Kamakura Day 2a: The trip down by train

The Kamakura trip was not exactly on our itinerary since the journey would take 1.5 hours one way, but since we already managed to cover all three Hachikos on Day One, we decided we’d spend one day at Kamakura instead of Tokyo city.

If possible, I did want to see the famous Dai Butsu (the Big Buddha) of Kamakura.

So, off we went again to the train station. Each time, before buying the ticket, we would check with the information counter for the fare. This way, we avoid having to use the Fare Adjustment Machine upon exiting from our intended destination.

Kamakura (鎌倉) is a coastal town in Kanagawa Prefecture, less than an hour south of Tokyo.

Kamakura became the political center of Japan, when Minamoto Yoritomo chose the city as the seat for his new military government in 1192. The Kamakura government continued to rule Japan for over a century, first under the Minamoto shogun and then under the Hojo regents.

After the decline of the Kamakura government in the 14th century and the establishment of its successor, the Muromachi or Ashikaga government in Kyoto, Kamakura remained the political center of Eastern Japan for some time before losing its position to other cities.

Today, Kamakura is a small city and a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. In addition, Kamakura’s sand beaches attract large crowds during the summer months.

On our way to Kamakura, we passed by Yokohama and Kawasaki, another two famous towns. We also saw the older side of Japan, there were small houses all along the railway track.

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We disembarked at Kamakura and took the electric train (on a different line) to Hase, where the Dai Butsu is located. The temple is called the Kotukuin Temple.

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The toad marks the beginning (or end) of the Enoden electric line.

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It’s the 100Y shop, which means, everything in here is about RM3.50 or so (cheaper than in Malaysia’s RM5 Daiso). We did notice that things weren’t that expensive in Japan and this is despite our fallen RM. We only ate Japanese food for the entire trip and it’s definitely cheaper than eating (Japanese or even local) food in Malaysia. Really…so I did wonder why we have this perception that everything is “so” expensive in Japan. It isn’t.

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Kamakura is a very idyllic ancient little town and I’m so glad we came here. You get to see the older Japan here. It has the small town atmosphere. Small shops line both sides of the road.

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Then, we saw that there is a Kannon (Kuan Yin) Temple here too. Initially I had googled in the morning and thought we’d visit three temples. Google did not show this Kannon Temple.

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If in Tokyo city, everyone travels by train, here, you see private cars. Sports cars too. But it’s a very leisurely paced town.

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There were many souvenirs shops, and the things are not even expensive.

The one thing I really appreciate is that there is no bargaining in any shop, store or stall. The price is reasonable and is fixed. The shopkeepers are very polite and honest. Most of them spoke Japanese to me (either they think I’m Japanese or they are just so culture-centric (which to me, is a good thing) that they only speak Japanese)). When I say “wakarimasen”, they slow down and speak more slowly, still in Japanese, not in English. Somehow, they can make you understand them! In paying for things, when they notice I’m struggling with the coins, trying to figure out if I’ve got the right amount, they are very patient and help me out by counting slowly for me. Luckily I remember how to count in Japanese.

Next stop: The Hasedera (Kannon) Temple.

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