Thursday, June 14, 2012


Before J. left, we tried to squeeze in as much sight-seeing as possible.  One afternoon, he was done working early so we hopped on the train and headed down to Kamakura to see the Big Buddha.  It takes about an hour on the train to get to this coastal city located on Sagami Bay.

We took the train to Kamakura and got onto the local train line - the Enoshima Electric Railway.  It runs right along Sagami Bay for part of the ride and the beautiful scenery made the time pass quickly!  

We didn't have much time, since most things close around 5:00 p.m., so we chose to visit the Hasedera Temple and the Big Buddha in this visit. 

Hasedera Temple is best known for its statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.  That statue has eleven heads - each face has a different expression, signifying that the deity listens to the wishes of all types of people.  The statue stands 30.1 feet tall and is considered to be one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan.

Entrance to Hasedera Temple

A beautiful Japanese garden right inside the entrance

Kannon-do Hall which houses the statue of Hase Kannon - sadly, you can't take pictures inside the temple so I don't have a picture of the statue for you.

Looking over Kamakura for the lower Observation Platform

Kamakura + Sagami Bay

A statue on the grounds

The Kyozo Sutra Archive - inside are rotating bookracks (rinzo) which house the important Buddhist sutras for the temple.  It is said that by turning the rinzo, you can earn the same merit as from reading all the sutras.  You can turn the rinzo on the 18th of every month as well as the New Year holiday.  We did not make it on the 18th, so I will definitely have to go back!

Another view of the Kyozo Sutra Archive.  The building was absolutely beautiful and was my favorite on the temple grounds.

The view of Kamakura + Sagami Bay from the top of the hill

A view of Kannon-do Hall through the trees

Jizo Statutes - there are thousands of these small statues surrounding Jizo-do Hall.  The statues are said to help the souls of dead children to reach paradise.

The entrance to Benten-do Cave

Looking into the cave

Small statues inside the cave

And then we were off to the Kamakura Daibutsu (The Big Buddha)

It was a mere 200 m up the road!

Entrance to Big Buddha

The Buddha

The Buddha used to be housed in a large temple building, but the building was destroyed several times by typhoons and tidal waves.  Since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open air.  

J + Me

We passed several gelato stores on our way back to the train ...

Notice the fun flavors

I had kiwi sorbet and cherry blossom gelato

It was the perfect way to end our afternoon.

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