Samurai Walking

Samurai like to take in the sights and sounds of Kamakura, too. These two are part of a tour guide/PR group called Iza. They take groups of tourists around town, all dressed up in old-school gear, and give them a rundown of the history of Kamakura. We've bumped into a group of them in the … Continue reading Samurai Walking

When Discomfort Threatens to Overpower Culture

A few weeks ago, some pretty major news dropped: the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (they make maps) proposed a set of changes to its tourist maps. The goal is clarity–some of the current symbols are a bit confusing for those who have just arrived. For example, "H" stands for "hotel"–not "hospital" or "helipad", while an … Continue reading When Discomfort Threatens to Overpower Culture

Medieval Tombs

Kamakura is riddled with small caves carved into the soft rock. These caves are tombs, built in medieval times. According to Wikipedia, Kamakura has anywhere from 1500 to 5000 yagura cut into its hills. It is assumed that many have yet to be found. The yagura pictured is Kamakura's largest, located at Meigetsu-in in Kita-Kamakura.

Photo of the Day: The Gate at Jufuku-ji

Heading towards Kita-Kamakura from Kamakura Station, following the Yokosuka Line tracks out the west side of the station, are quite a few small shrines and temples that are somewhat off the beaten track. One of the bigger temples is Jufuku-ji. Now, you can't actually enter the temple area, but it's a nice, short walk up … Continue reading Photo of the Day: The Gate at Jufuku-ji

Photo of the Day: A Bit of History

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes—a brief seven years after becoming shogun (military ruler of Japan), Yoritomo Minamoto's reign ended. Yoritomo, first shogun of the Minamoto clan, router of myriad armies, the man who brought in a dual system of government (all-powerful shogun and symbol-only emperor) that lasted until the Meiji Restoration in 1868—700 years … Continue reading Photo of the Day: A Bit of History

Kamakura History

Lately, I've been trying to untangle the history of the Minamoto family and Kamakura Period-era Kamakura in my head. What with all the names and changing loyalties, it can be mind-boggling to get straight who was who, who was with or against whom, and what on earth was going on. There is a wonderful book … Continue reading Kamakura History