Japan 2019, Part Two

Staying at Hakone

A view of Lake Hakone

During my recent visit to Japan, I had the chance to visit Lake Hakone and Kamakura (in Kanagawa). The scenery in Lake Hakone was magnificent. I am not sure I have seen this much green before as in lake Hakone (me and Rey from Star Wars).

 Even though there was a lot of fog and the weather was gloomy the scenery was stunning. The red temples that popped up in the Lake or among the trees were in full harmony with the landscape. Unfortunately, we just stayed by the lake and we didn’t have the chance to take the rope cable or have a tour around the lake. However, this is one of the places I would visit again.

Kamakura

I was also enchanted by Kamakura. Very useful information regarding a visit to Kamakura can be found in the online Japan guide (https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2166.html). Since we had only one day to spend in Kamakura we followed the guide that recommended the top 5 things to do in Kamakura and we didn’t regret it. We started our visit to Kamakura from the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine

We walked there from Kamakura station passing through several gates along the way. The temple stands on a terrace at the top of a wide stairway, while close by there is a small lake with koi fish and turtles. From the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine, we walked to the Hokokuji Temple. It took us less than 20 minutes to get there and we were very impressed by the bamboo forest that lies behind the temple’s main hall. 

The bamboo forest that lies behind the  Hokokuji Temple.

Also behind the temple are located a series of shallow caves that are believed to hold the ashes of some of the later Ashikaga lords. 

From the Hokokuji Temple, we took a bus back to Kamakura station where we switched to a different bus that took us to the Great Buddha statue. The size of the statue is impressive and as it pops up behind the trees it takes you by surprise. You can also enter inside the statue, however, there is nothing special in there.

From the Great Buddha statue, we walked to the Kamakura beach. The sand was hard, dark-colored with algae, some small rocks, and beautiful seashells. In the ocean, there were high waves and people were surfing. The sea breeze was welcome after a hot and humid day. Ending up on the beach was the perfect ending of a wonderful day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to follow one of the hiking trails. Maybe next time!

Kamakura beach (photo courtesy of Polyzois)

My impression of Japan, formed by my very limited experience, is that it is a country of contrasts; on the one hand, huge cities, seemingly cold and unfriendly and on the other hand, the countryside , enchanting, welcoming and relaxing.

I feel very fortunate to have experienced both these aspects of this amazing country.

Kathy

Traveling mostly for work nowadays, I fondly remember the time when we would randomly decide where we'd go next.

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