Kamikura, Hase, and The Great Buddha
On 4/23/10 which is yesterday for me but could very well be today for you, we visited Kamikura, Hase, and The Great Buddha. My first real expedition in Japan and it was fantastic, mainly because it didn't rain!
Kamikura was the first stop. You walk through the town and down the middle of the street is a walkway with beautiful flowers (the traffic is on each side of this). You follow this path to the main shrine. This place housed an ancient Gingko tree (now mainly just a stump) that was the site of a family murder that ended a dynasty in which this place was the capital city. While here we were able to see several weddings taking place (the final phase of the weddings, parts of the weddings are completely private and only the bride, groom, and the person performing the ceremony are present).
There were little street vendors along the way to the shrine in Kamikura, most of them selling some kind of candy, and several selling candied fruit. I tried the candied grapes (it was nasty, way too sweet!). Of course there was a stand selling some kind of hotdog dish. They love hotdogs here!
Next up we walked back to the Kamikura train station and went to Hase, home to several shrines and The Great Buddha. The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) is massive and I don't think my pictures quite captured that. We were able to pay 20 Yen and enter the Buddha (not very interesting and I hope to not have bad Juju as a result!) Walking back down from Daibutsu we stopped at another shrine, there were various parts to it and an uphill trek that took you to a lookout point with a great view of the beach. One portion of the shrine was dedicated to women who had lost children, there were thousands of small statutes to represent this.
The trains are pretty confusing, millions of different lines, sometimes the train will have 10 cars and at one point in the trip three will break off and go one direction and the rest of the train will o another so you have to make sure you are on the right car, etc. Very confusing!