Monday, June 18, 2007

In & Around Kamakura

The candied grapes this guy is making were hands down the yummiest snack we had in Japan - and at about 80 cents each - a great deal considering how delicious they were!

The grapes were the giant seeded kind and were served warm. He rolled them in a sugar concoction and then dipped them in another. They were served on sticks like caramel apples but tasted much, much better - crunchy on the outside, warm and sweet on the inside and so very good.

If you see this stand at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (a shinto shrine in Kamakura) be sure to sample some of these delicious grapes!

Given the subjects of my first three posts on Japan you'd come away with the impression that I miss the food the most - and - you wouldn't be entirely incorrect!!

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is one of the most visited shrines in Japan, but the grounds are the real attraction, I think.

There's a lovely lotus pond with white doves and dozens of white flags.

There are red torii, a giant display of sake barrels (offerings to the gods), arched bridges - both stone and wood, colorful shrine buildings, and an enormous ginko tree said to be 1,000 years old.

The place is very picturesque; you'd never guess that it has quite a history of bloodshead and war associated with it.

The walk from the town of Kamakura to the shrine is fun if you take the narrow streets lined with quaint little shops and fun statues - like the ubiquitous cat figure who always has one paw in the air.

There are several shrines to visit in Kamakura and also the second largest statue of Buddha in Japan.

Made of bronze and standing about 44 feet tall, the Great Buddha of Kamakura is imposing - and - impressive considering it was made almost 800 years ago. It's hollow and you can go inside for about 16 cents. We did. There isn't much to see.

The smell was delightful - I really love the incense that is burned at these places. I spent two weeks trying to figure out what it was and the closest I got was that it must be a mixture heavy in frankincense. I am still kicking myself over not buying some when I had the chance.

There are giant rope slippers hanging up that belong to the Buddha. I'd say they are 5-6 feet tall. Posing for group photos in front of them is nearly as popular as posing in front of the Buddha. Here's a shot of the slippers courtesy of my FIL.

No comments: