We slept in. I made us breakfast in bed so I could use my new tea set. We puttered around. We didn’t have a huge agenda for the day. “You know what I’d kind of like to do today?” I said to Chris. “Go find that temple in Enoshima.” “Ooo, yeah!” he said. We strolled to the train station and glided down to the coast. We weren’t sure where we were going. We’d seen a golden spire peeking through the treetops from several vantage points, and we’d passed a huge temple on the Enoden Line, so we figured we’d check one of those out. Turns out it was the same temple. How convenient! Ryukou Temple is just a few steps from Enoshima Station on the Enoden Line. We didn’t know that, however, until the train pulled out of the station and we saw it. Good news—it’s only about an eight-minute walk from whatever the next station is. This is an excellent all-in-one temple. It has that golden spire/dome thing that houses the goddess Shichimen, who guards people who believe in myouhourengekyou (not a type-o). This temple has a five-story pagoda. If you climb up the stairs to the graveyards you will get some beautiful vantage points of Enoshima Island and the coast. We could even see all the wind- and para-surfers. Plus, you are invited to take your shoes off and pad around on the tatami mats while the monks chant and the ancient bell tolls: “You can strike a bell freely only once. It is said that striking this bell makes a new lease of your life.” This is a temple of the Nichiren-Shu Order, founded by St. Nichiren: “Ultimately, he mastered the secrets of Buddhism and established certain thoughtful that MYOUHOURENGEKYOU (which means the doctrine of a white lotus flower as a true teachings) was the only doctrine being able to lead the people all over the world to the peace.” He came to Kamakura in the 1200s and began his missionary work. In 1271, “St. Nichiren was caught by officers of shogunate as he was at home. In the middle of the night, he was nearly executed by decapitation at the place of execution that is presently known as Ryukou temple. But then, suddenly a miracle happened at that time. The officers could not cut off his head. After that, he was exiled to Sado Island.” “The Ryukou Temple has originated since Nichiren’s disciples built a shrine at a sacred place as a token of the religious persecution of Ryukou in 1271, because of enshrining a wooden image of St. Nichiren and a stone which Nichiren set on his heels on when he was nearly killed. There is the stone, which is that I mentioned before, in the main hall of this temple now.” The main hall was built in 1818. Dun-dun-da-dun-dun-dun-DUN!! Ta-DA!!! This temple completed my SECOND temple calligraphy book!! If you stretch the book out it has 26 signatures I think, on one side only because the ink bleeds through sometimes. Ta-DA!! Two whole books in 18 months!! That is a lot of temple visits! I don’t even want to think about how much my completed book cost to create…but it’s like passport stamps or US National Park Passport stamps—I can’t NOT get them. It’s kind of my thing. Like blogging.
I have never seen a white chrysanthemum in Japan because you are not allowed to give them to anyone except dead people. Maybe you can give them to grieving families too. Anyway, I saw one appropriately at one of the graveyards. Other colors of chrysanthemums are very popular in Japan, especially the ogiku, or irregularly curved petal chrysanthemum. They are a symbol of the imperial family and many castles and shrines have chrysanthemum contests in late fall. But back to the lazy Saturday—after just one temple, Chris and I stopped for some sweet ice at The Market SE1 — WOW!! Chris had milk flavor, but not just any milk—special milk from a nearby prefecture. And I had the watermelon. The owner scooped it out and said it’s best with a squeeze of lemon. Oh boy was it!! It was so good I licked off the lemon at the end! “That’s like an actual watermelon!” was Chris’ comment. Except better, because it’s gelato with lemon! No picture of that; I ate it too fast. From there we walked to the coast and watched the windsurfers in their wetsuits. It wasn’t quite 70 degrees, but the wind was steady and the cove was full. I kept waiting for two people to collide; they didn’t. That’s good…. Il Chianti Beache next to the Enoshima Aquarium was our pick for dinner. What a perfect Saturday!! Seeing something new, walking along the beach, a nice dinner out…Chris and I can easily fall into being Japanese Tourists when the weather is (rarely) nice. I realized halfway through my time in San Diego that I research, map, plan, go! go! go!! on vacation and weekends now. What gives?! Well…we just don’t want to miss anything! Especially since Chris is gone so much, we work up these massive sightseeing lists. But this Saturday we did not miss out on anything—it was the perfect day!