A Guide to Kamakura’s Hydrangeas

This is an unofficial history, recounted to my husband by his kobudo teacher, who assures us that his memory is correct: ***** Once upon a time, some 40 or 50 years ago, the city of Kamakura had a problem: June — the rainy season in the area — saw tourist numbers plummet, and the much-needed … Continue reading A Guide to Kamakura’s Hydrangeas

Kannon-sama Pilgrimage: Jochi-ji and Tokei-ji

At the end of the Daibutsu-Kuzuharaoka hiking trail, in Kita-Kamakura, sits Jochi-ji, temple number 31 of the Kamakura Thirty-Three Kannon Pilgrimage. Not far down the road is Tokei-ji, temple number 32. In Japan, Thirty-Three Kannon pilgrimages are fairly common. According to Kamakura City's webpage on its Kannon-sama pilgrimage, the first Thirty-Three Kannon pilgrimage — the … Continue reading Kannon-sama Pilgrimage: Jochi-ji and Tokei-ji

か is for Kamakura 33 Kannon Pilgrimage

A great way to get to know Kamakura is to undertake the Kamakura 33 Kannon pilgrimage.

じ is for Jomyo-ji

At its peak, Jomyo-ji must have been incredible. That's not to say that it's not a beautiful spot now — it is, and very peaceful, too. But in 1386, it was comprised of seven buildings and 23 pagoda. Iso Mutsu writes that "in bygone days Jomyo-ji was one of the five most prominent temples of … Continue reading じ is for Jomyo-ji

Bon Odori Summer Festivals

  Japanese summers are pretty spectacular. They buzz (cicadas) and DON DON DON (taiko drums). They whistle and gong and chant (festivals). They're burning hot and impossibly humid. But if you let the music drifting from the festival grounds carry you along, not only will you make it to fall without melting into a puddle … Continue reading Bon Odori Summer Festivals

Hina Matsuri – What It’s All About

Hina Matsuri (the Doll Festival), AKA Momo-no-Sekku (the Peach Festival), AKA Girls' Day, is the day when Japanese families celebrate their daughters. I wrote about it a bit the other day in the Hina Matsuri Tsurushibina post, and I'll include the text at the bottom, too. These two dolls represent the emperor and empress at … Continue reading Hina Matsuri – What It’s All About

Hina Matsuri Tsurushibina

The Doll Festival (Hina Matsuri/Momo no Sekku/Girls' Day) is just around the corner (well, March 3), and families with daughters—and hotels like Hakone's Kowaki-en—are setting out their decorations. Families with daughters display a special set of dolls to bring happiness and health to their girls. The dolls represent the wedding procession of an emperor and … Continue reading Hina Matsuri Tsurushibina