Kamakura has always been an item on my to-visit list since I set foot in Japan. Yesterday, we finally found the time to fit a day trip in our busy schedules. I have to admit, my friends and I were dead tired from a long week’s work, but I’m so glad we pushed through.
There’s so much to see and so many things to do, it can’t possibly be squeezed in one day. We had to prioritize. We decided to visit Hasedera Temple and the Great Buddha of Kamakura, then visit Enoshima.
Kamakura is a quaint city, with low-rise buildings and narrow streets, but it’s teeming with people — both local and foreign visitors alike.
We stopped by to grab a quick lunch before we started our midday stroll. This cute little store ushered us in and my inner Ghibli fan was screaming with joy. I’ve been binge-watching a lot of Ghibli movies and seeing this made my heart skip a beat.
I’ve watched about 10 Hayao Miyazaki films since I moved here. So imagine my excitement. I can easily talk about the films and stray away from the Kamakura post, if I’m not careful. Haha.
There’s Kiki’s broom! Haha okay, I’ll stop.
After lunch, we headed back to the station where we rode the Enoden line to Hase. First on the list was the Kamakura Hasedera Temple.The Kannon-do Hall houses the magnificent statue of Hase Kannon, a 9.18 meter wooden Buddhist statue. Photos weren’t allowed inside though. But walking inside and seeing the statue left me in awe and amazement. It has eleven heads in addition to its main one, each face with a different expressions. It holds a vase with lotus flowers in its left hand, and and a staff in its right. To its right lies the Amida-do Hall where the golden seated statue of Amida Nyorai is housed. Next to the hall is the Shoro Bellfry. The original bell was cast in 1264. Following the Buddhist ritual called Joya no Kane, the bell is rung 108 times on New Year’s Eve to dispel the 108 sufferings of humanity. Look: rotating bookshelves! It doesn’t work now though.
Growing up the the countryside, I’ve always loved greens and nature. When traveling, I’m always the curious wanderer, floundering around narrow paths and winding roads. And getting an insta-worthy photo is a bonus! There’s a restaurant atop the shrine complex that offers panoramic views of the Yuigahama beach, too. And a nice little pond with enormous koi fish.
That’s it for the Hasedera Temple. The ¥300 admission fee was definitely worth it! With no time to waste, we headed straight to the Kotokuin Temple, where the Great Buddha of Kamakura is enshrined.With a towering height of 13.35 meters, the Kamakura Daibutsu is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. It was originally cast in 1252 inside a large temple, but the temple was destroyed by multiple typhoons and earthquakes. Since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open. Nothing short of amazing! What a sight to behold! I felt so small.
Ticking Kamakura off of my to-visit list! Yay!