IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
Joining my husband whilst he attended a business conference in Tokyo, led to an opportunity to join a group of women (who were also there with their better halves), on a day trip out of the City. For those looking to take a day trip out of Tokyo, the town of Kamakura is a good option. Taking the train is pretty easy, the journey time was around an hour and a half on the train from Roppongi Hills.
Our first stop was the Hokoku-ji Buddhist Temple, a short taxi ride from the train station at Kamakura. This lovely temple was definitely worth a visit. The serene Bamboo groves with the bamboo reaching to the sky, was a delightful surprise. As was the small tea house in the middle where you can sip a cup of Matcha Green Tea looking out over the bamboo
Hopping back in a taxi we headed to The Great Buddha of Kamakura at the Katokuin Temple. This huge bronze Buddha dating back to 1252, was originally inside a temple house. A storm in 1334 destroyed the temple house which was then rebuilt. Following another storm in 1369 and then a tsunami in 1498, that destroyed further re-constructed buildings, the Buddha has remained in the open air. It is quite an impressive site, standing at 13.35 metres (almost 44 feet) tall, surrounded by lovely temple grounds.
Leaving behind the Big Buddha, we headed to one of Kamakura's most important shrines, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. The distinctive red tori gates stretch from the waterfront area down a wide avenue through town to the shrine itself. We did not start from the waterfront, but from the last tori gate, closest to the main hall. It's quite a longish walk even from this point, and there are quite a few stairs to get to the main hall and shrine museum. There are some gardens and ponds close to the shrine too, all the grounds were immaculate. This struck me at every temple or shrine we visited in Japan, a bit of a change from the many temples I have seen in other places in Asia. Come to think of it, everywhere I went in Japan was neat and tidy.
I was particularly fascinated by the purification fountains that we saw at the shrines. Apparently there is proper etiquette to be followed when washing your hands and rinsing your mouth prior to entering a shrine or temple.
The Komachi-Dori Shopping street in Kamakura is easy to access from the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine and was the perfect way to end our visit. This lovely shopping street has an abundance of shops, cafes and boutiques, perfect for resting and people watching, browsing or tracking down a Japanese souvenir. The end of the street finds you back at the Kamakura Train Station.
And finally, I just have to say how much I loved the cute taxi cabs and the delightful manicured streets and houses in Kamakura.
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