Today has been a spiritual day – a day to feed the soul! I am not a particularly “spiritual” person, preferring to believe that one’s destiny lies in one’s own hands rather than at the behest of some higher authority, however today I visited the town of Kamakura – about 20 minutes on the train from Yokohama station.
There is a beach at Kamakura – and yes, I did walk along it. Much better than Brighton beach I must say. for a start, it actually has sand!! Seriously, I was extremely lucky. It has been a hot clear day and perfect for a day beside the sea. The water was still a little cool.
However the main motivation for visiting Kamakura, rather than another big city like Tokyo, is that it is a place full of shrines and temples, so I did as the prior of the monastery asks at the entrance to the Great Buddha and entered all the places with suitable decorum and reverence.
The first temple I visited – Jufukuji Temple – is Number 3 of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples. Especially important for me as it is here that the person who made tea fashionable in Japan is said to have lived. I love the teas in Japan!!! So many beautiful teas to drink; I have drunk little coffee here. I found this a tranquil place – extremely good for meditation etc. Possibly this is because the hordes of school children had not arrived by the time I was there. they inhabited the rest of Kamakura in throngs with their supervisory teachers looking extremely harassed trying to gather their charges around them.
The Hachimangu temple is the most important shrine in Kamakura. surrounded by stone walkways and a carefully cultivated “bush” area, I found this a little more commercialized. My visit there was enlivened (or otherwise) by a man who had obviously found the steps too much and was looking very much unconscious when I went past …..DOWN the steps!! There was a small shrine down the bottom of the steps that seemed to attract more reverence than the large shrine at the top, which was probably too full of tourists to be a place of reverence.
I also went of course to see the Great Buddha – the largest Buddha in Japan. this was at the other end of Kamakura – a fair walk in the heat of the late morning. However it was certainly worth seeing . Before anybody makes any rude comments the person standing in front is NOT the Great Buddha! That honour belongs to the statue behind!! I took a photo of four japanese tourists, who with many “arigato” (thanks in Japanese for those – like me – who may not have known) then offered to take a picture of me there 🙂 the real one is below
Finally to cool off, I walked down to the beach. I had left my hat at the hotel. I was a little worried about the effects of the sun on my reflecting pate. I did my usual emergency treatment of putting sun lotion (SP50!!) through my hair covering hopefully my head with some protection. It seems to have worked. I did attract a little attention in the main street of Kamakura rubbing this stuff on my hair… 🙂
I even managed to get in a little souvenir hunting, though you will have to visit me in NZ to see what I bought for myself. Suffice it to say that they are quite small, fragile and quite heavy – so they will have to come back in my laptop bag, that nobody has ever asked me about yet on a flight…
Tomorrow it is back to a very long day, though possibly on Thursday I may go up to Asakura (in Tokyo), as I finish early that afternoon. I think it might be more spiritually uplifting than going to see a baseball game just along the road here in Yokohama. Still we shall see how things go in the next two days before deciding that
At the moment I am sufficiently spiritually uplifted .