Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 22 - Kita Kamakura part 1

We decide to head south to explore Kita Kamakura. The weather is rain but clearing. We tale umbrellas but remain optimistic.

Kamakura was the location of Japan's military government from 1185 to 1333. During that period Zen Buddhism came from China. It particularly appealed to the samurai rulers and as a result a number of large and famous Zen
monasteries were established in the area, several at Kita Kamakura, just outside Kamakura proper.

When we arrive it's raining, but it's not heavy and adds to the really peaceful atmosphere.

First stop, a 50m walk from the station is Engaku-ji established in 1282.

We firstly come to the impressive wooden Sanmon ( main gate) built as is the custom without nails.

It doesn't take long to begin to appreciate the beauty and peacefulness all around. Very Zen.

We have the opportunity to explore an enclosed garden and graveyard

We them stop to have green tea in the precincts of the mausoleum of the temple founder, the influential Hojo regent Tokimune, who died in 1284.

Further on we can glimpse the the Shariden, where Buddha's tooth is enshrined. It is Japan's finest example of Chinese Sung- style Zen architecture.

There is also the Senbutso hall dating from 1699

See more photos of Engaku-ji

From Engaku-ji we walk back the 50 metres to the station and find a small restaurant. A perfect vegetarian ramen lunch - it was filled with lots of tasty little brown mushrooms and other local vegies

-- Post From Geoff's iPhone

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