If you step out of the east exit of Kamakura, you’ll see a big red torii gate to your left. That’s the start point of Komachidori. Komachidori is a fun strip of small shops with all sorts of items which are good for souvenir. There is so much to see. Komachidori runs parallel to a main street called Wakamiya Oji. It is famous for the cherry blossom trees and I would love to see their cherry blossoms during the season. Komachidori is kind of narrow and on weekends, it can get packed full of tourists. On a hot day step inside of a store to see some goods and also cool off and then continue with your shopping.
If you walk on Wakamiya Oji, you’ll get to the entrance of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. You can also get there from Komachidori and it might be more fun for some people to shop around on the way there. This is the most important shrine in the city of Kamakura. It was originally built in 1063 in a different location, but during the Kamakura Period, it was moved to the current location by the Kamakura shogunate, Minamoto no Yoritomo. This shrine has a 1000-year-old ginko tree which was uprooted in March of this year, 2010, by a storm. We saw the trunk which was replanted next to the original site. I wish I had seen the original ginko tree. The good news is that ratoons have sprouted out, so in who knows how many years, people might be able to see this great historical tree again.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is also famous for the lotus flowers. Lotus flowers bloom in summer, so we decided to head to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. After entering the shrine, passing a big torii gate, there are two ponds to your right and left. There is a meaning for this. If you are interested, click here to read some literature about the meaning of the ponds. I didn’t know that lotus actually grow quite tall. I thought that the flowers looked very graceful.
Random Wedding. I was excited to run into a wedding that was wide open to the public viewing just because of the location. It looked like a scene from a picture book.
There is a restaurant at the entrance of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. If it is too hot to stand outside to see the lotus, you can order some drinks, sit and enjoy them from the air conditioned place.
My sisters were all about going to Zeniarai Benten. Zeniarai means “washing money”. It is believed that if you wash your money in the water in the cave of this shrine, your money will multiply. Really…? Is it that easy? I’m Japanese and I must admit that part of me totally believes in that kind of superstition. Whatever. It doesn’t hurt. So, we got some money out, both US Dollar and Japanese Yen and washed the money (more like bathed the money) in the water. Hey, we wanted both to multiply, so why not in both currency? My sisters were washing some bills and fanning them out to dry them. Quite a scene. We had fun though. The only downside of this place is it’s quite far from the Kamakura Station. Because it was so hot on the day we went there and we were with our 5-year-old and 2-year-old, we ended up taking a taxi. We walked back to the station and it wasn’t too bad, but it would’ve been hard to walk to the Zeniarai Benten from Kamakura Station as it’s all uphill. Many people walked from the station and it takes about 30 minutes.
Finally I finished my Kamakura posts! I am so behind that it’s not even funny to me. I still have a couple of posts about Japan. We moved to Jakarta about a week ago and I have not even had a chance to write about it yet!! I’m happy and it’s exciting to be here. I haven’t taken much pictures since it’s been a bit overwhelming getting adjusted in a new environment and trying to absorb all the information, to be honest with you. I’m taking it easy. I do want to talk about our new life here in Jakarta, but it has to wait!! Please bear with me.