[Japan 2006] Kamakura

February 20, 2006 | 2006-japan, photo, trip |

February 6, 2006

warning: long and silly post with lots of photos behind cut, proceed with caution ^^”

Okay, I admitted that picking Shinjuku Station as a meeting point was one of the worst ideas on earth. But we thought it would be perfect during our previous night conversation since our train to Kamakura would leave from this station so it’s supposed to save us times!! It turned out that the place was huge and extremely confusing. It had soooooo many exits with gazillion people walking and running around you. Though we tried to avoid the rush hour, my friend (Friend A) and I still couldn’t find my other friend (Friend B). Cellphone rental sucked big time as it had almost no signal, so we couldn’t reach her. =___= Almost an hour later, I thought we’re doomed and probably had to waste one day trying to find each other when a miracle happened. Friend B just walked passed the door that we’re standing by and Friend A happened to see her! XD Weird things do happen, I guess! Now we’re heading for Kamakura! Yay~

Kamakura is a small city, located in eastern Japan, about an hour south of Tokyo. The city has a lot of history as it was chosen to be a capital of Japan in 1192 by Minamoto Yorimoto (aka Seiitai Shogun). Nowadays, a lot of tourists come to visit Kamakura’s temples, shrines, and other historical monuments throughout the years

We decided to follow a route in Lonely Planet guidebook and got off our train at Kita-Kamakura station. (I have to say that it’s a bad decision, we should’ve followed the recommended walking tour we’ve got from the website as it would be much easier, and cover more places. ^^”) There, our lives with “doko desu ka?” had started. XD We’re lucky that Friend B used to take Japanese classes, so she could form a basic question, and seriously, when you’re asking for directions, you really need to catch 2 words: hidari and migi (left/right) and look for sign languages. ^^” Well, at least that’s what we did. ^^

We asked a guy at the station about how to get to Engakuji Temple. He looked at us like we were a group of idiots and pointed to a sign nearby. Well, Engakuji was like only 25 feet away, probably less. ^__^” tourists, tourists….

Engakuji is one of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples with a lot of beautiful buildings and statues.

If you can see a small orange dot in the middle of the pool, you’re looking at a poor frozen goldfish -____-”

Something special about this gate? *nods nods* It has this two carved flying dragons, one on each side of the doors which, of course, made me think of Asami and Fei. ^___^

Climbing 135 steps up the steep staircase, we finally found Ogane (the Big Bell), one of Japan National Treasures. ^^ We thought it would be bigger though ^__~

Next to Ogane, there’s a teahouse with a very beautiful view and expensive drinks. Good luck charms and souvenirs are selling at higher prices too. ^___^”

Next, we went to Tokeiji Temple, a few meters away from Engakuji on the opposite side of the railway tracks. In the past, this temple was most famous as a shelter for wives who were abused by their husbands and wished to become divorced. At Tokeiji, women could become officially divorced by staying there for three years. A very nice lady at the admission booth gave us a local map which made us scream in joy as it had both Japanese and English on it. XD

We decided to skip Jochiji and went straight for Kenchoji Temple, one of the oldest Zen temples of Japan, and the first one built in Kamakura.

We kind of half lost sense of directions when we got out of Kenchoji, but a very kind Japanese (old) man stopped by and tried to help us. *was greatful* So, we’re on our quest to our next stop, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura’s most important shrine.

You could get your fortune for a 100 Yen. If it’s good, you bring it back with you. If it’s bad, you leave it at this place, just like in the above picture. ^^

We’re walking to Kamakura station through the Komachi-dori, a shopping street, which has a lot of nice souvenir shops, restaurants, etc etc.

We didn’t have much time to spend at this street as the sun was almost gone for the day, so we caught a local train to Kotokuin Temple to see Daibutsu, the Great Buddha.

the above girl was there just to be a reference for the Buddha’s slippers size, ignore her, ignore her! XD

We ran back to Hase Kannon, but unfortunately, it’s closed for the day T___T so we just took some photos in front of the shrine.

We went back to the shopping, found a very nice small traditional restaurant for dinner. Surprisingly, the owners just got back from their vacation to Thailand, so they’re trying to talk to us and we’re trying to respond with our broken Japanese, boy, that was fun! XD

An hour later, we caught a train back to Tokyo, exhausted beyond imagine, and our trip had just begun!

end notes:

From Tokyo, instead of getting a Kamakura day-pass which can be used on all transportations in Kamakura, we bought a single trip ticket since at first we thought we would go to Yokohama on our way back to Tokyo. Well, by the end of the day, we didn’t have enough energy left to go to Yokohama, so we ended up buying another one way ticket. Adding up all transportation costs for the day, we paid more than we’re supposed to for this day trip. *smacks self lightly* First lesson learned. Next time just get the day-pass, it was created for a reason! ^__^”


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