Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Tomoko-san, a lovely lady that Hana met travelling, who has fast become one of our friends! After hearing that I would have about two weeks off work on my own, out of the kindness of her heart, she invited me out to take a day trip somewhere. We decided to go to Kita-Kamakura (北鎌倉), as I had already been to Kamakura (鎌倉) once.
We meet at Kita-Kamakura station at 11am and after grabbing a map, headed off to the first of many temples (what the area is known for).
The first temple we went to was Tokei-ji (東慶寺), which was was founded in 1285 and was historically known for being a place where women could seek refuge from their husbands. The grounds were spectacular, so beautifully taken care of, and throughout the year it a spot where various native plants bloom. Also, the grounds also encompassed the tombs of many famous poets, novelists and historical figures. It was such a lovely quiet and calm place to be.
The beautiful grounds and the sprouting of Sakura!
Selfie with Tomoko-san!
Next we went to Kencho-ji (建長寺), one of the larger temples in the area. This temple is the oldest Zen training monastery in all of Japan, constructed in 1253.
Look at that artwork on the ceiling!(It was commissioned to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the temple)
The temple grounds are pretty extensive – they include a beautiful garden with a pond and shrine a short hike up a hill.
Look at those leaves!
The hike up was through the trees winding up a small mountain amongst the trees and secluded little shrines. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking – of the sea and the temples below.
We met a lovely older man hiking up to the lookout point and he described the way back down to the area near the station where we were heading for lunch. Tomoko-san so thoughtfully looked up a vegetarian friendly place for lunch and as it was heading towards 2pm, we were hoping we could still make it. And boy, was lunch worth it!
Look at this delicious vegan lunch set!
As the sun was setting fast and most of the shrines and temples were closing soon, we looked up one last place to head to before heading back home. Our last stop was Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine (銭洗弁天), a popular shrine in which people wash their money in the spring there (zeniarai means “coin washing”) in the hopes that their money will ‘double’.
Here’s hoping the coin washing works!
Tomoko-san and I then stopped off for a nice cup of hot chocolate and a bit of a chat before hopping on the train home. It was such a lovely day – the weather (though cold) was sunny and crisp, the company was so warm and adorable and the scenery and atmosphere was just out of this world. Kamakura is indeed one of my favourite places I have been to in Japan.