Monday 12 June Tokyo – Kamakura area

We met our Local Private Guide, Toru in the Lobby at 9.00am and we walked down to the local Metro Station, which took 5 minutes. Toru purchased our tickets and we boarded a Metro train and got off after 3 stops. It was at the end of the Peak Hour, so when we boarded the train, there was a white-gloved “Pusher” there to push people onto the train – needless to say it was crowded on the train. Toru then purchased our tickets for the JR Train to Kamakura, which took one hour.
Kamakura is a historical city on the coast, southwest of Tokyo. Kamakura became the political centre of Japan when Minamoto Yoritomo chose the city as the seat for his new military government in 1192. The Kamakura government continued to rule Japan for over a century. Today, Kamakura is a small city, which has numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments, as well as sandy beaches that attract large crowds during the summer months.
From Kamakura Station, we walked along a tree-lined raised walkway in the centre of the road, which goes from the beach all the way to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, which was founded in 1063. There was a Torii Gate at the end of the walkway and another one as we entered the Shrine complex. There was a long laneway that crossed over our path that Toru told us was where they hold horseback archery competitions in September each year. We walked up several stone steps where the 3rd Shogun was killed and up to the Main Hall. We saw a portable shrine used for local celebrations – it can be carried on the shoulders and the priest and parishioners walk with it. We saw a squirrel on the Bridge and some ducks in the Lotus Pond.
We walked back through a long laneway to a different exit and then using back streets/laneways with lovely little houses and small gardens, we made our way to the Hokoku-ji Temple. The Hokoku-ji Temple is a small temple of Zen Buddhism and has a beautiful bamboo grove behind the main hall. A narrow pathway leads to a tea-house through the bamboo and there was a lovely garden with a mixture of landscape garden and a dry stone Zen garden. There was also a garden with moss and some stone Buddhas and we saw a gardener up a ladder trimming a Sanshuya tree. We saw the Main Hall with a Dragon on the front – the dragon has the power to control the water so that the temple would not burn. Next to the Main Hall was another hall for practicing sitting meditation.
We once again took to the interesting back lanes to meet up with the main road where we could catch a bus back to the Kamakura Station. While we were waiting for the bus, we saw a large group of women wearing kimonos heading up to the Temple. Toru asked them what they were doing and they told him that they were shop owners of Kimono shops and they were attending a function.
We caught an interesting crowded local bus that took 20 minutes, stopping frequently on its journey to the station. After a short walk from the station, Toru took us to The Garden House, an outdoor restaurant where we had Japanese style Pizza and Vegetables, which turned out to be salad. The meal was delicious and we sat at a table under the trees, chatting to Toru.
After lunch we caught a local train for a 25 minute journey to Hase Station and then, because the main street was extremely crowded with people heading to the temples, Toru once again took us via back street/lanes to the Kotokuin Temple to see the Great Buddha. The bronze Great Buddha Statue is sitting cross-legged and is 13 metres high and weighs 121 tons. It was cast in 1292, and was housed in a wooden temple, which was washed away in a great tsunami in 1495. Since then, the Great Buddha Statute has been sitting in the open atmosphere. Even in this crowded area, there was an air of tranquility while we stood and gazed at the Great Buddha.
We walked for about 20 minutes to the Hasadera Temple, which is built on the slope of a wooded hill and the Main Gate had Pine Trees and a Red Lantern. We saw a pretty little garden with some ponds and the Jizo-do Hall with hundreds of small statues of the Jizo. We saw the Gold Buddha in the Amida-do Hall.
The Kannon-do Hall is home to the statute of the 11-headed Kannon, Goddess of Mercy, each representing a different phase in the search for enlightenment. The 9.18 metre tall, gilded wooden statue is regarded as one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan.
From there we went into the Kannon Museum, which had treasures including the thirty-three Avatars of Kannon and the eleven headed Kannon Buddha. Then we made our way to an Observation Platform where we had great views of Sagami Bay – Toru told us that the Yachting Races would be held here for the Olympics. We sat in the garden for 10 minutes, having a drink of water, because by then it was quite warm, before walking down to the beach. We saw several small fishing boats pulled up onto the beach and lots of people enjoying the fresh area and paddling in the small waves. The sand was quite brown, so we didn’t take off our shoes or go paddling ourselves.
After a wonderful day in Kamakura, we headed to Hase Station and caught a local train along the waterfront for 30 minutes to Fujisawa, where we changed to a Rapid Service train and returned to Tokyo via Yokohama and Kawasaki. We changed trains again onto the Ginza Metro Line for the last leg of our journey to Akasak-mitsuke arriving back at 10 minutes to 6. As this was the station we came back to last night and we new our way out of the station, we said our goodbyes and thank-you to Toru, who has been a wonderful guide with excellent English skills and an interesting person to talk to. We exited the station and walked for 5 minutes and we were back at our hotel.
After a quick shower, we went up to the 40th Floor to the Bella Vista Restaurant for dinner overlooking the fairyland of lights below us. Richard had char-grilled fillet of pork and Sandy had char-grilled lam cutlets and then we had a splurge and had dessert as well – a delicious meal after a wonderful day in the Kamakura area.

3 Responses to “Monday 12 June Tokyo – Kamakura area”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    Still enjoying reading your Blog and looking at your beautiful photos. Keep enjoying every moment of your wonderful holiday. Love Dennis and Maria xoxo

  2. sandy says:

    Thanks for all your lovely comments Sis. I hope you had a laugh about our adventures on the Tokyo Metro yesterday. We are all packed and ready to be picked up by our private car that APT organised for us for our flight home this afternoon. I think we will be in for a shock to come home to our Australian winter when we have been enjoying the summer here. Looking forward to talking to you soon Love you lots. Sandy xoxo

  3. Maria Hughes says:

    Ha ha certainly sounds like you had a fun day on the Tokyo Metro and I am impressed you found Richard’s favourite hat too!! Well done – you always feel extra proud when you use the train system in a foreign country where not much, if any, English is used!!! Look forward to chatting soon, love Maria and Dennis xoxo

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