Tokyo / Kamakura - Temples, shrines and a food paradise

Tuesday morning greeted us with a bright blue sky and warm temperatures - it felt as if we had been transported into a different country... Perfect conditions for our excursion to Kamakura!

We walked to Tokyo station which is only 20 minutes from our hotel. It turned out that finding the right train and ticket is quite easy and we were soon on our way. The train ride takes about an hour to the south.

Olivier had been here several times, as a child and adult, and he first guided me to the Great Buddha statue, one of Japan's most famous sights.
It was a nice walk, mostly through a residential area. Very different from Tokyo!
Special mirror selfie
At the temple entrance
The statue is quite impressive, also considering all the work that went into making this big work of art.

Lotos flowers

Expensive fruit donations
The statue is of course hollow and you can go inside - fortunately it has windows on the back for air circulation because the bronze heats up in the sun.

The heat screams for ice cream! Color coordinated, please.
Walking on...

Temple number two: Hasedera
Wonderful buildings and very well kept trees! But then, that's normal in Japan, they are obsessed with shaping their trees.
Wash your hands before you enter
Kawaii little statues
The swastika is quite popular here in religious sites (as it is in India).

Little statues as donations asking for protection of unborn children
The main building holding a big golden statue of Kannon
There's also a lovely view over Kamakura.

Big bamboo

The art of gardening

Walking up the hill - and watching the surfers!
Holy feet

Happy god of harvest - touch him for good luck!
Trimming trees is serious business
A model of perfection
Entrance of a cave temple for goddess Benzaiten

Various ways to pray and ask for favors: light a candle...
...donate a tiny statue...
...write your wish on a piece of wood. It depends on your budget, but nothing's for free in the temples all over the world!

Historic guest house
Walking along the sea. Kamakura is a strange mix of cultural town with dozens of famous temples and a surf spot with Hawaiian themed shops and restaurants.
Studying the waves
Interestingly trimmed tree
Walking up to our third and last temple: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine

Looking down, there's a street that goes in a straight line from temple to sea.
Here's how it works: throw a coin - bow - clap two times - pray a little - you're done
Monk collecting the coins from the box at the end of the day
People come here for rituals with their children, like these parents with their little boy in his samurai finery.
Walking down, past the monks' buildings
Lotos pond
It took a lot of positioning on hand, feet and dresses to get this wedding picture right!
Walking down the street with cute little shops
We liked looking at the shops but were too tired to really get into buying mode.
Instead we went looking for a restaurant and ended up eating a mountain of tempura (deep fried vegetables and sea food).
Then we went back on the train and pretended to be locals by sleeping during a good part of the ride to Tokyo!
At Tokyo station we wandered through the underground corridors and suddenly ended up in the food department of Daimaru, a big department store. It was like a temple for food. Only the best and most expensive things at sometimes astronomic prizes. Like these apples that they sell for 1'080 Yen per piece!
It was like walking through a food museum.
Yes, Halloween themed sweets...
Japan, land of chestnuts! They make so many nice things from chestnuts... I could have eaten sweets for the entire 2 weeks!
These are the "cheap" apples for 270 Yen a piece. We bought one to share out of curiosity. It was delicious!
If you prefer seafood, there is plenty.
Kobe beef
You thought that Kit-Kat is just a chocolate bar? You are apparently wrong!

On the ground level there is more. At first it looks like a perfume department. Maybe because some of the sweets cost that much!
This chestnut cake must be REALLY good at this price!

It was probably a good thing that the rest of the store was already closed... By 9 PM we left and walked over to the hotel to get some rest after all that walking.