Japan: Trip to Kamakura Temples with our Superiors
June 24, 2012 (二十四日の六月）
My supervisors decided that they will take us out. The destination? Kamakura! More specifically towards: Tsurugaoka, Hase-kan-no Temple & Kotoku-in Temple. Yes. A bunch of temples.
My handy moleskin notes. In case we get lost I can pull this out and ask for directions to it.
When people ask you “Why do you want to go to Japan?” A decent answer, if you don’t want to tell them how obsess you are with anime, is to say “I want to see Japan’s temples.”
And so I will actually see those temples today because they are oh-so-beautiful.
First stop, the road to the Tsurugaoka temple. My supervisor said to take note of the road’s width. Why? It slowly slims down and converges to a small pathway.
The converging road. It gives the impression that it’s a long walk (much like the infinite in MIT). Also, it must have been a symbolic pathway for samurais.
At the end of the road? This gate.
I think this is where the “gate” character comes from 門(pronounced Mon). Looks like it right?
Here’s our first surprise. A Japanese wedding! Holy crap. They look wonderful! The guy looks quite old, but the lady looks very young. Ah. What money can get you.
Careful! Don’t trip! She’s wearing a $10,000 kimono. It’s really beautiful isn’t it?
The temple wasn’t very far, but all I can think of was how romantic it must be for these two couples. The center of attention in a such a historic and cultural location in Japan.
The walk to Tsurugaoka temple. They’ll get the wedding ceremony moments later.
So, upon reaching the temple, you must clean your body. Well, that’s a bit too much right? So instead, you get to wash your hands. Some people wash their mouths too.
Cleansing before the temple
Ah, but I suppose it’s a real wedding factory here. It happens around every 30 minutes. The blue guys in front are playing a Japanese tune with their flutes.
Fine. Cyan blue. There, happy? Also. Look at the elderly’s kimono. It has designs everywhere, and an elegant back!
And, look what you find at the top of the temple! I’ve been looking for these! How many high school animes have you seen that had these wooden blocks?
Wishes upon blocks. Wishes from “get into university” to “have many, many kids in the future.”
And of course, they also have fortune telling papers for 100円（$1.25)
Tie them up for good luck. I, on the other hand, kept it for translation.
And here it is… Do you remember in your anime watching, they throw money here, clap their hands and bow their heads?
No pictures allowed. But that doesn’t stop me from taking a candid one!
The temples are just… stunningly beautiful. I’ll definitely go back again, and maybe make love wishes on those blocks of wood. :D
Don’t tell me you don’t find that beautiful.
Trees… and a traditional short bridge.
Next stop, is Hase-kan-no temple… But the walk is just as interesting. How come?
The roads are so small that cars have to share it with people. It’s just like the Philippines right? Wrong! Drivers here actually watch out for people. :p
My supervisors thought it would be great to go to a crowded street. It’s incredibly popular for the cheap food on the sidewalk.
Dango! Yes… It’s super sticky rice coated with a sweet syrup.
And on the way to the temple, I just had to go to stop by the Totoro store. I thought I would buy something, but holy crap, everything is $20.00 and above.
Shop sign/s. Isn’t it cute?
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this tiny equipment featured in animes too.
Wouldn’t you want totoro blowing you on a summer day? (no. not that kind)
And they also have Spirited Away goodies.
Am I alone when I say I was pretty freaked out by this character?
Sadly, the Hase-kan-no temple was a 2.5 hour wait. It was famous for its hydrangea garden. But, It was already 3:00 and it closes at 5:00pm, so it’d be impossible to get in. So we went ahead to Kotoku-ni-Temple where the great, great buddah lies.
Behold! The 1200 ton Buddah! You can actually go inside its belly! It’s pretty warm inside. Fun fact from Alex: The neck had to be reinforced with Carbon fiber recently.
On the walk back, my supervisor wanted some flattened octopus… Flattened. really.
It tastes like it too. Think of a communion bread in catholic churches… or a very tiny piece of bread. Only this time, it has seafood, octopus flavor in it.
I also decided to buy one of those Japanese headbands. It says ひっしょう which means to Certainly Win!
Remember those anime characters who wear these headbands preparing for their final exams?
We also saw some PH-based flowers. I think these were the Hydrangea, but I cannot be sure. Still, they are beautiful
The Japanese girl at the background makes it pretty as well.
We also stopped by the beach nearby. But it’s ugly. None of it is picture worthy because apparently it’s not beach season yet in Japan.
Regardless, what’s a trip without a group picture?
Asian peace sign? Hell yes. It’s traditional and acceptable. Look at that kid on the left. He thinks it’s natural too.
Phew. Damn. It always takes an hour to do these kinda blogs.