Onward to Adventure!

Ohayo! Genki? Boku wa to Brendan san genki dayo, demo chotto nemui!

Its been a while! But we are still around, and still having fun! There have been more birthdays, goodbye parties and welcoming dos happening – not to mention work! But we still find time for the REAL awesome stuff here!

A while ago I went to Kamakura, and I meant to post about it ages ago but it kept slipping my mind but I finally got around to it today! I had been looking forward to this place for a couple years now and it was truly amazing! Especially since being in Tokyo we mainly see the odd temple or shrine buried in the decaying skeleton that is the greater Tokyo area, having such a spiritual area nearby is refreshing!

Onto business anyway! A friend offered to be my cultural guide, and since she had never been there either we both were really psyched! Its about an hour away from the centre of Tokyo, and it was a work day – so i had to be up SUPER early which didnt sit too well at first – but I got over it!

So, Kamakura! A seaside city surrounded by mountains. A natural fortress! In the 1300s this was the high seat of the Minamoto shogun (Im channeling wikipedia!) and its easy to see why – its a warren of steep hills, walls and impassable forests. Now of course its a big tourist attraction, with some of the most magnificent shrines and temples on the east side of Honshu -> and I got to go there!

First, Kotoku – in! This is a buddhist temple of the Pure Land Sect, and home of the Daibutsu (great buddha statue) of Amida Buddha! It used to be inside a large wooden temple but a tsunami sometime in the 15th century washed it away, magically leaving the Daibutsu intact!

Look! Thats about 10 metres away.

This one below is blurry but Im in it at least! (Being all Japanese too!)

This thing is amazing to see, its MASSIVE at about 13 metres tall on a great stone plinth! U can apparently go inside but we had no idea at the time. Also, hanging on a wall nearby are massive bronze slippers which I assume belong to him!

Next is Kencho – ji, the largest Zen buddhism training ground in Japan! It has 10 subtemples within the grounds, one of which contains a giant painting of a dragon on the ceiling, and sprinkled around are several beautiful japanese gardens!

With me is my partner in crime Madoka who was super psyched to see this place too!

Wow giant dragon desu ne!

Nearby is Tokei-ji which was known as a refuge for abused women (if they stayed for 3 years they were considered divorced!). Unfortunately I have no photos but its a tiny building surrounded by idyllic pathways and stone lanterns – lovely!

Engaku – ji! Another Zen temple complex with some amazing wooden carvings, as well as some of the first blooming cherry blossom trees Id seen (nice!).

Below is me being very touristy =/. But the wood carvings there are amazing, and check out the sakura on the left <3.

Close up!

It also contains armories, mainly kyudo (japanese archery) and yabusame (see below) gear, but also some amazing samurai armour is on display!

Lastly is the Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine! This shrine complex has some beautifully cared for buildings, not to mention its the home of the Yabusame festival which was on while we were there! Hachiman, god of all warriors, resides here and judges the skill of the archers (they are bloody good too!).

This is looking upstairs to the main shrine!

 

This one is looking downstairs (I had to steal it =( but it gives an idea of the size of this place!)

And of course, yabusame!!!! These guys are awesome, but I only have this lamewad photo. The crowd was immense, so we had to leave and circle around the shrine walls, and hop the fence along the side to get a good view!

And that was my Kamakura trip! Great fun and anyone travelling to Tokyo should make the effort to go here! This weekend we will be going to Nikko! Similar in some ways to Kamakura but much larger! Also since its the rainy season there should be heaps of ajisai (special japanese flower) which is on my photo taking list!

Thats all then, I`ll leave u with a nice pic of the first ever squirrel Ive seen! They jump a lot!

Teeny guy huh? Seeya in a few days with Nikko stuff 😉

Anata wa daisuki dayo!!

Ja ne,

Gio

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July 12, 2007. Uncategorized. 3 comments.