Or so it seemed, one shrine following the next.
|Chrysanthemums on display in Kamakura. In the shape of Japan.|
A gorgeous morning, brisk but blue sky. We did something most tourists don’t know you can do: Take a free guided tour in Kamakura. And, you tailor it to be as active, long and diverse as you want. The local tourist agency has volunteers from the area who speak your language. Our host was Hideko, a retired woman, local, who offers English speaking day tours
|Music ceremony at Tsuruagoka, pretty much in the heart of the city.|
At this first temple, Tsuruagoka, Hideko told us how to get our fortune read. You pay 100 yen ($1), shake a box with sticks, shake one stick out a narrow hole, it has a number, the number corresponds with a box (in Japanese and English) and you receive your fortune from the box. These are sacred, must not be shared, and believe it or not, some actually have bad luck–in which case you have to pray for good luck. Ka-chng. I am going to break the sacred trust: Mine was Dai-Kichi, meaning not just good luck but excellent or best of luck. For my examinations: My confidence will be rewarded. For my health, I will have a slight illness but take good care. For my business I need to think over my business in a quiet manner. For my marriage: I will need to consult my parents for good relation. And for wish, I simply need to make efforts and it will come true naturally.
|Garden adornment at Enoji, the Judges of Hell|
|SS contemplates Kencho-Ji|
|Emma O about to spit out a peony. No pictures allowed at the Judges of Hell, so I had to cut this from the Net.|
|The emaciated Buddha in the front represents the Buddha’s hardship at Kencho-Ji|
|Tenmple at Kencho-Ji|
|Five Clawed Dragon on the temple ceiling. In Chinese mythology, a five clawed dragon represents Imperial authority,|
|With Hideko, our guide for the day|
|Ornate door at Kencho-Ji|
|Original thatch roof, now rare|
For our last stop, we cabbed just out of town to Hokokuji temple. The great thing about
this is we were the last guests of the day.
Built in the 1200s, it had by the mid-1300’s seven buildings and 23
pagodas. Today, the statues and lanterns
and gate are the only buildings not reconstructed. But the temple looks over a Zen garden (rock
gardens because rocks don’t move and you can meditate on them without
distraction) with a vast bamboo forest in behind. We partook of the matcha
tea ceremony which involved accepting a sweet cake, caressing a pottery mug,
sipping green tea, and appreciating the garden.
It was incredibly serene and the austerity did beg meditation (although
|Crispy Octopus Cracker at a stall near the beach: Octopus, squished paper thin and deep fried. Hmmm.|