Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Budda, Beaches and Big Temples

Well rather than try and tackle another hiking trail Etsuko and I decided to inject a good dose of culture and history into our bodies. The method of such injection would be a place called Kamakura. It is about one hour from my place and has been likened to Kyoto which is the big daddy of temples/shrines etc. We arrived in Kamakura at about 10am and hit the first temple we came across.

It was rather nice. Very well kept grounds and although I doubt that the temple was ‘original’ it still conveyed a pleasant atmosphere. The name of this temple is Kencho-ji. You will note there is a photo below of a very large bell. I bet you would need a huge dong to ring it, and of course something sizable to hit it with too. The Bell is apparently a national treasure of Japan. Along with myself.

Following that we discovered a walkway to a view above the temple. Some pretty spectacular views from here, and for the first time since arriving in Japan I saw the real ocean (rather than the Port). Ultimately I am glad that we climbed something like 500 steps to see this view.

Then it was on to another famous temple Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. I am not exactly sure why it is the most famous, although it was the most big! Etsuko let 20 New Zealand cents rip into the prayer collection. I am not sure if her prayers will be answered in New Zealand currency or whether Budda has access to online currency conversion?

We then decided to have some lunch. Of course being one of the four top tourist destinations in Japan the food shops literally had us by the throat. So we settled for the Japanese equivalent of Cobb & Co. called Watami. Very nice, and we were now empowered to see ‘the big Budda’. This was actually pretty cool. It was bronzed in 1252 and is not a ‘recreation’. This is the fair dinkum real McCoy. It used to be inside a temple but a rather large Tsunami smashed it. Luckily the fat boy survived. He isn’t actually that fat, in fact he is full of air, I know this because I went inside him. As you can imagine the photos of the inside of a dark place are not that impressive and therefore I haven’t published them here.

After this we hit the beach in time for the sunset. The wind was rather chilling but it was nice to get down to the beach. Like all trips to popular touristy places you end up taking pictures of everything, I walked away having taken like 100 photos. Tomorrow I wont remember which temple was which but at least I can say I’ve been there! I think I don’t need to see another temple until at least January 1 2005. When I am planning on going to Osaka and Kyoto.


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