For the Love of Inari

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October 6th 2017
Published: October 27th 2017
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Praying to InariPraying to InariPraying to Inari

Sasuke Inari Shrine, Kamakura
Hello my fellow travellers!

Today I started at the same time as Ichiro which gave me a bit more sleep than what I got yesterday but it was still not quite enough to catch up on the sleep I lost so far when travelling from Qatar. Kerstin was even more jet-lagged than me though so she overslept. Luckily she had been foreseeing enough to pack all of her things last night so she managed to get ready quick enough anyway. I left together with the two of them and we walked together for a bit before I veered off on my own path to get to the station from where I would have a direct train to Kamakura.

I took a local train, these are nowhere near as comfortable as the shinkansen or the express trains I usually ride while I'm in Japan. I had to stand most of the time due to the train being packed absolutely full. The further we got from Tokyo though the more space opened up and by the time we got to Kamakura there were hardly any people left and I had been able to sit down and rest for a few minutes.
Statues of MyōbuStatues of MyōbuStatues of Myōbu

Sasuke Inari Shrine, Kamakura
The low number of people for this last part felt like a good sign and I hoped that I wouldn't have to deal with to many tourists during my time in Kamakura.

The first thing I did when I arrived was to eat a sturdy breakfast at the station so that I would be able to keep my energy up for the day to come. When I left the station to begin my exploration of Kamakura the first thing that I noticed was the Onari Police Box across the street.

Unlike what we might think of in Europe when we hear the term police box a Japanese kōban is actually a pretty decently sized local police station manned by anything from two to a dozen police officers. These small neighbourhood police stations can quite literally be found everywhere in Japan, there's even one just on the other side of the station called Kamakura Ekimae Police Box. The term ekimae is one that you will see a lot in names around Japan and it means "in front of the station".

My plan for today was to start with a visit to the Hasedera Temple, then go from there
Hokora (Small Shrines)Hokora (Small Shrines)Hokora (Small Shrines)

Sasuke Inari Shrine, Kamakura
to the Kōtokuin Temple to see the Great Buddha of Kamakura and then finally walk along one of the hiking routes leading back towards the eastern parts of Kamakura and see how far I made it before I ran out of time.

I started out with a brisk 20 minute walk from the train station and while I did see a couple of other foreigners on my way there were no crowds to make me worried about the day to come. As I came closer to Hasedera Temple more and more people was starting to gather up though. Fortunately there wasn't so many tourists though, mostly it was just students and locals.

That's one thing that I've noticed quite often here in Japan actually, there are a lot of students visiting the temples and shrines. Some do so through class excursions and some do so on their own accord. They always seem to go into the rituals wholeheartedly which is very nice to see as I hope that it will keep the great traditions of Japan alive for future generations as well.

When I reached the Hasedera Temple I paid the modest entrance fee and entered the
Enjoying the Beautiful KoiEnjoying the Beautiful KoiEnjoying the Beautiful Koi

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
temple not through, but rather to the side of, the Sanmon Gate. When I entered a beautiful garden opened up before my eyes and I was greeted by two statues of bodhisattvas. I must admit that I'm still a bit of a novice on the pantheon of Japanese Buddhism and there were no signs telling me who these two bodhisattvas was, but I do believe that they were the two that I most commonly come across in Japan, Kannon and Jizō.

Kannon is the Japanese name of Avalokiteśvara and she is commonly known as the "Goddess of Mercy" in English. She is one the most revered bodhisattva in Japanese Buddhism and during the time of the persecution of Christians in Japan she would often fill the role of the Virgin Mary during the Christian prayers.

Jizō is the Japanese name for Kṣitigarbha who vowed not to achieve his buddhahood until all the hells have been emptied. In Japan he is considered the guardian of children and travellers and is immensely popular. He is also seen as the saviour of souls who have to suffer in the underworld and because of this his statues are also very common in
Camphor treeCamphor treeCamphor tree

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura

The small garden also had a lovely pond filled with the beautiful koi which I love so much. Because of this I stayed by the pond for a long time and just enjoyed the tranquillity of the koi swimming peacefully. Close to the pond I found a beautiful camphor tree which is a tree that is closely connected to this temple.

In 721 a Buddhist monk by the name of Tokudō (656–735) found a large camphor tree in the forests near the mountain village of Hase, located in Nara Prefecture, and he realised that this camphor tree could be used to carve not only one, but two statues of the Jūichimen Kannon (lit. "11-headed Kannon"). He commissioned this work to be done and once the statues was completed the larger of them was enshrined in the Hasedera Temple in Nara.

The other one was thrown into the sea, with a prayer placed upon it, so that it would one day return to save the people of Japan from disaster. Some 15 years later it washed up on the shores near Kamakura and was exuding rays of light. Thus a second Hasedera Temple was constructed here in
Buddhist PondBuddhist PondBuddhist Pond

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Kamakura to enshrine it in for all eternity. This statue is an impressive sight, just as it's sibling statue in Nara which I visited last year.

Located on the temple grounds is also a small memorial to Takayama Chogyū (1871–1902). He was a writer during the Meiji Period (1868–1912) and even though his literary career only lasted for six years he became very influential. His works was mainly focused around nationalism and during this period Japan had a surge of ultra-nationalism as it moved away from it's feudal society to take it's place on the world stage after 200 years of isolationism.

Chogyū was born in Tsuruoka, in the north of Japan, but contracted tuberculosis which is why he moved to Kamakura as the climate here was considered beneficial for those suffering from lung ailments. He lived part of his life on the grounds of Hasedera Temple and after his death his funerary rights was performed here, his grave however is located in another temple in the town of Shimizu.

Behind the pond was a steep flight of stairs leading up the mountain to the main structures of the temple. As I ascended the stairs I passed
Pouring Water on a Statue of JizōPouring Water on a Statue of JizōPouring Water on a Statue of Jizō

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
several statues and statuettes of different incarnations of Buddha and the bodhisattvas. One of these were the three statuettes of the Ryōen Jizō whom are supposed to be helpful in matchmaking.

There are three halls in this temple which I would say are the most prominent ones, the Kannon-dō Hall, the Amida-dō Hall and the Jizō-dō Hall. The first of these that I came upon was the Jizō-dō Hall which enshrines a statue of Fukuju Jizō (lit. "Happy Jizō"). The hall is surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of small statuettes of Jizō that are placed there by parents whom have lost their children in order to comfort their souls.

According to Japanese Buddhist beliefs a child that dies before their parent won't have gathered enough good deeds to be able to cross the Sanzu River (Sanzu-no-gawa) and because of this they are forced to pile stones on the shore of the river for eternity. Jizō is believed to save them from this fate though by hiding him in his robe and recite mantras to them. The statuettes remain here for one year before they are changed out for new one.

When I reached the main area
Statuettes of JizōStatuettes of JizōStatuettes of Jizō

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
of the temple the other two halls came into view. The larger one on the left is the Kannon-dō Hall and it serves as the main hall of the temple as it enshrines the aforementioned nine-metre tall statue of Jūichimen Kannon. The smaller one on the right is the Amida-dō Hall.and it enshrines a three-metre tall statue of a seated Amida Nyorai.

Standing to the right of these halls is the shōrō, the bell tower of the temple, but I didn't take a closer look at it. Instead I made a brief visit to the small Inari Shrine. This isn't a shrine in it's own right but a sub-shrine that is located on the premise. I don't know which it's parent shrine is though but I offered up my first prayer in Kamakura there.

After my prayer to Inari I went into the Amida-dō Hall to offer up a prayer to Amida Nyorai as well. His statue was originally carved to protect Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147–1199) from evil spirits and as such the statue is often known as Yakuyoke Amida which means "Amida of Expelling Evil Spirits".

The Amida-dō Hall also houses the temple's mokugyo which is
Inari ShrineInari ShrineInari Shrine

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
a percussion instrument known as "wooden fish" in English. It's played while reciting chants in Buddhism and the one here in Kamakura is is the largest in Japan and even one of the largest in the world.

After my prayer to Amida Nyorai I went into the Kannon-dō Hall to deliver my last prayer at the Hasedera Temple to Jūichimen Kannon. This hall is also connected to a small museum that holds several Buddhist artefacts and which requires a separate entrance fee. There was no photos allowed inside neither the Kannon-dō Hall nor the connected museum.

I liked the temple quite a bit so I decided to buy a omamori, a protective talisman with a one year potency. These can have several, very specific, purposes and the one I bought is one that is known as a shōbai-hanjō which is for luck in my career and for gaining a better financial status.

The omamori cost me ¥600 but technically you don't really buy these, but rather give an offering to the temple in return for one. However, because the offerings usually have quite specific sums attached to them I suppose it's only fair to say that it's an actual purchase.

After one year has passed you are supposed to return the omamori to the temple you received it from so that it may be burned in a special ritual at the end of the year. This is a mark of respect to the kami which have assisted you throughout the year. If you are unable to return to the temple or shrine where you bought it you can send them in through mail.

When I left the Kannon-dō Hall I passed by a statue of Buddha surrounded by four other statues, unfortunately I don't know whom they are meant to represent. I think it might be the wisdom kings, known as myō-ō in Japan.

Next to these statues is the kyōzō, the sutra repository where all the scripture of the temple is housed. Inside of it is a rinzō, a sort of revolving repository. At occasion worshippers might be allowed to turn the rinzō which will bestow the worshipper with the same virtue that reading all of the scripture inside would have given them.

Behind the kyōzō was a small bamboo grove and close to it was a set of stairs leading up to the beautiful walking path called the Prospect Path. I decided to make my way up to it and from there I was able to get an amazing view down over Kamakura.

While I was walking around up there I noticed a large and really cool spider hanging from an impressive web up in a tree. I started talking to a man about the spider and as we kept talking it turned out that he was the teacher of the students visiting the temple. He was a really nice guy and I enjoyed chatting with him for a while before I left the Prospect Path.

When I came back down from I noticed a vantage point which I hadn't seen while going up so I made my way over there and was rewarded with a beautiful and unobstructed view of Kamakura. At the vantage point there was a sign warning visitors about the danger of kites sweeping in to attack you if you have food out. To put a bit of emphasis to the sign there was actually a kite circling above me but thankfully it refrained from attacking me.

I didn't want to test my luck
Praying to Amida NyoraiPraying to Amida NyoraiPraying to Amida Nyorai

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
with the kite above me so I made my way back down to the garden below. There I found a beautiful statue of Nagomi Jizō which is a lot more recent addition to the statues as it was erected here in 2010 with the intent to give peace of mind to the worshippers at the temple.

Next to the statue of Nagomi Jizō stands a vermilion torii which marks the entrance to the Benten Cave. Benzaiten (Benten for short) is highly venerated in Japan and I will explain more about her later in this post as I will visit a shrine which is dedicated specifically to her.

I decided to enter the cave and it's quite spectacular with several statues of both Benzaiten and her followers, the 16 children. The statues are chiselled out of the wall and they gazed down upon me when I follow the path through the cave. In the final chamber is a statue of Benzaiten that sits surrounded by a plethora of small statuettes called Hono Benzaiten. These are placed here as offerings by visitors but I didn't bring one with me so I was unable to make this offering today.

Mokugyo (Wooden Fish)Mokugyo (Wooden Fish)Mokugyo (Wooden Fish)

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
I came out of the Benten Cave I also took a quick peek at the adjacent shoin which means "study hall". This is where worshippers can perform the shakyō, the act of copying sutra. This is done to obtain virtue and someday I plan to do this myself but I don't know exactly where or when yet.

When I felt satisfied with my visit to the Hasedera Temple I took a short stroll to the Kōtoku-in Temple and the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Just as with the Hasedera Temple there was a small entrance fee and the entrance was to the side of, rather than through, the Niōmon Gate.

After the entrance to the temple stood the customary temizuya. I talked about these ablution pavilions and the ritual of temizu in my post yesterday. Standing next to the ablution pavilion was a group of young tourists whom were attempting to perform the temizu by imitating others but not quite getting it right.

I approached them, excused myself, and then showed them how to do it properly and explained both how it's done and why. They thanked me and then they all performed a proper temizu before we
Together With a Nice TeacherTogether With a Nice TeacherTogether With a Nice Teacher

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
walked over to the Great Buddha of Kamakura together.

They were all from Australia and we chatted for a while before we came to the statue where they went to find the rest of their group and I ended up conversing with an elderly Japanese gentleman instead. The statue is absolutely spectacular but I must admit that the temple itself isn't all that special, perhaps with the exception of the small Kangetsu-dō Hall which was originally built in Korea but later moved here.

I gave an additional offering to go inside the statue and it was worth it as the level of craftsmanship is evident on the inside as well. The statue was cast in 1252 and still stands as magnificent as ever despite having been subjected to countless natural calamities over the years. It used to be housed inside a large hall, similar to the Great Buddha in Nara, but that hall have long since succumbed to the elements. This statue is actually the second tallest statue of Buddha in Japan after the one in Nara.

While I was there I was also interviewed by another group of students for their English project, the second time in as many days. I guess they are really trying to bump English upwards in their curriculum. The students here were really sweet and their teacher was very nice as well although I didn't stay and talk to them as long as I did with the group in Nikkō yesterday.

I didn't dawdle at the Kōtoku-in Temple for too long because there were actually quite a lot of tourists here, especially a lot more foreigners than I expected considering there wasn't very many at the Hasedera Temple. Due to the high number of tourists there were quite a bit of chatter, it was nowhere near that which I experienced in Nara last year but it was enough to dampen the spiritual feeling.

Before I left the temple I took a walk around the temple garden for a while and found yet some more of the cool spiders that I noticed at the Hasedera Temple. They seem to be quite common here at this time of year and they spin very impressive webs.

I decided to make my way over to the Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine where it's possible to wash your money in a sacred spring. This is
Enjoying the ViewEnjoying the ViewEnjoying the View

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
said to improve ones financial status which is always useful.

In order to get there I went into the Daibutsu Hiking Trail which stretches from the Kōtoku-in Temple here in the south of Kamakura to the Jōchi-ji Temple in the north of Kamakura. It's a beautiful, but sometimes almost non-existent trail. As I was looking at the overview of the trail I noticed a couple of interesting locations along the trail that I decided to visit on the way.

The first of these was the Sasuke Inari Shrine which is a shrine that I actually hadn't heard about before coming here so I didn't expect much from a visit to it.

When I came to the fork in the trail, with one washed-away path leading down to the shrine and a proper path leading onward, I began to question my decision to go there. I decided to still go there as something inside me told me to endure the muddy slide down. My shoes were falling apart by this time and my feet became completely drenched from the muddy path.

As soon as I came down from the path though I realised that I had made the right decision. What opened up before me was beyond what words can describe and I instantly fell in love with this place. Spread out across the grounds of the shrine are dozens of small shrines called hokora. These are similar in size to my kamidana and they are surrounded by thousands upon thousands of gleaming white statuettes of myōbu, the white foxes whom serves as messengers to Inari. The myōbu are also known as byakko which literally means "white fox" but their formal title is myōbu which is a title that was awarded to high-ranking court ladies. I have two similar statuettes that guard my kamidana at home.

The hokora stand stand intertwined with stone statues of myōbu and both the shrines and the statues are slowly being reclaimed by nature and they are covered in rich emerald moss. The path through the shrine is lined with red banners called nobori which carry the name of the shrine. Walking along the path through the shrine I also passed through several beautiful vermilion torii as well as magnificent stone torii called ishidorii.

The proper approach to this shrine isn't from the hiking trail though, but from below where
Together With Lovely StudentsTogether With Lovely StudentsTogether With Lovely Students

Kōtoku-in Temple, Kamakura
you ascend on a path lined with vermilion torii and red nobori. In the centre of shrine grounds stand the haiden, the hall of worship. Unlike the shrines which I visited yesterday the haiden isn't connected to the honden at this shrine.

Instead the last and, in my opinion, most beautiful part of the shrine stands on an elevation behind the hall of worship. It's a small hall that stands on an almost equal elevation to the Daibutsu Hiking Trail, overlooking the rest of the shrine below. I approached it in reverence and offered up my second prayer to Inari in Kamakura. Surrounding the honden is several beautiful stone lanterns, called ishidōrō, and filling every space imaginable are hundreds of the small white statuettes of myōbu.

This shrine has a very rich and interesting history, dating all the way back to 1195. It was built by Yoritomo after he took the political power of Japan following the Genpei War (1180–1185). The war culminated in the Battle of Dan-no-Ura in 1185, which was a naval battle fought in the straights of Shimonoseki. The Minamoto clan (also known as the Genji clan) defeated their long-standing rivals of the Taira clan
Cool SpiderCool SpiderCool Spider

Kōtoku-in Temple, Kamakura
(also known as the Heike clan) and during the battle the young Emperor Antoku (1178–1185) perished when his grandmother took him and plummeted into the depths when they realised that the battle was lost. I visited the site of this battle, as well as the shrine where Emperor Antoku is enshrined, last year when I was Shimonoseki.

The Sasuke Inari Shrine was founded as a token of gratitude to Inari because in a vision that Yoritomo had Inari came before him in the guise of en elderly man. Inari told Yoritomo how to defeat his enemies and when Inari left he told Yoritomo that he came from a remote and inaccessible village known as Kakurezato (lit. "hidden village").

I felt such a level of connection to, and such a love of, this shrine that I knew right away that this is where I would buy the ofuda for my kamidana. The ofuda is a protective talisman for the household and a proper kamidana should contain three different ofuda, one from the Ise Grand Shrine, one from your family shrine and one from your closest shrine.

Since I still haven't visited the Ise Grand Shrine I don't have
Kangetsu-dō HallKangetsu-dō HallKangetsu-dō Hall

Kōtoku-in Temple, Kamakura
an ofuda from there and because I was born outside of Japan to a non-Shinto family I don't have neither a family shrine nor a shrine close to where I live. I recon I won't have neither unless I marry into a Japanese family and naturalise into the Japanese society. Therefore I had decided, before coming to Japan, that my ofuda should be from a shrine that I felt a deep personal connection to and I knew right away that this was the right one. I feel that this shrine is the reason why I came to Kamakura, perhaps even why I came to Japan, I was meant to come here. So with that determination I made my way over to the small shamusho, the shrine office, where I was able to purchase one.

Considering the beauty of this shrine and it's fascinating history I'm really surprised that there weren't more people here. The few that I met were all locals with the exception of a couple of students that were being shown around by their local friend. I was the only westerner there and I was able to stay for a long time and offer up my prayers in complete peace and tranquillity.

When I felt that I had paid my respects properly to Inari I made my way back up to the hiking trail to continue my walk towards the Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine. I got a bit lost for a while as I didn't know which way the trail went and so I followed a couple of other hikers but I ended up of track so I had to turn back but eventually found my way out of the trail close to the shrine.

Zeniarai Benten Shrine is very beautiful and it's located very strikingly inside an open space within the mountain, accessible through a tunnel leading through the mountainside. Just as the Sasuke Inari Shrine it was founded by Yoritomo. He received a vision where he was told to build a shrine on this site in order to achieve peace and stability in the country.

Because he had this vision on the day of the snake, in the month of the snake and in the year of the snake the shrine became dedicated to the Buddhist goddess Bentzaiten because she's associated with snakes. Benzaiten is important in not only in Buddhism but in
My Ofuda (Household Talisman)My Ofuda (Household Talisman)My Ofuda (Household Talisman)

Sasuke Inari Shrine, Kamakura
Shintoism as well where she is known as the kami Ichikishima-hime.

It was actually quite crowded at this shrine but from what I could tell it was almost exclusively local people. I did see a couple of tourists outside of the tunnel leading into the shrine, but while I was inside the temple grounds I didn't actually see any other foreigners come inside which was a bit strange because it's a quite famous shrine and a very beautiful and unique one at that. I also saw a lot of students that washed their money here, either from desire to gain financial status or out of habit. I must admit that I personally didn't wash my money there, it's not expensive, only ¥100, I just didn't want to walk around with wet money in my wallet.

Located on the grounds are three other shrines as well, the Shichifuku Shrine, the Shimonosui Shrine and the Kaminosui Shrine. I don't know which kami that are enshrined here but these are all shrines in their own rights and not sub-shrines to neither Zeniarai Benten Shrine or any other shrine.

While I was at the temple I met a lovely woman and
Me Next to an Ishidorii (Stone Shrine Gate)Me Next to an Ishidorii (Stone Shrine Gate)Me Next to an Ishidorii (Stone Shrine Gate)

Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine, Kamakura
her son and I chatted with them for a while. The mother was kind enough to take some nice pictures of me around the shrines. I also took the opportunity to eat a light lunch here consisting of a couple of nikuman, a meat-filled steamed bun, and some water.

From there I followed the trail into the Genjiyama Park which is located on the sloped of Mount Genjiyama. The mountain is named after an ancestor of Yoritomo, Minamoto no Yoshiie (1039–1106), who hoisted a white flag adorned with the Minamoto family name (Genji) on top of the mountain as a prayer for victory in battle. Genjiyama literally means "Genji Mountain" but the mountain is also called Shirahatayama which literally means "White Flag Mountain". The park was established in 1965 and is partly located upon grounds that was used for public executions during the Kamakura period (1185–1333).

Inside the park I paid my respects at the grave of Hino Toshimoto (?–1332) who was executed here for his attempts to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate and restore power to Emperor Go-Daigo (1288–1339). Emperor Go-Daigo actually succeeded in toppling the Kamakura Shogunate in the Genkō War (1331–1333) which was followed by the
Praying to the Kami of the WatersPraying to the Kami of the WatersPraying to the Kami of the Waters

Shimonosui Shrine, Kamakura
short-lived Kenmu Restoration (1333–1336). This was the only period between 1185 and 1868 that the emperor held actual power in Japan.

Emperor Go-Daigo was, however, in turn overthrown by Ashikaga Takauji (1305–1358) who established the Ashikaga Shogunate (1336–1573). This led to the Nanboku-chō period (1336–1392) during which Japan had two separate imperial lines, the northern (historically considered to be pretenders) and the southern (historically considered to be the true emperors).

Adjacent to the park is the Kuzuharaoka Shrine which is mainly famous for it's male and female stones, the otokoishi and onnaishi. Visitors may tie a lucky ¥5 coin to these stones to receive fortune in love. This is called an enmusubi which means "love knot". Women tie theirs to the otokoishi while the men tie theirs to the onnaishi. There are also heart-shaped ema, the customary votive tablets, available here so a visitor can write their wishes for love on them and leave them for the kami to take into consideration.

Located on the grounds is also the small Aizuchi Inari Shrine, like the Inari Shrine at the Hasedera Temple it's a sub-shrine and I don't know which it's parent shrine is but it's a beautiful
Enjoying the ViewEnjoying the ViewEnjoying the View

Kaminosui Shrine, Kamakura
little shrine regardless.

Unfortunately my memory card here so I couldn't take any new pictures with my camera. I booted up my laptop and made sure I could at least save down all the pictures that I had taken during the day so that I didn't end up losing them. Thankfully that worked so I managed to keep all of the photos even though I couldn't take any new ones. Instead I switched to take a few photos with my mobile phone instead but my battery was starting to run low on it.

In combination with this it started to rain quite heavily and it was also getting late so I decided that the signs was clear that this would be it for Kamakura for me today. That meant that all of the eastern parts would have to wait until another time, I expect that I will return here soon though as there are many sights in the eastern parts that I really want to visit.

I made my way to the Kita-Kamakura Station, the northernmost station in Kamakura, where I caught a limited express train to another station where I switched to a shinkansen bound for
Students Washing Their MoneyStudents Washing Their MoneyStudents Washing Their Money

Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine, Kamakura
Shizuoka where I was supposed to meet up with Bárbara at the station.

From what I understood Bárbara isn't very used to travelling yet so Junko wants me to help her out. Because of that I promised Junko beforehand that I would go to Takayama together with Bárbara in a few days time.

Because of this I had already made contact with Bárbara on Facebook beforehand, to inquire about our plans for Takayama. Therefore I knew that I would have no problem to spot her on the station (a nervous-looking western girl would have been easy enough to spot anyway though). I knew that we had come here by the same shinkansen (because Junko had given me Bárbara's arrival time) and therefore I just waited at the foot of the stairs for her to come down as I expected that I'd be able to exit the train more swiftly.

When she came down the stairs I recognised her right away and I approached her and hailed her. Unfortunately the recognition wasn't mutual though and she was shocked when I approached her and addressed her by name, so I had to re-introduced myself to calm her down. I
Grave of Hino ToshimotoGrave of Hino ToshimotoGrave of Hino Toshimoto

Genjiyama Park, Kamakura
thought that having already established contact, not to mention being the only white guy in the entire station, would be enough to make her recognise me at first sight but that was my mistake.

In fairness though, me and Bárbara hadn't actually agreed to meet at the station, I had only promised Junko that I'd meet Bárbara there and then I figured that Junko would have told Bárbara the same thing.

Anyway, we cleared that up and then I led her back to where me and Junko met last time but Junko wasn't waiting for us there so we returned inside to try and find some wifi to clarify a meeting point but before we could do that we ran into Junko in the station. I greeted her with a massive Swedish bear-hug (luckily she isn't easily embarrassed) because I was really happy to see her again.

Together we all returned to Junko's home and got squared away and then spent the evening talking and laying out some plans for the following days. We also had a lot of fun about how I shocked Bárbara by being this strange guy just knowing her name and me expecting her to recognise me at first sight.

Tomorrow we will go to Kakegawa to attend Kakegawa Festival there. I will get to meet a lot of the people I met last year, including Junko's husband Shokichi. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone again as I had such a wonderful time last year. Bárbara and myself will then spend the night in Fukuroi with Hideyuki and Yasuyo whom I also met last year.

Hideyuki is the mayor of Fukuroi and thanks to him and Yasuyo (especially Yasuyo), I had an absolutely unforgettable experience in Fukuroi last year. I was allowed to visit sites that would otherwise be impossible for me to enter as a tourist and I even got to have a private lunch with the head monk, the jūshoku, of the famous Hattasan Sonei-ji Temple. No to mention that I was allowed to eat an amazing crown melon for free, a pair of those have previously been sold for ¥3 million ($27,000).

I expect that I will have an amazing time this year as well even though I don't see how it could be possible to top last year but needless to say I'm very excited
Aizuchi Inari ShrineAizuchi Inari ShrineAizuchi Inari Shrine

Kuzuharaoka Shrine, Kamakura
about tomorrow.

Until tomorrow I wish you all peace and happy travels!

Additional photos below
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Sanmon GateSanmon Gate
Sanmon Gate

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Statues of Kannon and JizōStatues of Kannon and Jizō
Statues of Kannon and Jizō

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Small PondSmall Pond
Small Pond

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Memorial to Takayama ChogyūMemorial to Takayama Chogyū
Memorial to Takayama Chogyū

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Beautiful KoiBeautiful Koi
Beautiful Koi

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Beautiful KoiBeautiful Koi
Beautiful Koi

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Small PondSmall Pond
Small Pond

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Statuettes of the Ryōen JizōStatuettes of the Ryōen Jizō
Statuettes of the Ryōen Jizō

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Stone LanternStone Lantern
Stone Lantern

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
Buddhist PondBuddhist Pond
Buddhist Pond

Hasedera Temple, Kamakura

29th October 2017

Thanks for broadening my knowledge of Japanese culture... I had no idea Inari was a Shinto god, and I assumed you meant inari sushi! So now I'm more knowledge, but also craving inarizushi :)
29th October 2017

Thank you yourself for widening my knowledge, I didn't know about the Inarizushi, I need to try that soon. ^_^
29th October 2017

A very interesting read. I particularly liked reading about the various encounters you had with a variety of people whilst visiting, as well as the seemingly ubiquitous spiders!
29th October 2017

Thank you Alex! It's one of my favourite things about travelling, meeting new and fascinating people. It might sometimes just be for a fleeting moment but they leave lasting impressions. I'm actually having a guy from Japan as a guest here for New Years that I met at the train station in Sekigahara last year. :D
1st November 2017
Inari Shrine

Very much Japan
This looks so Japanese. Looking at your photos makes me want to go back to Japan again. /Ake
1st November 2017
Inari Shrine

Very much Japan
You should definitely go back ^_^

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