Hiking in Kamakura
A month ago, I visited Kamakura’s less known and therefore less touristy location called Asahina pass – an ancient part of the road between Kamakura and Yokohama that was built back in 13th century. It cuts through the dense forest that is absolutely breathtaking. It has ancient trees, waterfalls and steep sandy hills with natural caves in them. You can feel the history of that place in every rock. Samurai used to travel that road on their way to the capital, sometimes washing their bloody swords in the nearby river that got it’s name for that “Tachiarai gawa – sword washing river”.
Kamakura city has 7 passes like that which used to link the city with the rest of the world. It was strategically built to be a natural fortress – surrounded by hills on three sides and by sea on the fourth. I never knew that about Kamakura so it was very interesting to see it’s historical side.
By the way, I bought new camera! Actually upgraded my old water-proof Sony to a new water-proof Sony. ^-^ When I’m too lazy to carry my Lumix around, I use Sony. It’s tiny and doesn’t make any sound when I take pictures – perfect for place with “No photo” policy. ^-^ So these pics are taken with Sony. ^-^
After the forest, we went to Hokokuji zen temple with gorgeous Mousou bamboo garden. These species of bamboo are the biggest in the world.
Then, we moved to a more touristy part of Kamakura, visiting it’s shopping street and a beautiful Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine with wild hawks flying above it. I think it were hawks but I’m not sure.. ^-^
When we went there, Wisteria was still in bloom. There were many “ojiichan” – grandfathers sitting in the shadows of Wisteria, chatting and playing some games. ^-^
Then, we passed Kamakura annex of MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) – a beautiful modern building that extends over Hachimangu’s Heike pond. There were no interesting exhibits at that time but I would like to visit it one day.
At the end of the trip, we decided to visit a couple of small local shrines but some of them were already closed for the day so we ended up hiking in Kewaizaka – another one of the seven passes that goes through a very steep slope with a funny name – “makeup”. Some believe that this is were the makeup was applied to the heads of dead Heike warriors. Others say it used to be a red-light district.. I am not very fond of dead heads so I will stick with the second version! ^-^
The next post is going to be about Ajisai festival in Tokyo so stay tuned! ^-^