that time. It is this worship hall with its thatched roof that gives Kakuonji Temple its unique charm today.