We said we were going to do it and today was finally the day. We took a day trip outside of Tokyo to Kamakura. We chose Kamakura because it was accessible by a single railway line from Tokyo Station and it contains Kōtoku-in, a Buddhist template renowned for its Daibutsu ("Giant Buddha") statue.
To complete this day trip before the sunset we had to wake up at an unimaginable hour, at least for us on this trip, 8am. We showered, ate breakfast and were out the door for 9am. We took the Marunouchi line to Tokyo Station and then boarded the Yokosuka line to Kita-Kamakura Station which took just short of an hour. There was something oddly serene about this ride because it was almost entirely above ground and not flanked by 50 story skyscrapers on all sides. There were picturesque views of what may have been the Japanese countryside - I'm not sure - but it was already such a drastic change from being deep inside Tokyo for eleven days.
When we disembarked at Kita-Kamakura Station I was shocked by how small it was. It felt even smaller than the stations I would take the GO Train at back in Brampton. To cross to the western side of the station we had to wait for the train to leave and physically walk across the tracks. I've never had to do that during my entire stay in Japan.
Our plan was to head to Jōchi-ji temple and then take the daibatsu hiking trail behind the temple all the way around to Kōtoku-in to see the giant Buddha. You can see the map we used here on Kamakura's visitor's guide. Select the "Hiking Route" tab and then we were planning on traveling from point 6 to point 9.
Jōchi-ji was another beautiful Japanese temple. It contained stone bridgework, a graveyard, some bamboo groves and a statue of the god of happiness or good fortune whose belly, left earlobe and index finger had all been worn smooth after years of being rubbed by patrons. Upon leaving the temple we exited to the right and started climbing up the hills into the daibatsu hiking trail and I immediately forgot I was in Japan. I got flashbacks to the Thanksgiving hikes I would go on with my family up by my Aunt & Uncle's home. Thick foliage stretched dozens of feet into the air blocking all views of the surrounding city with little parts able to peek through every several minutes or so. This hike was one of the hallmark moments of this trip for me and I highly recommend it for anyone who is in the area. You will not be disappointed.
Upon exiting the hiking trail we were deposited onto a paved road that was a quick five minute walk from Kōtoku-in. We followed a group of school kids, who had been just ahead of us the entire hike, straight to the entrance. We came to this temple because of the giant Buddha so I was expecting something big but sweet Jesus this thing was enormous. It was over 40 feet tall and its head was so large that I could probably stand up inside it. It is also completely hollow and for ¥20 we were able to tour the inside.
After getting some face time with Buddha we walked to Kamakura Station and caught the Yokosuka line back to Tokyo. Once we got back to our Airbnb we started doing laundry and packing for our flight home the next day. After we had tried (and failed) to check-in for our flight we headed out for our last dinner in Tokyo.
Almost every time we walked to Akihabara we passed a building called Mansei which billed itself as 10 stories of meat. I successfully ignored this tower from the heavens for too long and tonight we finally tried it out. We hit up the yakiniku place on the 5th floor and grilled wagyu until we could grill no more.
After dinner we walked to Yodobashi Akiba one last time and Elsie let me play my favourite arcade game, Monster Hunter Spirits, while she tried her luck at the gachapons again. Once we were tuckered out we headed back to the Airbnb and laid our heads down on our pillows for one last good night's sleep in Tokyo.#Japan#Tokyo2017