The Kamakura Daibutsu or the Great Buddha is the main reason foreign people visit Kamakura. But like other great places, there is a lot more to see. When my friend from Manila visited us last mid-April, we went for a day trip in Kamakura. One day is not enough to see all the beautiful things the place and its nearby areas can offer. However, one day would also suffice to visit its major spots.
Tthe three of us boarded the Tozai Line from Nishi-Kasai going to Nihombashi. Then we had a short walk going to Tokyo Station. From Tokyo Station, it is about an hour to reach Kamakura Station via Yokosuka Line. Surprisingly, it was not as crowded as what we have expected when we reached Kamakura.
The Peonies at Hachimangu Shrine
We first went to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine since it is just a few minutes away from the station. Walking along Komachi Dori was fun as always. So many nice things to see from different small shops. But since we are on a bit tight schedule, my friend and I did not have the luxury to check out stuff. When we reached the shrine, I was amazed by the sakura trees lined up in front of the Torii gate. When we last visited, they were still constructing the island opposite Hachimangu. Now, it looked like it has been there for a long time.
We did not want to go along the crowd so we first visited the inner gardens of the shrine. During our visit, we were lucky to be just in time for the Peony exhibition. Unlike the main shrine, we needed to pay a small amount to enter. Inside, big peonies of different shades are in full bloom. The white umbrellas that serve as their protection added vibrancy to the whole place.
The lake which is surrounded by Sakura trees was filled with light pink petals. And because of the season, there were also ladies walking in their beautiful kimonos.
After mesmerizing with the beauty of the inner garden, we spent some minutes at the main shrine then went back to the station.
Kamakura Daibutsu and Hasedera
Our next stop is Hase via Enoden Line. Outside the station are small stores which are a combination of Hawaiian and Japanese vintage. Walking along the narrow sidewalks is entertaining due to these stores. We first went to Kotoku-in Temple to see the Great Buddha (Daibutsu). The Kamakura Daibutsu is an outdoor bronze Amida Buddha statue and is considered as one of the most famous icons of Japan. It is approximately 13.35 meters tall and weighs 93 tons. It is hollow inside and with a small fee, visitors can enter and walk inside the Great Buddha.
Inside the temple, visitors can try some Japanese tea prepared and served in traditional manner. There is also a small area with lots of trees for those who want to rest and enjoy the view. Since we did not want to do either of them, we decided to go to our next destination – Hasedera.
Hasedera is maybe 10-15 minutes walk from Kotoku-in. It could be shorter if you would be strong enough not to stop and look inside some small shops. Compared to the Great Buddha, Hasedera is famous for its eleven-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. There were several small ponds that welcome the visitors. It is located along an uphill slope which requires a little hiking. On top is the main hall, a museum, a small restaurant, and a viewing deck facing the coast.
It was around 3:00 in the afternoon when we finished touring around the compounds of Hasedera. Hence, we decided to take the tram going to Enoshima. It is an offshore island at the far end of Shonan Coast. Similar to Hasedera, the street just outside the station has a Hawaiian vibe with surf boards and other beach stuff. Although my husband and I have been there last summer, we were able to discover new things.
Instead of taking the escalators, we decided to walk our way and around the island. This gave us a great chance to enjoy our surroundings while walking.
On our way back, we took the Shonan Monorail going to Ofuna. And from there, we went back to Tokyo via Tokaido Line. Overall it was a day full of walking, some hiking, and a lot of exploring!