Tokeiji was founded by the wife of the regent Hojo Tokimune in 1285 after Tokimune had died at a young age. Until the end of the Edo Period, the temple served as a shelter for women who suffered abuse by their husbands and sought a divorce. An official divorce could be attained by staying at the temple for three years.

Behind the temple there is a graveyard where many celebrities are buried, among them in adjacent graves are two men also famous among European Zen and haiku aficionados, Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki and Reginald Horace Blyth.