Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Kamakura, Japan

Grab a cup of coffee. Put your feet up. And get ready for the long haul cause today I'm talking about my favorite place that I visited in Japan, Kamakura. Kamakura is a small-ish (pop: 175,0000) seaside city south of Tokyo and Yokohama located on the Bay of Sagami. Known for surfing, and a popular day trip for Tokyoans (Tokyoites?), Kamakura has a laid-back feel. Easily reached by public transportation, we visited Kamakura on a pretty, and fairly crowded, Saturday.



We left Shinagawa station in Tokyo on the JR Yokosuka line and transferred in Ofuna to arrive in Kamakura. Once we arrived at our final destination, we followed the crowds to the right and through a pedestrian tunnel to a bus that was headed to our first stop, The Big Buddha. Officially known as the Kotoku-in Temple's Great Buddha, we just referred to it as The Big Buddha. The bus cost around $1 (you pay when you exit) and it dropped us directly at the temple. Approximately 42 feet tall and made of bronze, this Buddha is probably the thing Kamakura is known for the most.











Admission to the temple costs 200 yen, or around $1.75. The Big Buddha is the second tallest bronze Buddha in Japan, second only to the one in Nara. You may pay an additional 20 cents to enter inside the Buddha which allows you to see how it was constructed, and which we did. There are restrooms on site and a small area to buy some items associated with the Buddha. Our visit didn't take very long and then we were off to see Kamakura itself.
(Funny aside: One of the souvenir stores we went in had a photo of President Obama on the wall and the lady working there said he came to visit The Big Buddha and she shook his hand!)











Looking for a place for lunch we spotted a storefront selling octopus crackers. My girls wanted to try them - and I suppose I would have, too - but the line was long. Really long. I guess that Mackinac Island is known for fudge and Kamakura is known for octopus crackers.


We popped into a small cafe for lunch. It had a bit of a surfer vibe with Hawaii and California tourism posters for art. Fortified after some shrimp pasta, we were on our way.



Hasedera Temple sits on top of a hill in Kamakura and includes the temple, its grounds, a cave and a large statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. She is portrayed in all her glory with her eleven heads, each representing a characteristic of the goddess.




The grounds are stunning with beautiful gardens and a view of the sea. There is also a small bamboo forest which I was thrilled about as I was hoping to see one on my visit to Japan. I spent a little time just sitting on a bench by the entrance to the forest while my girls wandered on the path and took in the view.


















My youngest noticed that the construction worker is bowing!




Sailboats in February!




It was getting  late and we needed to catch our train back to Tokyo but we stopped at the tiniest sweet shop in town for a snack. I don't remember what everyone had but I know mine was chocolate!




And we were off on the train! Such a great day in Kamakura. My favorite day in Japan - a Big Buddha, a beautiful temple and it's grounds, a town by the sea, a delicious lunch and chocolate! What more could one ask for?



I'm linking up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox,Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner!


















20 comments:

  1. Thanks for the idea! What other day trips yo did from Tokyo? I like to use a big city as a base and explore a region from there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We only did two day trips - this one to Kamakura and then a day in the town of Narita (not the airport) which was equally as wonderful. Thanks for visiting Ruth!

      Delete
  2. It sounds pretty perfect to me. Japan is one of my favourite destinations.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its been literally decades since we were in Japan, your post brought our trip back to life. Most interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much - and for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Ha ha - I did a double take when I read the words 'Mackinac Island' and wondered at first whether you were talking about some place in Japan with the same name. Then you sealed it with the reference to fudge. Mackinac Island is one of my favourite places in the USA, not for the fudge, but because it is just so different from anywhere else on the planet - a bit like Japan really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the confusion - it was the first place/food association that came to mind! And Japan really is different,isn't it? Would love to go back! Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  5. Hi Jill - Great photos! I had always wondered where this Giant Buddha statue was, i've seen so many pictures of it. I haven't been to Japan yet, but Kamakura is now on the list of places to visit!

    -Vicki
    www.maketimetoseetheworld.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Vicki! And I highly recommend Japan - it's different than anyplace else I've been. Hope you make it someday!

      Delete
  6. Beautiful, the gardens look very relaxing. Thank you for sharing the photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rhonda! And thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  7. Such a lovely day trip from Tokyo for you and your kids. I wonder what the octopus crackers tasted like? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder too! It's one of those travel regrets I have - but it was a time constraint thing. As we say in our family - next time!

      Delete
  8. That is one huge Buddha! I bet you can see it everywhere.
    This is the second post about Japan that I'm reading today. I've worked at a Japanese company for years but had no interest in visiting. Now I really want to go and each time I read a post, I imagine myself there. A co-worker who's there now texted me when she arrived saying how polite everyone is and how orderly everything is. I thought of that when I saw your bowing construction statue. My Japanese teacher reminds us each class about respect and deference. Thanks for the tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting! And your co-worker is right - orderly and polite are two great adjectives for Japan. Hope you get to visit soon!

      Delete
  9. Japan is so fun...like your chocolate experience! I love Kamakura, too. So pretty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so fun and I've only seen the tip of the iceberg. Can't wait to go back and see more and I would definitely return to Kamakura! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  10. i love reading about trips to smaller towns and quieter destinations in Japan. they appeal much more than Tokyo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me also but I am glad I was able to experience both. Thanks for visiting!

      Delete