Kamakura Field Trip

(Updated: July 5, 2013 with high resolution photos)

On March 19, 2006, we went on a field trip to Kamakura.

This field trip was organized by the schools foreign students support association which is run by volunteers (mostly old people). We only had to pay 300 yen and we got complementary lunch and round trip train tickets to Kamakura (former capital of Japan and now town with lots of temples south of Tokyo, about 1 hour I think).

The Great Buddha:

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha that is located on the grounds of the Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second largest Buddha statue in Japan (the largest is located in the Todaiji Temple in Nara).

The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were washed away by a tsunami tidal wave in the end of the 15th century, and since then the Buddha stands in the open air.



Hase Temple:

Hase Temple is a temple of the Jodo sect, that is most famous for its statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The statue shows Kannon with eleven heads, each representing a characteristic of the goddess. The 9.18 meter tall, gilded wooden statue is regarded as the largest wooden sculpture in Japan, and can be viewed in the temple's main building.









The view of Kamakura from the hill from Hase Temple:




Next to the temple garden and the pond stands the Bentendo, a small hall that contains a figure of Benten (or Benzaiten), a goddess of feminine beauty and wealth. Sculptures of Benten and other minor gods can be found in a small cave (Bentenkutsu) next to the Bentendo.




Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is Kamakura's most important shrine. It was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063, and enlarged and moved to its current site in 1180 by Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura government.

The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the patron god of the Minamoto family and of the samurai in general. The deified spirits of the ancient Emperor Ojin who has been identified with Hachiman, Empress Jingu and Emperor Chuai are enshrined in the main buildings of the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Its located at the end of the main shopping street in Kamakura.


Zeniarai Benten Shrine:

Zeniarai Benten Shrine is a popular shrine in western Kamakura, where people flock in order to wash their money (zeniarai means "coin washing"). It is said that money washed in the shrine's spring, will double.

This shrine is located in the middle of residential areas and required lots of walking to get there. And you enter the shrine through a cave. The shrine was built in the center of the hill/mountain.

Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura government, ordered the shrine's construction after a god appeared in his dream and recommended him to build the shrine in order to bring peace to the country. Because the dream occurred on the day of the snake, in the month of the snake of the year of the snake, the shrine was later also dedicated to Benten, a Buddhist goddess associated with snakes.



Interesting to see the "Zelda symbol" here. Nintendo ripped off the temple's logo?!







After this temple, the official field trip ended and we could do whatever we liked, some people went home. We choose to walk to the island of Enoshima.

Mt. Fuji from the Beaches of Kamakura:

There were lots of people surfing at this beach. I guess this is the only place to surf and escape the endless grey of Tokyo.


Mt. Fuji and the island of Enoshima:


Enoshima is an island connected to the mainland by a causeway. It seems like some kind of resort island. We were walking around in the dark around the temples on the hill, eventually we walked up the hill to the Enoshima Lighthouse/Observatory. The winds where so strong and cold at the top!


Once again, we saw the "Zelda symbol" at a temple entrance. This one looks like a loot bag from the game!


There were spectacular views of the ocean from the top of the lighthouse but it was so windy that it was impossible to take good pictures.

After that we went back home. We stopped at TGI Fridays at a suburban train station in Machida because we had to change to rapid trains or else it would have taken us 2-3 hours to get back on local train. Note: Never eat at TGI Fridays in Japan, service slow, food portions small, "Service Charge" added to the bill, at least we jacked the Heinz Ketchup bottle and Mustard.....hehe


kinkinsoba said...

Wow, such a long post, but I guess it'll make up for the lack of updates. Seems like a really great deal for just 300 yen, I wish I could go myself. I can't believe you took the ketchup and mustard from a TGI Fridays. That's just hilarious. Take a picture of it. :P

Anonymous said...

Impressive, it must be a great trip with lots of sight-seeing. Out of curiosity, where did you get all the information from the places you visited? you sound more like a tour guide than a visitor to me, lol