Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | February 22, 2009

Kamakura, Japan- Day 2

We woke up to the sound of rain, cozy on the tatami floor of our room at the Hotel New Kamakura. Normally we love the sound of rain, but we had a big day planned of temple viewing, hiking, and taking photos with my new camera, so we were both a bit disappointed that it might all be rained out. Fortunately, after a nice breakfast in the town square and a short shopping trip to buy two new umbrellas, the rain slowed and eventually stopped.

Rather than start our tour near the hotel and move out, we took the train one stop to the north, and spent the rest of our day working our way back to town. We started at the Engakuji temple, followed by Tokeiji and Jochiji. At each temple, we felt immediately transported to another world. Pink and white plum blossoms were blooming, giving a fresh vibe to the ancient and almost alien buildings. To say that we were in awe would totally understate the sense of smallness we felt standing in the midst of these temples. The buildings have stood for nearly a thousand years, and many thousands of devoted worshipers have surely visited them.

After touring a few temples (full slideshow below), we found our way to the “Daibutsu hiking course,” a hike through the hills and forests of Kamakura to the steps of the Daibutsu. Though muddy from the rain earlier in the day, the hike was fantastic, and we veered off at the end to a very special temple since we had already visited the Daibutsu.

This temple, called Hasedera, is particularly special because it is a pilgrimage spot for many mothers and fathers who have lost children due to complications at birth, illness, or abortion. Each visitor to the temple can dedicate a small figurine to a lost child. Before Rachael and Rebecca were born, her parents lost two daughters that were born prematurely. This in mind, Rachael wrote the names of Marie and Christine on two figurines and placed them among the hundreds of others in the cave.

To finish off our grand tour of Kamakura, we walked a few more blocks past the Hasedera temple to the coast right in time for the sunset. The waves were frequent and high; so many people were out surfing in the cold water and doing some sort of activity involving surfboards and paddles. From the beach, we walked to a nearby train station and rode a few stops back to the center of town. We ended the night with a new restaurant experience. At “Horetaro,” we cooked our own Japanese pancakes and noodles on a grill at our table. Rather than using plain batter, guests order ingredients like beef, wasabi, squid, shrimp, etc., and they are mixed in with the batter. Once they are done cooking, the pancakes are topped with all sorts of sauces and spices. We were stuffed to the brim when we left, so a visit to the local ice cream shop for some orange sherbet was definitely needed to settle our stomachs.

All in all, the sounds of Kamakura were peaceful and lively, the sights were awe-inspiring, and the food was some of the best we’ve had yet in Japan. We would go back in a heartbeat, especially now that we know such a treasure is just a short train ride from our home in Tokyo.

SLIDESHOW!

Kamakura, Japan

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Responses

  1. Rachel and Brad. First of all thank you for sharihg your wonderful, exciting new adventures with all of us. I am the Pat from Alabama friend of your mom’s. I have fallowed your entire adventure and have especially enjoyed Kamakura. I also visited there in 1986. It is an awesome, peaceful and comforting place. I was especially fascinted with (after Diabutsu) the large bamboo. Thanks again for sharing this wonderful adventure. Love, Pat


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