We had quite the international group. None of us shared a country and only two of shared a common language. Our merry band set out for Kamakura, aka Tokyo’s Little Kyoto.
I was the Texan (US American *clears throat*). The other four were the Australian, the Brazilian, the German, and the Japanese respectively. Somehow we understood each other’s jokes even though at times the others took a moment to translate it.
The Brazilian (Natalia) was the easy going one with the quick laugh and who was the heart of the group. The German was the punctual and exacting one who was our de-facto taskmaster that kept us on schedule. The Japanese just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere and maintain harmony in the group. I was the tour guide who got us lost twice. The Australian was fun.
After meeting outside Kamakura station at 11 am, the Japanese took us to this amazing Omurice restaurant near the station for lunch. OMG. Best. Omurice. Ever.
Seriously, it was so good. Just look at the picture.
When the Australian arrived, we headed to Hachimangu Shrine.
Unfortunately, fall is just beginning to arrive and many of the trees had not yet changed color. Probably in about two more weeks or so Kamakura is going to be stunning. Absolutely stunning.
We hiked to Kenochi Temple and began the climb up into the Ten’en Hiking Course.
I had not realized how much the Super Typhoon damaged Kamakura until I saw this. Those trees were stripped off by the typhoon. There used to be a wooden viewing deck up there. It’s gone. Ripped off by mother nature.
I’ve stood on that deck several times. I was stunned to see it gone.
The view of the ocean was impressive.
There is a lot of smooth rock on the trail. I really like this feature even if it’s rather slippery.
Eerie. The Jizo statues on the Ten’en are beheaded. Centuries ago there was a rabid anti-Buddhist movement that did this.
Unfortunately, I made a mistake on one of the paths and lead us off trail too soon. We either would have to double back or just go somewhere else. Since the leaves weren’t that impressive yet, we decided to head to Hokokuji Temple for green tea and to enjoy the bamboo.
To my shock, the typhoon had damaged the bamboo forest there as well. They also had cordoned off places due to the overwhelming popularity of the temple on weekends.
It seems like every time I find a cool place in Japan, it gets on lists within a couple months and then gets too many people and isn’t as great anymore.
We arrived just in time for the last serving of tea.
Our seats were here.
It was stressful in the beginning because it was packed for the last serving. The German got in a bit of trouble with the staff over a minor seating dispute, but things were eventually settled.
Natalia managed to calm her down and then she had fun here. We relaxed with our tea and sugar candy.
The view from our seats. Relaxing, right?
Afterwards, we rushed to the train station and tried to reach Kotokuin Temple for the Big Buddha, but it was closed. (It apparently closes earlier in the winter). Once again I had failed as a tour guide.
Instead we strolled down to the beach and, when passing this shop, bought these rainbow treats that were warm, soft, and oh so good!
Finally, we made it to the beach. It was chilly by this point.
Natalia, being the most playful of our group, would get close to the water’s edge and run out of the surf. We egged her on and she almost got wet once, but managed to spring out of reach before the water reached her shoes.
All in all it was quite fun.
I should have taken a picture of it, but my train went the opposite of theirs. We faced each other on opposite platforms and they kept making faces at me or making group shapes. Hilarious. When I boarded, they all waved one final goodbye to me through the train windows as I headed home for the night.