Being all time in Tokyo, we wanted to take just one short trip outside of it. There are still lots of places we haven’t see, but knowing that is impossible to see them all and hoping that we might come back to Japan one day, we chose just one place. And our choice was Kamakura, an ancient city less than an hour south of Tokyo. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. The town was political centre of Japan in late 12th century and there are many temples that evoke the character of that times. I am not fun of one day trips like this one because we had to wake up really early and then we got caught up in the rush hour, stuck in an overcrowded train car and believe me, nobody is prepared for Japanese rush hour. But fortunately trip was really short, and last part of it our train was almost empty.
We arrived really early, and all shops were still closed, so we decided to take a walk to the temples.
Kamakura is cute little town and this early we were enjoying in it’s tranquility.
There is a bit of walk from train station to first temple today, Hasadera, but being in Tokyo and walking a lot I was prepared for it.
Hasedera is built along the slope of a wooded hill and pretty garden with ponds welcomes visitors as they enter the grounds.
At this point I decided to show to my sleepy Pikachu entire Kamakura.
And dad was studying ponds and garden landscape with plan to build us Japanese garden back home.
Along the stairs leading up we found hundreds of small statues of the Jizo Bodhisattva who helps the souls of deceased children to reach paradise.
Jizo protect not only children and travellers but also firefighters and miners.
Little Jizo statutes are all around.
I pored some water over the head of Jizo even though that is a thing that parents usually do.
And then I burned incense (osenko) …
.. and placed it in a large incense holder. This is done with silent prayer and is believed to have healing powers.
In the temple’s main building there is 9.18 meter tall, gilded wooden statue, regarded as one of the largest wooden sculpture in Japan, but as photos are forbidden inside the buildings we don’t have any.
But we managed to see almost 3 meter tall golden statue of the Amida Buddha.
Then I bought Ema, small wooden plaque in which I wrote my wishes and then hung it to be received by the gods.
I love all of this little things in Japanese temples and I do them all.
Just next to the temple there is a nice terrace with beautiful views of Kamakura coast.
We almost missed this Benten-kutsu Cave, glad that we didn’t.
Cave was full of lot of small figures of Buddha and they looked really old.
And ceiling was quite low so I enjoyed walking through it.
At the end of the visit we took some omamori, amulets, for good luck.
Goodby Jizu, it was nice around here.
Time to walk to next big thing in Kamakura.
My Pikachu got really tired by now.
On our way we visited couple of souvenir shops.
And next big thing was really big! I didn’t expect it to be this big!
The Great Buddha of Kamakura has more than 11 meters, and it is the third tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.
We have even been inside the statue!
And then we walked again. A lot. And I got really tired.
We arrived at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura’s most important shrine. But I was exhausted and we had to make a decision.
So, we missed the shrine and took a taxi to Hokokuji Temple, just to see it’s small bamboo grove.
Being so tired we passed entrance and temple really quickly and searched for what we came for.
And there it is.
We missed one in Kyoto last time, cause we arrived when it was already almost night and we couldn’t see a thing.
And this one even if it is small as they say was just enough for us.
These shallow caves are carved into the hillsides.
He looks so small.
And even more sleepy.
So, good night Kamakura.