Kamakura catchup

The last of my catch-up pics, here’s a few shots from Kamakura. We started up at Engaku-ji, a huge temple complex by the northern train station.  It’s the second of the Five Mountains in Kamakura– a Chinese system of picking top temples to support the gov’t, spread policy thru the temple-grapevine, etc.

Engaku-ji rooftops

It was founded in 1282 by the ruling regent of Japan in honor of fending off a Mongolian invasion. (For history buffs, this’ll sound familiar– the Mongolian invasion fleet was sunk by a typhoon which the Japanese called a divine wind or “kamikaze”.)

Small lichened statue garden that won me over

Pensive deity

The temple is actually a temple compound, with over a dozen little temples and shrines gradually creeping up a nook in the hillside. There are graveyards tracing further up the hills and the whole thing has a rather soothing feel to it. Easy to see why it’s still a thriving temple area with little trails of monks wandering hither and yon.  Outnumbered wildly (during the day anyway) by the tourists.

These little statuettes were in a little side temple, most of them had tiny 1 yen coins (the ones that weigh about as much as an eyelash) stacked around the statues.


Hunter becomes the hunted

While Tara stalks her pictures sometimes we amuse ourselves by stalking her. This temple was uniquely stock full of moss covered statues, lichen-encrusted lanterns, & small purple flowers just waiting with appropriately Zen patience for their sunbeam to arrive and shine right on them.



"be vewy vwey qwiet, we're hunting wabbits"

So we arrived in Kamakura, planning to meander down the hill for lunch, but ended up spending several hours in just the one temple at the top of the hill and a mere 100 yards from the train station. Eventually we were driven by hunger (and certainty that none of the abundant plantlife was edible) to speedwalk past the hundreds of other temples between us and lunch in central Kamakura.  This town really must have the highest per capita temple rate in Japan. We’ll definitely be back and any of you who take us up on the free accommodation offer will be dragged there as well. Brace yourselves.  But for that day, we raced the fading light past dozens more temples to get to the big guy himself.

The famous and mesmerizing Daibutsu

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2 Responses to Kamakura catchup

  1. Calley says:

    The government picks top temples? Fascinating… I’m going to have to look into this sometime to find out how one becomes a top temple. It sounds like it should involve monk-singing contests 😉

  2. Karen says:

    I only remember bits and pieces…I guess I am due for another visit on a day like you had with minimal people and nice weather.

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