Kamakura: there is a reason why!

Nice cherry blossom and pique-nique on the sea shore

If you like both, Kamakura is a sure spot.

There are many beautiful places in Kamakura and it is tough to sort them out and make choices. But if you like to take your time, try to go on a week day, and visit the Great Buddha, Hase tera and Gorakuji.

Well, this is the ABC of basics but there is a reason: they really are beautiful.

The gardens of the three of them are all the quintessence of Japanese garden. Now, you have the sakura and the plums. In a few weeks, you will have hortensia (kita kamakura is better for them)... But with hortensia season comes the procession of pensioners. Taken individually, they are of small dimensions but they usually tend to flock together and it becomes a mess. It is better to pick up your time: early morning or late evening...

Then, you can either go to Unaji for a lunch (http://www.unaji.info or to Il Rondino (http://tavernarondino.blog.ocn.ne.jp) on a terrace overlooking the sea, or better, get yourself a bento, take your shoes off, walk in the sand, find a nice spot to have your lunch there and enjoy!

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is very serene and beautiful. He is compassionate too. So, I think that he deserves more than a touristic and casual visit.

If you want to really feel the place, you need to find a place to sit, and stare. You can try to draw him, just watch him, or you can try "shakei", a meditation form that you practice while copying a sutra, the buddhist prayers.It is very strange how much solace to your stress this will bring you, even if you cannot write Japanese. All you need to do is recopy them. You do not need to be a Buddhist to do "shakei" meditation either. I sometime do this with my husband. We have a private joke about it, we call it the Kamasutra meditation.

The Hase temple is famous for his many statues of "jizo". Jiso is the spirit that protects children in their after-life or unborn children. Although jizo may sound depressing, I believe the Japanese people have a way to deal with death that can bring some relieve to their pain and jizo should be watched as a sign of hope.

by Claire

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