Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Trip to Kamakura

Away from The Bustle

Day 8

After so many days in a big big big City, it takes its toll. It seemed like a good day to make a trip to a small seaside village. The Village of Kamakura is a favorite day trip for people from Tokyo and Yokohama. They can go the the beach, hike Kamakura's mountain trails, or visit the various shrines (including its Great Buddha).

It is easy to get there just an hour by rail. It is just like riding anywhere else by subway, only longer.

Along the way it is easy to see the industrial impact Tokyo and Yokohama have had on their adjoining suburbs. Along the way there is really no place where dense urbanization stops. It is just one housing block, school, and/or industrial plant after another. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but It also seems like the industrial plants along the way are showing the first signs of post industrial decay. Signage was old, paint was peeling, staff parking lots were half full. It looks a lot like the US factory towns looked after our industrial jobs started to leave in the 70's and 80's to go (ironically) to Japan. Now the Japanese are clearly feeling the pinch of increasingly skilled, low cost labor in Korea, China, India, and Viet Nam.

OK back to my blog post....When we come to Kamakura and as you exit the train, time slips back thirty or forty years. The storefronts have an unmistakable feel that everything here is (kind of pleasantly) frozen in time.

We start our walk in the direction of the Great Buddha.

Along the way we came across this first sculpture. I'm not at all sure what the six figures symbolize, but I could not resist a photo. If anyone knows its symbolism please let me know.

Ready for Bar-B-Que?

As we walked further we heard the Beach Boys singing in one little shop. In the next Hawaiian crafts were showcased. Everywhere we went we found the strong link between Japan and Hawaii.

Further along we encountered this neat pot filled with water flowers. Mary pointed out to me it was also home to little tiny goldfish. Very neat idea.

Must Not be any Cats in This Neighborhood

Finally, a bit hot and pretty sweaty, we arrive at the Great Buddha sculpture / shrine. It is one of the two best examples of this type of Buddha in Japan. The Buddha has been here since the 1600's. It is cast bronze (go figure how they did that back then). It was made in layers over a ten year period and was orginally intended to be indoors but typhoons have twice destroyed its home.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura

While exploring the Buddha we found a little door on the side were anyone (not prone to claustrophobia) could enter and see it from the inside out. Mr. B and Miss M went inside and pronounced "not too bad".

There Was a Great Souvenir Shop Just Outside the Gates
(Mr. B in his new Rice Paddy Hat)

Walking back to the train station we passed a lot of small gardens with flowers in bloom and little florists with displays to die for.

Flowers Blooming Along the Way

A simple, but very enjoyable day.

Day 9 was spent on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto so no post. Day 10 's post will be from history rich Kyoto!

Roadboy's Travels © 2009

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