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Published: June 19th 2011
The last Golden Week. The last chance to travel around Japan and see another part of Japan before I headed home in September, the last chance to visit with friends. The last everything it felt like. I had had a little dream before I went to Japan; that I would go to all the main islands before coming home. Okinawa was the last island, well technically islands, that I had to go to. After consulting with my friend Amy, I totally threw it out of the window and went and did something every foreign tourist has done, go to Kamakura. I spent a lot of my time in Japan exploring other parts of Japan, but this time I headed to it's face.
This trip is really memorable for me, because I didn't really do all that much. Relaxation is highly recommended by me. My friend, Amy, lived in Tokyo/Yokohama for 4 years and she had tons of friends, one of the first nights I was there, one of her friends had a birthday celebration. As we were walking down the street I was expecting the usual small bar with a couple people. That's not what was going on when we
got there. This friend was really into American bluegrass and had a small group of friends that could play the guitar, fiddle, and drums. In this tiny bar no bigger than a college dorm room, we were the only foreigners enjoying bluegrass and beer.
The next day we headed down to Kamakura. I had never been and Amy hadn't been in years, so I didn't feel too terribly guilty by making her come with me. On the hour train ride we were joined by hundreds of Japanese and foreign tourists. Golden Week is one of the peaks in travel in Japan. It's a week when the Japanese government put 4 national holidays in a row to give the Japanese, who are notoriously hard working, a much needed break. As the trains kept getting more packed, I was reminded why I tended to stay away from the big tourist destinations.
Kamakura is a tourist town. It's swamped with temples, a rather famous giant Buddha, and a lot of food. I'm talking streets lined with restaurants Japanese and foreign food included. Any tourist was be able to eat here. Case and point, we had a wonderful Italian lunch that was
just what we wanted. There is also a rather small town feel to Kamakura after you get away from the train station and it's sheer concentration of tourist necessities. Walking along the back streets where you go past real homes, small ramen stops and the ramdom splattering of vending machines that are ubiquitous in Japan.
The Buddha, need I really say it, is amazing. It's beautiful. It's big. It's one of the main reasons why people come to Kamakura. It's decently crowded, but not too crowded that you can't walk around. More like crowded so that it makes getting a decent picture without somebody in it is an impossibility. You can even go in the Buddha, but I wasn't sure exactly how you could do it.
On our walk back, we went a different way. We stopped into a Starbucks that was actually built in the home of a comic book artist, so it was huge and there was actually a little pool/pond where you could sit with your latte and scones. There was lots of dark woods and even a mural dedicated to the artist. I wish I remembered what artist it was, the art was really
There is another really good reason to go to Kamakura. The beach. Kamakura is situated right by the beach and and it's really not that far of a walk from Kamakura station to get there. After stopping to get some lunch at a local grocery store, we walked and ate, stopped into some of the small shops, and made our way to the beach. It's beautiful. There are a lot of people and a lot of wind surfers that are enjoying the waves between Kamakura and Enoshima.
As we made our way back to Yokohama I remember thinking to myself, it was really worth it after all.
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