The Kencho-ji Temple from Kamakura was established by Tokiyori Hojo, the fifth regent of the Kamakura shogunate, in the year 1253, during the Kencho era - hence the name Kencho-ji.
Since at the time there were no Zen Buddhist priests in Japan, Tokiyori Hojo invited Rankei Doryu, a Chinese Zen master, to be the founding priest.
It is said that the 7 juniper trees in the front of Butsuden (Buddha Hall) were planted by the priest Rankei himself, with seeds brought from China. And since the juniper trees appear on map from 1331, it seems that the story is true.
That means that these trees survived over 700 years, so, being the oldest juniper trees from Kamakura, they are now designated as a Scenic Spot by the National Government:
Click on photo for higher resolution:
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: