The day started with plans to head to the town of Hakone for a dip in some hot springs and nice view of Mt. Fuji. However, it was sort of derailed when we got to talking to our host at the hostel, Lee, about a bunch of temples and shrines nearby in Kamakura. The deciding factor was that Kamakura was only a 30 min train ride away as an opposed hour and a half to Hakone.
The first temple we went to was Engaku-ji, and we really can’t tell you much on the subject as every sign was in Japanese. In fact we found it very discouraging to wander around the place looking at buildings that had no explanation or meaning to us. Later on (with our friend google) we learned it’s one of the most important zen temple complexes in the area. As well that it was founded by a Chinese Monk in 1282 by the request of the Japanese ruler at the time to honor those who died in a war to fend off a Mongolia invasion the previous year.
We did partake in a tradition Japanese tea ceremony where you are given a cup of green tea, a couple little odd shaped sweets and a incense to put in a sand pit. After the cup of tea we wondered around and looked at the last few buildings on site we didn’t see then moved to the exit. In Kamakura, there are many many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines all scattered throughout the city but after our initial experience with the temple we decided that one was enough. Besides it all being in Japanese characters, it wasn’t very affordable, with the entrance to every shrine at 300yen and 100yen more for each divided part once inside.
A little discouraged we hopped on a train to head to our original plan Hakone. Enroute, we got side tracked once again in a town called Odawara looking for food and then side tracked even further when we found a castle in the town. The only castle in the surrounding Tokyo area. Food wise we opted for something close to home, Kentucky Fried Chicken, it was no easier ordering here over anywhere else we’ve tried. The chicken burgers, dare we say, were better than back home (just really small portions) and the pop selection was really cool, Aaron opted for some fizzy green unknown substance while Jessica stuck to the good ole Coke. By the time we were done with the good ole kernel, the castle in town was closed (after we finally found it) so we just walked around the grounds for a while, which was free and still quite beautiful.
We were leary about trying to make it to Hakone, as a friend had told us a story about missing the last train and sleeping at the station, so we opted to wander around for a bit more before we left back to Yokohama. Walking around pretty aimlessly we wound up finding a hole in a seawall that lead to a beach, there was a few locals swimming and a couple fishing. The evening was put to rest by just sitting on the rocks looking around and playing with the camera. The day didn’t totally pan out the way we wanted, but did see a bunch of different things and we got to spend some lovely quiet time amongst the busy life here just lazing by the sea.
Things here start looking up by the next blog and all we can hint is that it involves an old friend for Jessica and 300 pound men. Stay tuned and Thanks for Reading!