It is time for a travel post. So if you’re here for a recipe – I’m sorry to disappoint. Although this is more appropriate for my travel blog, I realized it wasn’t feasible for me to manage two blogs, so here’s our update!
I’ve been here in Japan for exactly 6 months now, and we are doing our best to explore outside of the city, but it is really hard since we don’t have any days off together, and we both have a lot of freelance work to do. We’re doing our best, though! So far we’ve spent a day hiking Mt. Takao, and did a lot of fun Yokohama things, plus a 2-day Hakone trip while Karen was here.
And yesterday I made Zac skip school and work to take a “birthday” trip to Kamakura!
Kamakura is a small coastal town south of Yokohama city. Tourists go there for the many temples and the Big Buddha (Daibutsu), as well as the beaches. We made ours a very simple trip to do some hiking and see the ocean, complete with a few too many special touristy treats.
–> Side Note: What’s with the posing frog souvenirs? We saw them in Hakone also. STRANGENESS.
You can take the train from Yokohama to Kamakura station to see the Big Buddha and the little shops, but we decided to get off a stop before at Kita-Kamakura in order to hike the Daibutsu Hiking Course (大仏ハイキングコース).
We actually missed the start of the trail, because we didn’t have a map, or look it up beforehand, but we met up with the course about 25% of the way through. We hiked the relatively easy (but sweaty) course over the mountain and down into the city. We imagined the Buddha was at the top of the mountain, but NOPE, you just hike over/around a mountain to get there. We’ve ready mixed reviews about this course, but it was pretty easy.
The bronze Buddha is pretty cool, and it was constructed in the 1200’s. The platform has broken a few times, and once, in the 1400’s, a tidal wave swept the Buddha out to sea, but it was safely recovered, and is now situated on an earthquake-friendly base.
After the Buddha, our only other goal was to hit to Pacific – and it was great to see the ocean again after SO SO LONG. The beach was empty aside from the school kids on a field trip splashing around.
We also had: doner kebabs, apple-mango frozen yogurt, garlic french fries, maple ice cream stuffed in a donut (meh), and Kamakura local beer. It was a bit overkill, and we both fell asleep on the train ride home.
For travelers: We took the Blue Line to Yokohama Station, and the Yokosuke JR line to Kita-Kamakura. This took 56 minutes. I think you have to cross over the train tracks to get to the start of the hiking trail, but there are lots of people you can ask. They are familiar with: “Daibutsu haikingu coursu.” Hah. The hiking course is a “2-hour course” but took us maybe 1 hour 15 minutes?
We’ll probably return on a hot sunny day this summer to go for a swim! (P.S. – this is a volcanic island, so none of the beaches around here are crysal-blue. I’m pretty sure it isn’t because it’s dirty.)