A holiday pilgrimage

Yesterday was a holiday in Japan, and so Bruce had the day off. He planned an amazing trip to Kamakura, where we were able to see 5 different shrines/temples.

We took a train down to Ofuna, where we got on a monorail that took us down to Enoshima. The monorail was of the hanging kind, and at times it went crazy fast and was awesome. When we got to Enoshima we switched to an old school train that took us to Hase.





Our first stop was at the Kotoku-in Temple, which is the home of the Daibutsu (Giant Buddha). My grandpa visited this Buddha when he was stationed in Japan after the war, and he told my mom that she really needed to see it.

This is not the Daibutsu. It’s one of the guards of the temple.IMG_4524

Kamakura has over 100 temples and shrines.IMG_4525 IMG_4527

Here it is. It’s hard to miss.IMG_4529 IMG_4533 IMG_4537 IMG_4540

The things that look like wings on his back are windows; you can actually go inside the hollow statue. You used to be able to go up and look out the windows, but you can’t anymore.IMG_4550 IMG_4559 IMG_4564

Our cool shoes.IMG_4567

We took the Daibutsuzake Hiking Course to get to our next stop.IMG_4585 IMG_4593

The Sasuke Inari Shrine . This is actually outside the shrine, nestled in some trees. Inari is the god of rice, tea, sake, fertility, and general prosperity. The fox is his go-between, and so people make offerings to both Inari and the foxes.IMG_4594 IMG_4595 IMG_4600 IMG_4601

Part of the shrine itself.
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Our next stop was the Zeniari Benten Shrine, which was so interesting. To get there you go through a tunnel in the mountain.IMG_4642 IMG_4645

There is a cave in the shrine area with a spring inside. You can wash your coins in the spring, and they are supposed to then return to you when spent, and multiply.IMG_4662 IMG_4665

Paper cranes.IMG_4666 IMG_4668 IMG_4670 IMG_4676

We went through Genjiyama Park and saw this fine fellow. The girls posed with him, and garnered quite an audience. (You’ll see them in a minute, but my pictures are out of order and I don’t feel like fixing them.)IMG_4685

We saw spiders like this EVERYWHERE. They were about this actual size, and they had huge cool webs. We currently have one of these outside of our house.IMG_4688

These are the girls’ fans. They cheered and clapped as the girls posed. It was hilarious.IMG_4689

Then, inspired by the girls’ vigor, they posed themselves.

The hike out of the park was pretty awesome.

Our final stop was Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu temple in Kamakura. Just outside of it there was a couple who had just gotten married. (We also went to Shirahafa Shrine here, but I didn’t take pictures.)IMG_4716 IMG_4720 IMG_4733 IMG_4735 IMG_4740 IMG_4742

Time for a Tiny interlude.IMG_4746

A monk.IMG_4749 IMG_4751

Then we walked back to the station. And saw this tired cat.IMG_4761

And a Native American.IMG_4762

And this cool poster.IMG_4763

And this little bird.IMG_4767

Then we did it all backwards to get home- old style train to monorail to train. On the way back through Ofuna we got pictures of this lovely huge statue of Kannon. It’s at Muga sozan Ofuna Kannonji, and I want to go there if only to be awed by its massiveness.IMG_4790 IMG_4794All in all, we walked 8 miles. We left our house at 9am  and got back at 5:30pm. The girls did a fabulous job with all the walking, and it was so cool to be out at the temples with so many other people. (In Japan people tend to go to temples on holidays.) It was also really neat to see how different each of the temples and shrines were from each other, each had its own personality and feel. It was a pretty excellent trek.

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