Monday, December 18

Travel Destinations: Kamakura, Japan

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Travel Destinations: Kamakura, Japan

Kamakura was the capital of Japan from 1185 to 1333, and because of this, it is one of the most culturally rewarding cities in Japan and an ideal destination for anyone making their holidays in this beautiful country.

There are a number of beautiful Buddhist temples in the area; if you time yourself correctly, then you can see most of what Kamakura has to offer in one day, but to truly take your time and marvel at the wonders of this place, take a few days.

Engaku-ji:

Founded in 1282, this is one of the five key Rinzai Zen temples in Kamakura. According to local legend, it was built for Zen monks to pray for the soldiers who had died to defend their country from the second invasion attempt from Kublai Khan. A magnificent reminder of the temple’s beauty is the reconstruction San’mon, which was built in 1780. If you climb up the long stairway through the gate, you will come to the Engaku-ji bell, the largest bell in the city created in 1301.

Tokei-ji:

This beautiful temple is set in the most gorgeous grounds; this is a truly peaceful place where your spirit can take flight. The temple has served as a place of refuge for women; if she spent three years as a nun here, she was classed as legally divorced. Today, there are no nuns here.

Jochi-ji:

Not far from Tokei-ji is the lovely Jochi-ji, another temple set in beautiful grounds. Constructed in 1283, this temple is one of the city’s five important Zen temples.

Daibutsu Hiking Course:

Starting from near Jochi-ji temple, this 3km hiking trail runs through some spectacular scenery, passing by the shrine of Kuzuharaoka-jinja. From here you will see the sign to Genjiyama-koen, a beautiful landscape park; carry on down the hill to reach Zeniarai Benten. The entrance looks somewhat like a cave but will lead you to a shrine. Here, visitors bathe their money in the natural spring which is said to bring them good fortune.

Enno-ji:

Enno-ji is a wonderful temple to visit, with its beautiful assemble of sculptures depicting the judges of hell. Emma-O is the deity which presides over them all; his Sanskrit equivalent is Yamma. When the Pure Land sect of Buddhism started to gain popularity, the concept of hell and judgement became an important matter.

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu:

This is the main shrine of Kamakura and a must-see on any trip to here. It was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi and dedicated to the god of war, Hachiman.

This is just a sample of what Kamakura has to offer you but words cannot portray the beauty, the energy and the wonders that lay in store for you.

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