Monday, June 8, 2009

The Historical Town of Kamakura

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In my first weekend in Japan, I signed up for a Kamakura Day Tour organized by the Kanagawa Systematized Goodwill Guides or KSGG (Thanks guys!). Honestly, I did not know anything about Kamakura at that time, but since the tour is free and most of my friends were going, I joined.

Kamakura is known for its temples and beaches. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed is that it is a quiet little town. Had it not been for the temples, you would definitely not feel that this town was once a political capital of Japan.

During the tour, our whole group was divided into small groups of 6-7. There were 4 Indonesians and 2 Filipinos (including me) in our group and our guide was Yamazaki-san. Yamazaki-san showed us around the major attractions in Kamakura.

First, we went to the Hachiman-gu Shrine. Hachiman-gu is the largest Shinto shrine in Kamakura. Actually shinto shrines are kinda rare in Kamakura since most temples here are Buddhist. Before arriving to this shrine, we walked through a sakura tree-lined path marked with 3-4 torii gates. Yamazaki-san said this path is especially beautiful in spring when sakuras are in full bloom.

Hachiman-gu (taken Dec 16, 2007)

Then, we had our lunch in an udon house. Yummmmm. They say that eating udon regularly can lighten up your complexion (hmmmm not sure about that though haha).

Udon - our lunch yummmm (taken Dec 16, 2007)

After lunch we visited Hasedera Temple, which offers a great view of the beach.

Tomb inside Hasedera Temple (taken Dec 16, 2007)

Our last stop was the Great Buddha - the second largest Buddha statue in Japan next to that of Nara's. This Buddha is actually hollow, and guests can go in and have a look.

Great Buddha (taken Dec 16, 2007)

Before finally ending the trip, KSGG prepared some trivia games for us, and I won in one of them! Yey! Guess what my prize was? a VCD about Japanese food. I think they can sense my love for food! haha. KSGG also gave us hand-made souveniers. Thank you KSGG!

All in all, I felt that the day trip to Kamakura is a nice way to welcome us foreigners into Japan. Kamakura may not be the most beautiful historical town in Japan (nothing can beat Kyoto in my opinion :D) but it has its charm and the beach is a plus. If you live in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, and want to experience the old Japan but do not want to travel far, then go to Kamakura.

Access: JR Yokosuka Line Kamakura Station (20-30 minutes away from Yokohama, around 1 hour away from Tokyo)

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  1. I have always wanted to travel to Japan and China, they are so beautiful and mysterious looking. So much wonderful history and beautiful places.

    Kamakura looks gorgeous and the shrines would be great to visit. Kind of sad but wonderful. This must have been fun for you or at least very interesting.

    You took wonderful photographs!

  2. @Tricia thanks! it was really a fun experience. I am glad I was able to visit Kamakura :D you must visit it sometime :D