Return to Japan: Japan Day 2, Kamakura

10 years ago by in Travel

This day the waifu and I go to Kamakura.

This hotel has a little unusual way of securing your room when you go out. You need to leave the key with the front desk when you leave. And then pick it up when you return. Kind of like a key card entry with people instead of swiping.

This is the underground mall of The Diamond at the Lumine Building. We set out at about 10:00am and it was still this crowded with commuters to work (mostly late ones! ha ha ha!)

We past this ramen & udon stand in front of the station. There are a lot of this type of "fast food" found near the train stations. No chairs. You can just eat at the counter standing or out on the mall way just like this salaryman here.

This "Koban", or police sub-staion at the entrance to Lumine. Good to know. The police here are VERY helpful. Almost as if they are visitor information booths.

I can not read Kanji very well, or almost not at all (lol). So my wife at station 5 had to purchase our tickets for the JR train. Almost all of the maps have english but most of the machines are in Japanese. You can switch the language now, but since there was a line I did not want to be the "baka gaijin" holding everyone up. ^_^

This is the most common JR train we will be traveling on during our stay.

CAPTION THIS. My caption would be,"I’m on the f$%i& wrong platform!!!"

Can you spot the difference in the signs? I couldn’t! We were supposed to take the JR to Odawara. Luckily there are light signals that let us know which is which.

These light had absolutely no meaning for us other than the fact it LED’s were super bright. Just made for a cool pic. The kanji on the red card roughly translated to "customers" or "passengers". We were not sure about the one on the blue. With roughly over 5000 characters to learn and some new ones added occasionally it was hard to define most of them without help.

One of the terminals we stopped at to transfer trains to Kamakura.

More of the famous vending machines. There was even one on the far end where you could purchase boxes and bags for gift wrapping!

Komachi-Dori (street). This led straight into the heart of Kamakura. The best way to describe this city is like a city of temples and shrines. More info here

Oh, the humanity!!! Just so happens that today was a national field trip for some schools around the nation. So you’ll see a lot of students in the following shots.

Along the way we spotted a music box museum/store. It was really neat seeing the different styles of music boxes.

Music boxes galore.

All shapes and sizes.

The first temple we visited was the Hasedera. About 10 years ago it was optional to give a small donation (usually about 200yen) to enter the temple. Today it is an admission fee. More info about Hasedera here

Here I am purifying my camera with temple water before entering the shrines. (lol) You can not take any pictures inside the shrine so you have to take my word for it that the statue of the Kannon was incredible!

If I understood the translations this area is for the JIZŌ BODHISATTVA (Sanskrit = Ksitegarbha) Guardian of Deceased Children, Expectant Mothers, Firemen, Travelers, Pilgrims, & Souls in the Underworld. The many small statues are like the "attendants to the souls"

More of the JIZŌ BODHISATTVA attendants around the shrine.

The main building of Hasedera where the Kannon is enshrined.

One of the many beautiful ponds around the area.

I think this one translated to the "Happiness Buddha"

This is the Torii, or entrance gate, to Kamakura Hatchimangu.

Why did everything had to be far away and up a hill!!? lol. Actually, in Japan hills and mountains were/are sacred places. So a lot of shrines, temples will be up on hills or around mountains.

I asked around about those stacked barrels. Seems like those are sake (rice wine) sponsors for the flowers and landscape for the temple. . . free advertising I guess.

The area was pretty foggy. Either nature or pollutions so the next batch of pictures look kinda weird. The wood architecture we found fascinating. To have withstood the elements for centuries is a testament to Japanese ingenuity then.

My waifu getting ready to show me how to walk up steps. ^_^

Another view. This picture does not do justice to the angle! To the left is the 1000-year old ginkgo tree which was full of history. It was said that an assassin hid behind this tree and killed the shogun Under heavy snow on the evening of February 12, 1219. In the early hours of March 10, 2010, it was uprooted by a storm and no longer there. Arbor experts say it was felled because of rot. But they may just use the seeds to regrow the tree.

After half an hour my view at the top! ha ha ha! Just joking. ^_^

Just a closer view of the main temple architecture. A LOT of details went into the rafters. I hope you can appreciate just what it might have took to build the temple. We really were impressed.

Mikoshi, or portable shrines, in a row. These are the shrines that people here carry on their shoulders during the festivals or like.

The next temple is the more famous of Kamakura. The Kotokuin (Daibutsu) has one of the largest image of the Buddha in Japan. Much history about this statue.

This inside is hollow. So for a donation of 20yen you can go inside the enlightened Amitābha Buddha.

Another view of the Amitābha Buddha. To the right of the temple is the giant sandals of the Amitābha Buddha. I could not take a picture of it because all the female students were eating in front of it. I did not want to appear to be some sort of pervert. lol

We only had time to visit one more temple before din din. The Hokokuji Temple’s claim to fame is that it has the most beautiful bamboo garden anywhere. This is the view of the entrance stairway.

The bamboo canopy.

My waifu here is for the scale of the bamboo garden.

There is a little cafe on the far side of the garden. Tea and coffee is served. Here you can just enjoy the tranquility of the garden. My waifu is at her camera.

A shot of me preparing my tools for the next "roll".

One of the Tori Gates that loosely marks the boundary of the many temples of Kamakura.

A takoyaki type food vendor.

The best way to describe this food vendor is "Tempura on a stick".

Here you can have your food prepared right in front of you as you have a beverage.

These are all made to go bentos. All are plastic displays. But at least you can see what you are ordering.

Time for din din! A shot of the side streets where we ate our late lunch. I could not tell you the name of the restaurant because it had no name! But it had some great dishes for the two of us for about $14 american.

Heading back to the hotel room we stopped by the famous SOGO department store. Most of the stores in Japan are built multi tiered. Each floor caters to a selection. We were in the food section. Here is a skewer type eatery.

One of the streets we were walking on had these houses or "Mansions" as these are called in Japan. Land is a premium in Kamakura so it makes sense to build "up". I for one could not live in a house where your neighbor has a view into your room.

We spotted these modern day rickshaws at the intersection. Flashing red LED’s on the back so they are visible in traffic.

Here is one of your more traditional bento servers.

We will pick up some pastries and call it a night. Maybe some of that delicious "Christmas Cake"! And with that we end our day 2. Gochisosama deshita!