Monday, March 15, 2010

Zen Temples in Kamakura

On Sunday we were hanging around in our motel room just hanging out until it was time to get ready for church. Tom opened the drapes and it was an absolutely beautiful day outside. The sun was shining, the wind was not blowing, it was the most beautiful day that had happened since we had arrived in Japan. Since weather here is kind of like in Washington, we're never sure exactly what we're going to get, we decided to rebel. We decided to use the day to go sight-seeing. Not far from us is a cool town called Kamakura. Kamakura is a town with a lot of cool things to see. There are a lot of temples, shrines, and statues.

We discovered the train line that would take us directly there (we had never used this particularly train station before....didn't even know it was there). We also discovered a water side park along the way we also had never noticed even though it was pretty close to our motel. It was actually a beautiful walk just to get to the train station. For this trip we actually thought enough in advance to bring a sandwich and a granola bar with us to eat as lunch so we wouldn't have to buy anything. So, we went on our short train ride. Tom had gotten a walking tour of a lot of the sights online. Right after we got off the train there was a map of the city (which we have actually gotten pretty good at deciphering). So, we were able to verify exactly where we were heading.

We went to two different Zen Temples and walked through a space with a shrine. We didn't actually see much of the shrine, but we still enjoyed the walk through the garden that it sits in. For some reason there were tons of people there. It was like it was a city fair that we didn't know about. While we were walking through the park area, I was even able to see a tree that had bloomed into cherry blossoms. All the other trees in the area were naked, but for some reason this one had bloomed. There was also a path down the middle of the main street that is tree lined. It will be absolutely beautiful when the trees bloom there also.

The Zen temples were really cool! Tom and I both loved them! The only Japanese temple I've ever been to was in Hawaii (does that count). This was much different. These temples have been around for a very long time. Both of the temples were still active temples too, so certain parts of the temple are inaccessible because they are being used. Both sites had multiple buildings and displays in them. The first one even had a hike of steps to climb in order to see a "National Treasure", which was an old bell. It about killed me. Yet somehow some of the older Japanese men and women seemed to have no problem at all. Yes, I am that much of a wimp. It was also funny because at the 2nd Zen Temple there was also an old bell there that was a national treasure but without the hike. There was also a cool lake with some animals. For a while I was sure the animals were made of stone, but then they would suddenly move. Very good at acting like statues.

After the temples and shrines we walked through what I'm assuming was down-town Kamakura. There were a lot of cute shops and an ice-cream shop that had sweet potato ice-cream. The thought of sweet potato ice-cream was not that exciting for me though. Although I think I want to try it before we leave. We'll see what it is like, I'll let you know. By the time the day was over my feet were so tired. It's three days later and my legs and feet have finally stopped hurting.


Kerri said...

Hey, so I have a good friend that is on the Military Base there. I have no idea how all the bases work or how many people there are, but her name is Linsey Schauer, if you ever run into her. There's probably like dozens of bases and thousands of people with virtually no way of you guys ever meeting, but just wanted to throw it out there in case!

Miriam said...

sweet potato ice cream? That would even make me hesitate!!

Tara said...

If it makes mom hesitate over ice cream...that is saying something. Good excuse to rebel.

Leslie & Chris said...

How pretty are your pictures!!