Thursday, May 8, 2014

Golden Week Trip: Kamakura

Last Saturday I went with some friends to Kamakura during Golden Week. I'm still not actually sure what Golden Week is, but I think it is just a bunch of national holidays (like emperor's birthdays and such) all bunched together in about a 2 week span. All I know is that I got school off, so I was happy! So, my friends and I decided to take some short day trips and get out of Tokyo for a while. Our first trip was to Kamakura! 

When we first got to Kamakura we decided to go check out the beach. I have never been to a beach in Japan, so I was pretty excited. When we got there though, I was a little disappointed. It was a bit chilly, gray, and dirty. Maybe that's just because I spent about a week in Thailand a few months ago and I was expecting white sand and teal water. However, we did find some cool shells and rocks, so the trip wasn't a total waste!

Our next stop was up to 長谷寺 (Hasedera Temple). Hasedera enshrines the eleven-headed Kannon. It houses a huge statue of this androgynous Bodhisattva. Sadly, you aren't allowed to take pictures of the statue, but I can assure you it was really cool!

After Hasedera, we went to see one of the main attractions of Kamakura, the 大仏 (Daibutsu)! The Daibutsu is a giant Buddha statue. It is probably one of the coolest things I have seen in Japan so far. You can actually go inside the statue, but we decided to pass on this trip. Since it was Golden Week all the lines were super long, so we decided that if we really wanted to we could go back to Kamakura another time when it was not so busy and go inside the statue. 

Finally, we decided to go on a little hike. There are a bunch of different hiking trails all around Kamakura so we decided to follow one and go see some of the other temples and shrines along the way. It turned out to actually be a really intense hike which involved a bit of rock climbing and about one million stairs. We had so much fun though, walking through the woods, humming the Game of Thrones theme song, and just generally annoying all the Japanese people trying to get away from the noise of the city. 

After our hike we made our way back home, completely exhausted from the exciting day. I definitely want to go back to Kamakura some time to see some of the other sites it has to offer. If anyone is in Japan/coming to Japan in the future, I would definitely recommend Kamakura as place to go!

P.S. the tea of the day is apple tea ^_^

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