Monday 4 January 2016

Kamakura - Komachi-dori and Sugimoto-dera / Temple (part 2)

This is part 2 of a recent trip down south to Kamakura.  You can find part 1 here.

Finishing our sausages we made our way to the end of Komachi-dori made a left turn and walked over to the famous Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

We did not go in, however, as this is being saved for another trip down to Kamakura.  We kept on walking.

One of the beautiful things about Kamakura is that dotted around the town you can still see some lovely old houses.

I've heard some people referring to buildings like these as Japan's ghetto.  I totally disagree, I think they are lovely, rustic examples of Japan's architectural past.

We continued on towards our next destination, a temple that I had been wanting to visit for quite a while now.  Suddenly, looking around, we had entered a part of the town with a totally different feel to it.

We had warped straight into Little Europe with French bakeries, Italian restaurants and German smallgoods shops!  A very nice, and unexpected surprise!

Walking on we ran into a friend of mine, Faye, who I knew would be visiting Kamakura with her friends that day, but bumping into each other was a surprise.  She asked where I was heading to and when I told her she told me that they had already been past there and that it was closed!  I was pretty disappointed as I had been looking forward to visiting this Temple for a long time!  They did, however, give us another place to visit as a recommendation, so, changing our plans, we set off in the direction of our new destination, Sugimoto-dera.

Sugimoto-dera was the first Buddhist Temple established in Kamakura, way back in 734 AD.  Enshrined in the Temple are 3 statues of the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon.  The Temple has the nickname Geba Kannon (or Dismount Kannon) as people travelling through the area always dismounted from their horses as a sign of respect.  Another version also states that people who did not dismount were thrown from their horses!  In 1189 there was a fire in the Temple and the statues were in great danger until the Temple Monk jumped into the fire and rescued the statues.  He then lay them down under a nearby cedar tree.  It is from this incident that the Temple gets it's name which means "Under the Cedar Tree".

We arrived at the steps of the Temple and made our way to the ticket box to buy a ticket to get in (only 200 yen).

Next up were the 2 Nio, or Guardians of the Temple.

The bottom one has his mouth open in an "a" sound while the upper one has his mouth closed uttering the "um" sound.  A-um in Japanese symbolises the birth and death of all things.

Just beyond the Nio and the Temple gate lay the original steps leading up to the Temple.

Uneven and covered in moss, these steps are no longer used to approach the Temple, I could imagine someone slipping up and falling all the way to the bottom!

Looking to the right I saw a little alcove and wandered in for a closer look.

A lovely little secluded area in which I imagine the Temple Monks go to to have their Zen moments.

Reaching the top we arrived at the Temple proper, and it was a majestic structure.

Signs of autumn lingering could still be found with some beautiful colour to the trees.

Can you see my little furry friend in the third picture.......?

Making our way back down the steps, we headed back to the main area of Kamakura to a Chinese restaurant that Jarrett and Angela had been to previously and I sat down to a delicious plate of chinjao rosu (strips of pork, capsicum and bamboo shoots all cooked in a delicious soy sauce, pepper and ginger based sauce)

with this guy on the wall watching over us.

Finishing our food we made our way back to the station to come back to Tokyo.  It had been a nice little day trip and it had only made me eager to come back again and explore more of the beauty of Kamakura.

That's it for this post.  Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading the last 2 posts.  Please subscribe on the toolbar on the right side of the screen to receive updates when I put up another post.  Thanks, as always, for reading and see you next time!

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