Kamakura & Enoshima, November 2012

It’s time to continue telling about things I experienced when I lived in Japan! On November 14, 2012 I went with my school on a school trip to Kamakura and Enoshima. We went there by bus – 6 or 8 buses were needed to fit us all. Kamakura is some distance from Tokyo, so we didn’t arrive until 9:30 am. It was a lovely day! So lovely that I removed my jacket around noon and was okay wearing just two layers of thin tops. I enjoyed the perfect temperature (imagine early Swedish autumn, sunny and still rather warm, even though the wind can be chilly) while many of my classmates were freezing…

Our first stop was the beach in Kamakura. We enjoyed the views, chatted with friends and teachers, took photos… Then we continued to the shrines. There are many famous shrines in Kamakura, but we visited two. First we visited Kotoku-in which is famous for the Giant Buddha. Just inside the entrance to the shrine there was a beautiful garden. Then we walked up to the Buddha. We took some photos around it and then some of us went inside it as well.

The Giant Buddha was built in the year 1252. It’s made of bronze and represents Amida Buddha. At the beginning it was placed inside a wooden building, but the building was destroyed by a tsunami at the end of the 15th century. Since then the statue has stood outside. The statue is 13.35 meters high including the base (11.3 meters without the base) and weighs 121 tonnes (source: the website of the shrine). Behind the Buddha there is another garden. There is also a secondary shrine called Kangetsudo Hall.

Then we continued to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine, which is the most important shrine in Kamakura. It was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in the year 1063 and was moved to its current location by Minamoto Yoritomo in the year 1180. The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the patron god of the Minamoto family and of samurai in general.

The shrine is located on top of a long stair. Beneath the stairs there is a stage for dancing, music and noh performances. There is also a smaller secondary shrine on the right hand side of the stairs. Inside the main shrine is a small museum.

At the entrance of the shrine are two ponds. One has three islands and represents the Minamoto Clan, the other has four islands and represents the Taira Clan, who were the arch enemies of the Minamoto Clan.

I liked visiting Japanese shrines. They are often so beautiful, and there is a special kind of tranquility at those places, even if they are located in the middle of a big, hectic city. These two shrines are very famous, and I’m happy I got the chance to visit them.

Before we continued on our trip, we were allowed to stroll a famous shopping street for a while. Then we went to the island Enoshima just outside of Kamakura. There are many things to see on Enoshima as well, but at this time both me and my friend were tired of walking around a lot. So we stayed down by the sea, slowly strolled among the souvenir shops and only ventured a short distance up the mountain on the island. But I decided that I would go back to Enoshima a second time, to explore the rest of the island. It was so beautiful!

Finally, here are some photos I took during the day.


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