This is my 3rd post of today, crazy eh? Before I go to Kyoto, I gotta finish writing
this series about my trip to Kamakura on Sunday (April’s Fools Day). Because I had many interesting things happened to me that I absolutely have to document this unforgettable experience. Okay, maybe I’m too dramatic… but you get the point. Be ware- only read if you have time to spare, because I babble a lot…. as usual.
Although Kamakura has been on my To-go-list… I didn’t plan to visit until my supervisor suggested me going before my Kyoto trip. Why? Because it’s somwhat just a mini-Kyoto, except closer to Yokosuka (just 20 mins away). Also there are some good hiking trails, leading to several shrines… and along the way, there are some ancient tombs. If you wanna know more about Kamakura, just WIKI it. All I can say is, every couple blocks you walk, you are very likely to bump into a shrine or temple. It is also a popular tourist spot, so it’s best to go in early morning to avoid the crowds.
Due to the stormy weather on Saturday, I stayed home that day and went to bed at 6pm. I woke up at 5am on Sunday and arrived at Kamakura JR station at around 7am.
There’s East and West exit, I got out of the East exit both times (you will see why)… So I don’t know much about what’s on the west side. But the East side is pretty much what people are after anyway.
Besides me, there was also an elderly man doing his morning exercise routine… When he saw me, he greeted with an Ohayogozaimasu. I greeted him back and continued taking my photos. He then started asking me a question in Japanese. I apologized and told him I could only speak English.
That’s when he switched “channel” all of a sudden and spoke with me in English. I was a little bit surprised at first (just as my colleagues when I told them this, we didn’t expect a Japanese senior to speak fluent English)… but was glad to have somebody to chat with. He asked me where I was from, I told him and we had a brief conversation before he had to take leave. Before he took the stairs down.. he asked me where I was gonna head to next. I told him I would go to the west side of Kamakura- Daibutsu and Hase-Dera. He glanced and his watch, but at the end said he had to go. We said goodbye and I stayed there for a little longer before going back down.
So by that time I was done with Hachimagu, and remember that muddy pond and beautiful garden? I was going to head there next. I walked slowly… and oh, I saw the old man(his name is T-san) again, at a cross section outside the garden. We said Hi again, then he suggested to show me around the garden. Apparently, he came here so often (every weekend) that he had a year-pass. He spoke to the ticket collector and got me in for free. 😀
Before leaving the garden, T-san brought me over to the gift shop and asked me which year I was born. After I told him, he pointed at a bunch of the Year of “Horse” keychains, and asked me to pick one! I knew he would pay for it, so I declined it. But he insisted and at the end bought me one as souvenir. After thanking him, I was about to say goodbye to him (since he said he was busy before)… But then he said he would like to show me around the town! So we began walking- since many shrines/temples are at walking distance.
OK, I don’t really remember all the shrines that we visited… but here are some photos. He would explain the history of them to me. Apparently, T-san has lived in Kamakura for 66 years (since birth), yet he still visit temples/shrines in the area as often as he can (weekends, but Sunday afternoon he has to work at home). He said they were very spiritual… At his age, he has very good health and could walk a lot. I mean, really a lot… we visited no less than 6 or 7 temples/shrines… He even had a “step counter” on his cell phone which he showed me later on.
Haha, every shrine that we went to, we would put in some coins and bowed/made wishes. After a few, T-san told me there’s no need for me to.. Yet he still did, I wonder how much he has “donated” over the years…People generally recommend putting 5 yens, because 5 yen in Japanese sounds the same as ご縁… which means relationship/fate.
After Kamkura-gu, we decided to head to western Kamaura, where Dai-butsu and Hase-Dare were.. (the places I planned to go initially). Walking would roughly take 30 mins. But I guess T-san really didn’t have much time? He suggested we take Taxi because the next bus wouldn’t come until 20 mins. OK, I never thought I would take Taxi in Japan. I thought, S**T, the starting price was 980 yen… and the traffic was very congested. So what would normally be a 5 min drive became 15 mins. O_O T-san didn’t seem to be bothered at all and he was chatting ecstatically with the Taxi driver. The final amount came to be 2000 yen… half of the cost of my one way trip to Kyoto! Again, T-san paid for it, though I was “fighting” to pay the driver first.
There were many buddha statues and the view was so nice. There were gardens, caves, etc. Hase-Dera also houses the largest wooden statue in Japan- a Kannon 観音.
OK, this post is getting really long… so I will break it up.