In the post below awaits a tale that is quite a hoot!
This is the video of our day. I recommend watching it first and then reading the blog post after. Here is the video:
Once upon a time three fair ladies met in Kamakura. One had not been to Japan in a very long time. For the sake of the story we will call the ladies, M, L, and C.
This tale happens on a chilly day full of grey clouds when the cherry blossoms were nearly 50 % in bloom. L and C were running a bit late, so M took a quick stroll in the late morning through Wakayama Oji, a recently opened attraction:
Afterwards she rushed back to the clock tower near Kamakura station just as L and C arrived. Their first priority: lunch!
While on the prowl down Komachi Street, they found a lovely Izekaya underneath Kamakura’s Owl Cafe. After they finished their meal –M ate a sausage and cheese pizza because health be darned! — they headed up to this:
Cute is an understatement to what awaited them. Bewitching, that works better. Adorable?
At the entrance there is a list describing how they care for the owls. The tethers are removed at night so they can fly freely. Here is a link on proper owl care:
The owls all looked in very good condition with healthy feather coats (you can see for yourself in the video). One owl did puff up and look distressed, but other than that one they all looked very calm.
For some reason there were two squirrels — named Aloe and Loca — in a cage. M swore you could power a city with those two (watching them in the video might tire you). They had endless energy.
Next, they head for a walk down the recently-reopened Wakayama Oji, enjoying the cherry blossoms. It ended at Tsukuragaoka Shrine where they took a right to Hokokuji Temple. For more on the south east side of Kamakura you can check out this video .
In the bamboo garden there was a wedding party where a professional photographer was taking photos of the bride and groom — both dressed in traditional Shinto wedding garb. They were beautiful.
The tea was peaceful and relaxing. They were given two little cherry-blossom-shaped sugar treats.
Then L and C, made a request of M. “Can you take us to Shakadou Kiridoshi?”
“Oh?” M said.
They had seen her Facebook pictures it seemed. Never one to turn down a request, she agreed to show them the way to the *secret* eighth pass of Kamakura. And thus their life of crime began.
Since a storm a few years back, the pass has been closed. It is considered too unstable and many signs warn, “Danger! Rock fall!”
Along the way, they pass by a house with a very disturbing display of stuffed toys all in the window, covering it up. M hoped it was meant to be cute (coz it wasn’t). Not sure what they were going for.
When they got to the grassy, forest path leading up that way, M became anxious at the sight of a local man blocking the way. He sat in a lawn chair, beer in one hand, enjoying the view of a sakura tree in full bloom. She worried he’d tell them to go back.
As they started toward the pass, the elderly man asked in Japan, “Are you going to the Pass?”
“Y-yes,” she answered nervously, adding, “We only want to look.”
With a curious look, he took a sip of his beer before he said, “Well, then, be careful!”
They were on their way to see this:
Once they had passed the warning signs and the fences (cut through by locals with wire cutters), they arrived to Shakado Kiridoshi. A pass carved long ago by the people of Kamakura. As evidenced by the gaping holes in the fences, the locals did not care for it being blocked off.
There were a few Yamagura (artificial caves that house graves) in the rock walls. It held a sweeping grandeur and is a lovely sight.
Eventually, they made their way back to Komachi street and found the delightful Lon Cafe. You might have heard about it. It started on Enoshima Island which you can hear about in this video.
It serves a variety of waffles and sweets. They had to wait for about fifteen minutes for seating, but it was worth every bite. By the time they left, the sun had set. They parted at the train station.
However, their memories of that day remain as sweet. If you want to experience a bite of their day, then check out the video.
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One thing I really like about Kamakura is the flexibility of the area. I’ve taken several friends there and it’s easy to adjust where we go based on their tastes. Each adventure has been different. There is another video I took with Where Next Japan and the experience is very different.
I suppose I like customizable places.