Kamakura with Pieter

4 April 2009

I sent Pieter off one day to see the famous temples of Nikko, because I think it is very much worth seeing, but if you've been there once, you've seen it. On the other hand, the old imperial city Kamakura is a place I really like and I've gone back there many times with different people and I can still see things I didn't see before. The other thing is that, while in Nikko all sights are conveniently located close together, Kamakura is more spread-out and I think it is difficult to find all "hidden treasures" for someone who comes for the first time.

Other posts about Kamakura:

[HDR] Jufukuji Temple

My favorite shrine/temple (this one is actually a mix of shinto and buddhism) is Zeniarai Benten. Here Pieter is going to wash his money in the hope that it will really double (as the legend goes). Washing your money in the cave, the origami cranes hanging from the ceiling, the little garden with pond and waterfall, the squirrels hanging out around the back-entrance, the main entrance via a tunnel... although you may see all elements somewhere else, it is so nicely gathered here. Oh yeah, and the other great point: it is situated along the great buddha hiking trail. (That is "great buddha" although the hiking trail is also great ;-) but not too long.)

Must-see in Kamakura. And I like it.

[HDR] Inside the buddha

I had not been to the Hase temple before, even though it is famous... Somehow I must have missed it. It appeared to be a very nice temple with a lot of variation...

[HDR] nice gardens...

nice views... (if you come in the early summer, you may see the the slopes covered with blooming Hydrangea macrophylla (NL: "Hortensia", JP:"Ajisai"), but generally old people in Japan are very well informed about such events so it may be crowded).

rows and rows of statues...

caves connected by tunnels with more statues... (each statue of a specific goddess, like one for cattle, one for justice, one for a good harvest etc. etc.)

and a cave where you can buy & place your own little wooden statue. There is also a big Kannon (bodhisattva/goddess of mercy) statue, but no pictures allowed there.

I'd also never been to Enoshima, an island connected to the main land by bridge. I always thought it would be too much touristy stuff, but we decided to try and find out this time. My conclusion: it's ok, but seeing some other places in Kamakura is probably more worhtwhile if you do it as a day trip from Tokyo. And there are a lot of tourist shops, restaurants, and paid attractions.

The shrine here featured some peculiar object that can bring you luck. The trick is: you have to step through the ring, turn left and come around, then go through again, turn right and come around, step through a third time, turn left and come around, and then pay your respect by claping hands and bowing. We tried it. So far, so good ;-)

It seems there IS a line on the horizon...

We walked further to the far end of the island, where you can go down on the rugged coast line. If the weather is good (not in summer) you can see Mt. Fuji from there, but we were unlucky and it even started to rain :-(

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