We decided to use the last day of our JR rail pass to visit Kamakura (please click the links throughout this blog post to read more about the city). One of the difficulties with visiting Kamakura for just one day is deciding what to see. Of course, we wanted to see the Great Buddha, but I had read online that you can pick up an English language free map at Kamakura station that has details of a hiking route that visits several temples, so we decided to do that.
We set out thinking that we would visit the Great Buddha first but the map showed an interesting Inari Jinja nearby, so we headed towards that. The route took us through a suburb with some rather nice houses, all individual builds (as is quite usual in Japan).
Sasuke Inari Jinja features many fox statues, as the fox is the messenger of the Inari kami (Shinto spirit), the god of rice, agriculture, industry and many other things.
Inari jinja are characterised by the avenues of torii gates leading up to the shrine.
Some of the torii were quite old.
There were many stone foxes alongside the steps leading to the shrine.
Above the shrine, there was a rather precarious scramble up to the hiking route.
I'm glad we were only going up and not down!
The route was quite uneven, with lots of tree roots to navigate and we needed to take care with every step.
There were several signposts along the route.
Fatsia Japonica growing wild in the forest.
We were rewarded with some stunning views across Kamakura towards the sea.
We spotted a sign for a tea room just off the route.
Right in the middle of the forest, there were terraces where we sat out and had cheesecake and apple pie, plus a beer to keep us going. The weather was like Spring.
We reached the Kotoku-in temple by mid afternoon, where the Great Buddha is located.
You can go inside the statue, where the construction method is even more impressive.
On our way back to the station, we spotted a close relative of our Micra Mystique, although the paint was a little different.
Kamakura has some really attractive buildings.
There are also some interesting shops, although many were closed - we were visiting midweek, out of season and late in the afternoon by now. I'd love to come back for a proper stay.
We were reminded many times of the low level in the city and the threat of tsunami.
It was my first visit to Kamakura, having missed out on the Yuza Board of Education's office trip in 1991, so I want to go again and see much more of it.