Day 5 – 6/16/08 – Kamakura – A day of Shrines and Temples

04 - Hillside statue - 20080616

This would be our first day on our JR Rail Pass, which allows unlimited travel across Japan on the JR Rail. We decided to take this day “relatively” easy and go to Kamakura, which is about an hour by train from Tokyo. On the way there Shannon pointed out this HUGE statue on a hill, which is apparently quite common.

We decided to take this day kind of easy, so we could better plan the rest of the week, so we didn’t get to Kamakura till about 2pm or so. It seemed like all the walks were at least 15 minutes or so, so in order to maximize time we decided to rent bikes. The bike rental place was right next to the train station, so that was easy. We just had to get them back by 5 to get our deposit back. I didn’t really understand due to the language barrier, but the gist was: “We take this much now. You get the bikes back in time. You get x amount back.”

14 - Kamakura - Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine - 20080616Our first stop would be the Tsugurakoa Hachimangu Temple, which compared to other things we would see later on, was not all that impressive. I’m going to reiterate that almost all shrines and temples involve stairs. Lot’s of stairs. Recurring theme.

20 - Kamakura - Biking to the next shrine - 20080616

Then it was on to the next Enno-ji Temple. Unfortunately, this involved a quite steep bicycle ride uphill, which made me really uncomfortable due to the extremely narrow sidewalks. And it was steep. I actually had to get off my bike and walk it for awhile, since it was only a single speed. I really wanted to see this one though because the highlight of this one was the angry, non benevolent deity inside. And then, all the signs inside said “No video, no pictures”. I cheated a little bit, they didn’t say no pictures of the inside from outside, so Shannon acted as a decoy. Yet they have a big poster of it right outside of the shrine.

23 - Kamakura - Enno-ji Temple - 20080616

25 - Kamakura - Enno-ji Temple - 20080616

Then it was on to the Kenchoji Temple. The highlight of this temple was that it had a really nice garden.

41 - Kamakura - Kencho-ji Temple - 20080616

We hadn’t actually planned on seeing all of these shrines and temples, they just happened to be on the way to one of our planned destinations, the Engaku-ji Temple. We happened to get there just in time to see a Zen archery demonstration, which was pretty cool. After seeing some more nice gardens, we saw a sign to a “National Treasure”, which is a huge bell. We climbed another long set of stairs, and oops, wrong stairs. These led to what I believe was a graveyard. It was a really cool graveyard though. Back down the stairs, and finally found the correct stairs. 130 some steps to the top. Yup, it was a big bell. Whoop de do! NOT worth the climb, except for the view.

55 - Kamakura - Engaku-ji Temple - 20080616 68 - Kamakura - Engaku-ji Temple - 2008061678 - Kamakura - Engaku-ji Temple - 2008061682 - Kamakura - Engaku-ji Temple - 2008061684 - Kamakura - Engaku-ji Temple - 2008061685 - Kamakura - Engaku-ji Temple - 20080616

At this point it was about 4:45 and time to head back to town, as our bikes were due back by 5 and we wanted to get our deposit back. Luckily this bike ride would be downhill. We made it back about 4:59. Just in time 🙂

We still had one more sight to hit though. The Kotokuin Temple, also known as the Great Buddha. Basically a huge Bhudda statue. So, on to the local train for two stops, and then another walk to the temple. Unfortunately, about a hundred school children were on the same train as us on a field trip to the same destination. Really annoying, loud and obnoxious. (What are they doing there at 5 pm in the Summer? I guess school is year round in Japan.) After getting their picture taken at the Great Buddha, they left though, so we got to experience it in peace. It was big, but not as big as I had imagined.

96 - Kamakura - Kotokuin Temple (Great Buddha) - 20080616 101 - Kamakura - Kotokuin Temple (Great Buddha) - 20080616

Eventually, time to head back to the train station and head back to Tokyo, but not before stopping by a little stand and getting the BEST rice cracker EVER. Fresh off the grill. I didn’t think I’d like it, since I’m not a big fan of rice crackers, but Shannon got one. We started walking, and I took one bite, and decided I had to go back and get my own.

106 - Kamakura - Best rice cake ever - 20080616 107 - Kamakura - Best rice cake ever - 20080616

Full set of pictures are at:


~ by chriggy on July 11, 2008.

2 Responses to “Day 5 – 6/16/08 – Kamakura – A day of Shrines and Temples”

  1. They really, really need escalators. That transform into giant robots.

  2. No kidding

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