Combine three trails into an epic day-long hike around the city
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
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
Home of the biggest bell in Kamakura.
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
Japanese gardens don't tend themselves. A temple gardener works on the grass of the garden at Engaku-ji.
Engaku-ji's main gate with the sun beating down on it. Engaku-ji is number two of Kamakura's five great Zen temples. It's located right beside Kita-Kamakura Station, which makes it the number one temple for convenience.
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.
At the back of Kencho-ji's vast grounds, a hill rises up, topped by Kencho-ji's shrine, the Hansobo. Sprinkled over the hill is a collection of karasu-tengu (crow tengu), a kami (god)/yokai (supernatural being) combination creature. Most tengu in Japan, nowadays at least, are depicted as having exceptionally long noses, though the older style have more … Continue reading Kencho-ji Tengu
The Kencho-ji temple complex is huge–it just keeps going and going. As you make your way towards the hills at the back, you'll pass by this rather stunning door.