Kamakura retains its status as my favorite place in Japan after another fun day trip. Chris and I looped through its shrines and temples our first week in Japan and I keep finding reasons to come back. When I first visited the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine near Kamakura Station for Bean-Throwing Day in February I knew I’d have to come back in spring. On my way yesterday, I saw a shrine I’d never seen from the Enoden Line train—a nostalgic train with wooden floorboards nailed together and big picture windows that runs along the coast—so I hopped off and got my temple book signed in calligraphy characters at the Goryo Jinja Shrine below. I hopped back on the Enoden at Hase Station (the stop near the Daibatsu Big Buddha and Hasedera Shrine) and continued to the last stop: Kamakura Station. There’s a half-mile walk to the shrine flanked with cherry trees and (in spring) adorned with lanterns. A road and shops parallel the walk on either side, but the cherry blossoms were so think you almost couldn’t even see them. Two giant red torii gates mark both entrances to the lane like bookends.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu has ponds, cafes and little islands linked to the main path with arched bridges. The ponds reflected back the fluffy pink of the cherry trees and turtles, ducks, a crane and an egret all came out to enjoy the warm-ish afternoon.
I followed this little stream to the shore and walked along the waterline to where Chris and I found excellent seashells on New Years Day (no such luck this time). A couple holding hands by the water was walking along minding their own business when the girl got dive-bombed by one of the huge hawks always circling the city. Yikes! By then it was dark, so I found my way back to Hase Station and caught the train headed home.