The last week 2 of my best friends from Germany were visiting me. They stayed at my Apartment for 1 week. This morning they took the first Train to Haneda Airport. They were 1 month in Japan: 1 week in Tôkyô (but slept in hostels and at some couchsurfer homes), 1 week in Kyoto and 1 week traveling in Osaka, Hiroshima, Beppu. And finally 1 week Tôkyô again. While being the first Tôkyô week just in Tôkyô itself, this last week, they made some trips outside Tôkyôs, like Nikko and the Fuji Area.
On Monday (2014/04/14) I made a day trip with them to Kamakura. The weather was nice for running around a lot – not too hot, but also not too cold, a bit cloudy but the most important: it didn’t rain! (^__~)
We took the JR Line from Shinjuku because both of them had the JR Free Pass. The Train at 10:15 was going directly to Kamakura. But be carefull! Most of Trains will not go there from Shinjuku, so you have to take another one from Yokohama or Ofuna. I think it costed about 920Yen one way.
The first thing we’d done, was going to the Tourist Information to get an english map of Kamakura. It’s directly after the Exit to the Bus Station. You can reach all important Sightseeing spots via bus, but we decided to walk.
From the Exit we saw our first Torii of Kamakura. It’s leading to a small shopping street with i.e. a shop with a lot of Merchandise of Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service, some Omiyage Stores (where I purchased a gift [white crunchy chocolate in form of doves – when I bought it, I thought it’s looking like bird poo XD] for my boyfriend, who couldn’t come with us because of work), Restaurants, old-fashioned Clothes Stores. We followed the street ’til the end and came out at the Hachimangû Temple with the little bridge, which in old times only the Shogun was allowed to get over. I didn’t saw any picture of the bridge before, so I was a little surprised how tiny it is (^ ^;) But it’s kinda nice. On our way back was a photoshoot of a cute couple, in traditional wedding Kimonos. (*^o^*)
(the bridge of the shogun)
The Temple was really beautiful and had a nice view over Kamakura. There is also a pond – with white doves! I’ve never seen a white one in the “wild nature“. So I took many pictures of them, full of excitement. I had more photos of them then of the temple or the Daibutsu. XD
After that we were heading to the ocean. There is a big street going all the way down to it. At both sides there were a lot of shops – again. But because we already stopped before to eat some Strawberry Dangos with Red Bean Paste (so delicious!), we did stop only once, getting money from an ATM. While waiting for my friends, I ate about 3 little bites of my Melon Pan [I will come back to it later].
Exhausted (even it was cloudy, the sun is really strong in Japan and if you are walking through half of Kamakura, you’ll get sweaty and tired soon) we came to the ocean.
Coming all from a little town near the sea, we were happy to see the ocean in Japan. Especially me, being most of the time in the middle of Tôkyô with huge skyscraper and only a tiny bit of nature. I just love the sound of the waves, showing off the strength of the ocean. I was even more excited when I saw that the birds, flying in the sky, were not only raves but also Black Kites.
(one of the rare shots which didn’t went blurry or cut of half of the bird)
I love animals (not all, but many ;D ). And predators are so cool! I LOVE tigers, lions, eagles and and and… They are so majestic! (* o *) So being able seeing so many Black Kites flying free and graceful in the sky, I was all happy. Sadly it was so difficult getting pictures of them and the video function of my camera are just frustrating me.
(playing in the ocean)
To get into a better mood again, I took my shoes and socks off and run into the refreshing water. Taking pictures, looking for shells and enjoying the cold wet on my overheated foots. So fun 😀 Being a bit tired from playing, I went back to my friends, who were sitting on a big stone. While chatting happily about the things what we already saw in Kamakura, I ate a bit of my Melon Pan
(now the most exciting part of the story starts!). Suddenly one of the Black Kites was flying right in front of us. I thought he wanted to have the strong-smelling seaweed-ricecrackers of my friend, but missed it or decided crackers are not meat and so not eatable. But I was wrong. The next one or maybe the same one – hard to tell, ’cause we were still a bit shocked from the first one, and even not, how to tell the birds apart? – flew like a bullet and came right to us. I only saw a brownish shadow and felt the end of the wing on my cheek. My first reaction was “wow, what was that about?”. The second one: “The bird stole my Melon Pan!!! (° O °;) ” I needed about 5 minutes to calm. It was just that big shock for me. After that I was scared like hell, that the birds would steal my mobile phone, my camera and so on out of my hand. (^ ^;) Since then, whenever I see a Black Kite like looking bird I call it thief and pointing at him. It’s kinda became a habit. But I still like them. They are even more cool. Before the bird came I didn’t hear anything. It’s like a ninja 😀 Normally you can hear the wings of birds clearly. I like it when raven are flying. Their wings make such a nice sound. And doves sounds kinda funny when they are flying (^__^)
I didn’t knew that Black Kites would steal things from humans. I thought they would only eat meat. Bu well, I didn’t know much about them. First I even thought that it was a Buzzard. For my boyfriend it was also the first time hearing this kind of things, but at least he could tell me, that it was a Black Kite, which is called “tonbi” in Japanese. I think it’s a cute name 😀 In English it sounds cool “Black Kite”. Bu in German it’s kind of lame… and long: “Schwarzer Milan” I also learned that in Japan the raven are not only looking through the garbage but also stealing food from people hands! 😮 In Germany it could happen to you with seagulls. ^^”
(entrance of the hase-dera)
Back to Kamakura:
After our little rest,we were walking down the beach in the direction of the Daibutsu. We went by the Hase Dera (Temple), but didn’t go inside, even it looked nice. But my friends already spent most of their money and didn’t want to pay the entrance fee. So we went straight to the Daibutsu, paid the 200Yen (or were it 300?) and headed in the area. I was a bit disappointed. The Daibutsu looks like… the Daibutsu. Having seen hundreds of pictures of him before, it was no big surprise. But I thought, the area in front of him would be bigger.But maybe that’s just me. Still I took a lot of photos of the Budda Statue, went inside it (20Yen for that – nothing special, after a minute I wanted to go out as soon as possible, because it was so cramped and the air so bad, but interesting. Was nice to see of it was constructed), and in the little garden behind it. But I was happy being out of it, because there were just too many people. Even it wasn’t weekend nor holiday or sakura time, there were so many of them! Mostly Chinese. I’m sorry, that it might sound a bit racist, but I just don’t like (most of) the Chinese people. They just don’t have any manners. The are loud, jumping in photos, bodychecking other tourist, to be in the nr. 1 spot. But there were also many schoolkids on a class travel. In Japan the new school term starts in April and at that time, they do some field trips to get to know the new classmates. Nice idea. But not so nice for us tourists 😉
After that we took the Daibutsu North Hiking Way to get back to the Station. It’s about 2km and takes about 1 -2 hours. It’s a really nice Hikingway and I recommend it to everyone. BUT you should be prepared for maaaany stairs. Except for 1 little bowl cornflakes in the morning, some Dango and a few bites of Melon Pan I didn’t eat anything that day it was already about 3 o’clock and I became really really hungry. And thirsty. I emptied my bottle Green Tea at the beach and was kinda too cheap to spend my money at a vending machine drink. Walking through the woods I hated me for that. At almost the path I bought a drink and the next vending machine I saw (^ ^;)
Because we still had a bit time (and it was free) we went to the Zeniarai-benten. Also a recommendation of me. You get to it through a little path under the hill and be welcomed by some wooden Torii. There was not only the main cave, where you could wash your money so it will double, there was also a little pond with many (jumping) Kois and a little waterfall. Many things to see in a small place. 🙂
(entrance of the Zeniarai-benten)
(money washing cave)
After that we went back to the little shopping street behind the station, getting the omiyage for my boyfriend and some food. I ate once again the Strawberry Dango and some Dango with Matcha Creme. Again really tasty ;D
Coming home, I couldn’t wait to go under shower and falling into bed.
That was my nice little Daytrip to Kamakura. But there are so many temple left for a second one. 😀
Be careful when you see some Black Kites!
(view from Hiking Way)
(random schoolgirl with a cute black-white cat)
(view over Kamakura from the hachimangû)
(sakura – near the daibutsu)