It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

In time, all things end.  And so, my sojourn in Japan also comes to an end.  My transportation specialist returns home to Kansas next week, diving headlong into in preparation for the impending school year.  This will be my last post from Japan, however, I do have enough pictures saved up that there will be some posts after we return to the States.  For today, we continue with my visit to the Hasedera in Kamakura, Japan.

Hase-dera. Dera is a suffix that means temple in Japanese. So Hasedera Temple is somewhat redundant.

So after spending time with the Daibutsu, we strolled around the lovely city of Kamakura to find the Hasedera.  As with many areas of Japan, walking seems the primary means of locomotion for the average citizen.  To be sure, there are cars, bikes and mopeds galore, but the sheer number of citizens walking around provides numerous customers for the myriad of shops that cluster around the city’s attractions.  The walk itself was pleasant, but my transportation specialist complained about it being hot or something, so I made sure to water him from the ubiquitous vending machines found everywhere in Japan.

This one is not in Kamakura, but it’s a good example of what you find every 30 meters or so.

The paper map given us by the guide earlier and surprisingly good guidance from Pokemon Go we eventually made it to the proper area.  A Pokemon Gym outside of the temple served as a landmark, although playing inside the temple itself is discouraged although not stringently enforced.

The pool has fish in it.  No fishing allowed.  I’m pretty sure they want to keep all the Magikarp to themselves.

Hasedera itself is built into a hillside overlooking Kamakura.  This means there are a lot of stairs to go from one place to another, and lots of vegetation in the form of lush gardens.  The pool pictured above is one of the first things to greet those who visit the temple.  There is a cave in one of the lower levels of the complex where there is a Buddhist prayer station, but the combination of low ceilings (to encourage humility), dampness, and crowding made it a poor location for hippo photography.

One of many Buddhist statues on the temple grounds.

One of the most breathtaking things about the Hasedera is the view from the upper levels of the complex.  With Japan’s mountainous terrain, the builders of these temples often took advantage of the landscape to offer commanding views to those worshiping at the temples.  For someone from Kansas like my transportation specialist, seeing that much water is somewhat mind-boggling, but the locals take it all in stride.

And everywhere the houses are so crowded together! 

Next week we will finish up our excursion to Kamakura with a visit to the beach and a search for more museums.

Until then, Hippo Hippo.


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