Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Kamakura

About one hour's train ride south of Tokyo is the town of Kamakura. It's a very beautiful place and it was nice to see the countryside. It's a place definitely worth visiting as there are 65 temples, 19 shrines and the Daibutsu(Great Buddha), which is a huge bronze statue of the Buddha.

I arrived around one o'clock and the first thing I did was rent a bicycle, as I love cycling and this would give me the best opportunity to explore as quickly as possible. The man who I rented the bicycle off was very helpful, as he gave me a map and marked out a route that could be covered in the available time I had. Travelling around Kamakura is very easy as everything is signposted.

The first thing I went to see was the Great Buddha. The statue was cast in 1253 A.D. by the sculptors Ono-Goroemon and Tanji-Hisatomo at the request of Minamoto Yoritomo. In 1498 a tidal wave(tsunami) destroyed the wooden temple that surrounded the Buddha, leaving the statue exposed to the elements. The statue is 13.35 metres tall and weighs an impressive 121 tonnes.

I also got to go inside the statue as well(20 yen) and I took some photographs of the huge sandals made for the Buddha. You can check out all of the photographs
here.

After this I cycled to a shrine dedicated to the goddess Zeniari Benten. To enter the shrine you pass through a cave into clearing surrounded by cliffs which is very beautiful. Here, people come to wash their money in the hope that it will triple in value. I didn't do it this time(I was worried about getting my money wet !) but maybe next time. You can check out the photographs
here.

After this, I climbed the nearby hill to Genjiyama-koen, which is a very beautiful park. Here I saw the statue of Minamoto Yoritomo, who became the first permanent shogun and effective ruler of Japan in 1185. Seven years later he established his military government (which was known as the Bakufa) in Kamakura. Check out the photographs
here.

After visiting these places time was very short, so I only had enough time to check out a couple of temples and shrines. You can see the photographs
here.

Kamakura is very beautiful and I'll definitely be going back as I've barely explored it so far.

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