Day 4

 On day 4, the first challenge was to wake up early, to catch the 9:50 JS train to Kamakura. Kamakura is about 1 hour 15 from Shinkuku station on the Shonan-Shinjuku line, a train line that started in the early 2000s that borrows other JR east tracks. We reached the station, found the correct platform, and embarked on a full train. It remained full almost until the end, Noe finding a seat 2 stops before the end, Gadea 1. Kamakura was what can be understood as the capital of Japan from 1185 to 1333, and is a city that has a great many shrines and temples. We were far from alone leaving the train at the train station that precedes Kamakura center (Kita-Kamakura): this was Saturday, and, as we would learn, this was the height of the hydrangea blooming period. And the first temple we lined up to check can be seen as an ode to hydrangea. The Louvre on a Sunday during worldwide holidays feels somewhat less crowded! The Meigetsu-in Temple is quite beautiful, full of luxurious vegetation, Hydrangea are everywhere, and in blum, this gives a nice blueish hue. In the back of the temple, there was a pond full of irises and, as we could only hear, frogs. This was an experience both for the beauty of the place and for the impressive number of people visiting at the same time. 

After a lunch somewhat delayed by a long wait, we walked through a tunnel and reached another temple (we skipped some and others, and couldn’t even make it to the giant Buddha and the money washing temple, so there might be more to come).

We reached the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Temple. There, Gadea and Eyquem bought fortune slips: Omikuji. These gave them bad omens, that they had to tie on location, and a little amulet to place in their wallet they to keep the bad luck out. It seems you could sometime get a good omen you can keep, but although they really wanted to keep the Omikuji’s as souvenirs, it was not to be. The temple is massive, well kept, and also has ponds at its feet. Unfortunately, we only saw a few lotus flowers starting to open, but there are two ponds facing each other, one with red lotus on with white. Might be worth checking out later! There is also a wall of donation of Sake kegs, kegs given by corporations for luck.

Unfortunately the weather was turning bad, so instead of running for a 15 minutes glimpse of the giant Buddha or a stroll on the beach, we toured the shopping streets and ended up having tea at a place where you could have cold green tea on draft (nitro powered): the only catch (and not much of one), you had to pour your own draft tea. A ride back home, a stop to buy some Gyoza soups to eat at home, and the day was done!



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