Kamakura

Volume 6, Issue 117; 20 Nov 2003

A rainy, ethereal walk through the temples and shrines of Kamakura.

Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Despite the rain, Steve, Connie, and I took off Thursday morning to visit (a few of) the Zen temples of Kamakura.

Two short subway rides dropped us at Kiti-Kamakura station, almost adjacent to Engaku-Ji.

You can’t really see them in this picture, but there were a great many carved statues along the walls of this courtyard.

Many were Budda images, but they ranged from the mundane to the fantastic. Small coins were resting on most. This little guy was peeking out from between two of them; statues that is, not coins.

He’s a little over-exposed from the flash. After several months of use, the only persistent complaint I have about my camera is that the lens is slow.

In the course of our stroll from Engaku-Ji towards Jochi-Ji, we stopped at another temple. There’s not a word of English on the ticket and I failed to record the name of the temple. Hopefully Steve will be able to remind me.

Our next stop was Jochi-Ji.

We stopped briefly at a little store between Jochi-Ji and Kencho-Ji. There in the window, beside the nearly ubiquitous “happy cat” I spied “Death Cigarettes”. Now that’s truth in advertising.

Kencho-Ji was the largest temple, as evidenced by the tour busses parked out front, but I think Engaku-Ji was the most enchanting, at least on this day.

Following Kencho-Ji, we walked to a nearby Shinto shrine. The temporary construction that you can see on the left hand side continued all the way up the steps to the heart of the shrine.

It appears that they were getting ready for some sort of procession. A large one, by the look of things.

This bright red building is another Shinto shrine. We’d arrived after closing so this view through the gate is all that we got. The exterior gate, not visible because I’m bracing the camera on it to get this picture, had the same five-circle design as the interior doors.

Here we have ducks on the pond in front of a lovely bridge. It was bright red, but the color is a bit muted by the fading light.

Late enough, in fact, for illumination in the lanterns.

And one last shot, carefully braced and hand-held for almost a second.

Our walk back to Kamakura station took a meandering course through a delightful pedestrian thoroughfare lined with shops of all sorts. There were foods of all description at hand, and touristy knick-knacks from the very cheap to the very fine. Alas, my camera batteries were dead, so you’ll have to take my word for it.