There's a temple in Kamakura nicknamed "The Hydrangea Temple." Ever since I heard about it last summer, it's been on my MUST DO list for this June. June is hydrangea season in Japan and this particular temple is known for it's hydrangea display. I did some research online and found out that on the weekends there can be a wait of up to two hours, so we picked a weekday and headed south.
When we got off the train at Kita-Kamakura, we soon realized that almost every other person on the train had the same destination that we did. Luckily, we got right into the temple but it was still crowded.
The road leading to the temple's entrance was lined with hydrangea bushes. It was a great background for some photos!
Me, Mrs. Bag-O, Mrs. S. Mrs. D
Mrs. D. and her adorable daughter
The entrance to the temple
A small building near the entrance
I've never seen hydrangeas like these before
The temple is known for this beautiful pale blue colored hydrangea
Japanese Garden ... if you look closely you can see the lines raked into the rocks
The main temple
The temple also had a bamboo forest!
Hydrangeas + Bamboo
A Japanese bike outside the gate to a home
We took the train one stop south, to Kamakura, and had lunch at a place that Mrs. Bag-O had heard about. Bowls Don Buri. Like most places in Japan, they had a set lunch menu which came with more than enough food.
A column of bowls inside the restaurant
After lunch, we parted ways with Mrs. D. and Mrs. S. Mrs. D. had to get home to pick up her son from the bus stop (he goes to Japanese school and they don't have summer break like we do!) and Mrs. S. had a hair appointment with our favorite stylist in Zama. Mrs. Bag-O and I continued sight-seeing for the afternoon. Our first stop was the largest and most important shrine in Kamakura - Hachimangu Shrine.
A map of all the sight-seeing spots in Kamakura ... it would take days to see everything! This was my fourth trip to Kamakura and I still haven't seen half of it!
From the top of the steps of the main shrine looking back towards Kamakura Station
Apparently, I did not take any close up pictures of Hachimangu Shrine. Whoops. From there, we continued on. We walked about a mile east to a shrine known for its Bamboo Garden.
The entrance to Hokokuji Bamboo Temple
The temple had beautiful grounds. They were very quiet and peaceful.
After we paid our entrance fee into the Bamboo Garden, the woman who sold us the tickets insisted on taking our picture. We were quite the spectacle - we caused a backup in the line and people exiting the garden stopped and stared at us.
But at least we got a good picture!
The Bamboo Garden
The main temple building
Another building on the temple grounds
And then we headed back into Kamakura, intending to take a cab, but we never found one. Lucky for us, there was the cutest little Italian cafe on our route back. We stopped for a rest and some gelato.
And then we finally made it back to the train station, where we rewarded ourselves with a latte and a package of dove cookies. We have no idea what the significance of these cookies are, but EVERYONE in Kamakura had the signature yellow bag with the white dove on it. They clearly knew something we didn't, so off we went to purchase the coveted cookies.
How cute is this little package?
My very special dove cookie!