Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekenders: Enoshima and Kamakura

Last weekend was a long weekend, so we went with on a little trip with our friend Kazunari.  His hometown is Fujisawa, just outside Tokyo, and he invited us along to come visit his family and see the sights.  We aren't often able to take trips, and we've actually never left Hokkaido since we moved here, so we were excited to see another part of Japan.

On Saturday, we got up bright and early to go to a Hawaiian pancake shop called Eggs 'n Things.  We arrived before they opened, and good thing we did, because there was already a line outside.

It was totally worth it.

Stuffed with pancakes and whipped cream, we made our way to Enoshima, a small island just off the mainland.  So close in fact, that you walk a bridge to get there.  Lots of people were out and about - runner, surfers, kids with their babies strapped to them.  It was awesome just not having to walk on ice!

Enoshima was beautiful, with lots of temples and a tower that gave you a great view of Mt. Fuji.  There were also stairs.  Lots of stairs.

After Enoshima, it was a quick train ride to Kamakura.  We grabbed lunch at a little cafe (where supposedly President Obama had eaten macha ice as a child), and were on our way to Daibutsu, or Big Buddha.  I believe this statue is about 900 years old.  As an American, it's strange to be around things that are just so old.  Imagine all that it's seen.

We finally found shoes Nathan's size.  Ha!

Next, we walked to the Zeniarai Temple.  This temple is most famous for money blessing.  You wash any amount of money in the water there, and it's supposed to double.  I even saw some people washing 10,000 yen (about $100) there!

Because it was a holiday weekend and so close to the new year, there were lots of people praying and lighting incense and whatnot.  It was a very peaceful place, despite all the people.   I could've stayed there all day.

But the afternoon was young and there was lots more to see, so next up was the Hachiman-gu Shrine.

Lots more people, lots more stairs.

Hachiman-gu Shrine is quite old as well, although the buildings are usually replicas built more recently.  When things are made of mostly wood, they fall, or are burnt or are decimated by war, and then rebuilt again.  So temporal.

By this time, the sun was starting to go down, so we made our way to Kazunari's family's house.  I'll admit, I was a little nervous about meeting them and speaking Japanese.  But it really was a great time and they were all so nice.

They immediately made us feel like we were a part of their family, and said we could come visit them anytime.  Oh, the wonderful people we've met while living in Japan.

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