22 September 2018

Kamakura: Kyoto of the East

Located in the Kanagawa Prefecture just south of Tokyo, Kamakura is also a must-see if you have time to spare to go outside of the capital. The city is abundant in Buddhist and Shinto temples, which is why some people hail it as the "Kyoto of the East".  One can very well spend an entire day exploring the city; however, we decided to limit ourselves to covering a few tourist spots in half-a-day. Read up on how we spent our time in Kamakura below the cut!

From Tokyo, we took the JR Yokosuka Line train to Kamakura. From there, one can already take the Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) to visit many of Kamakura's attractions. However, it was already lunchtime when we got there, so we decided to find some place to eat at first.

From the train station, we walked towards Komachi-dori, Kamakura's famous shopping street. Definitely a lot of interesting things there-- but for us who were hoping to eat some authentic Japanese food, it was kind of a stretch. After some walking, we tried checking out some of the side streets. Basing only on the pictures posted outside of the restaurant, we took our chance with Kamakura Misui.

As it turns out, there were a good mix of locals and tourists inside the establishment. For us, this was a good indication. They had an extensive menu, which came with photos and English labels. My companions ordered katsu set meals, while I decided to be a bit more daring and got an unagi (eel) rice bowl meal. As serendipity had it, we enjoyed our meals. We then made our way back to the main street and had some heavenly Cremia soft-serve ice cream for dessert. (Just a note: be careful with eating while walking on the streets! We witnessed a crow swoop down and steal a snack right from someone's hand. The victim was definitely shocked, and so was everyone who saw what happened.)

Once we were filled, we took the Enoden to Hase station to visit Hase-dera, also known as the Hase-Kannon Temple. The Buddhist temple is housed on the hills, providing an overlooking view of Kamakura.

After exploring Hase-dera's vast complex, we then went to what may be considered as the city's mos iconic sight: the Daibutsu (Great Buddha). It is only a walking distance from Hase-dera. The bronze statue is not entirely ginormous, but it is still over 10 meters tall. While the entrance to the complex itself is free, you can go inside the Buddha for a small fee. However, you can might as well skip it unless you are curious as to the engineering of the structure.

It was a short but sweet visit to Kamakura, followed by a tour of Yokohama, where we ended the day trip outside of Tokyo. Definitely, there's still a lot that you can do in Tokyo and its neighboring cities. 'Til next time, yes?

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