Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu, Kamakura, Kanagawa

Continuing with my brother and sister's visit ^.^ Kamakura was our next destination, since it's a short 30-minutes train ride away. Kamakura was the capital of Japan for about 150 years and has many historical sights, not to mention famous temples and shrines. Along with the all too well known Kotoku-in's Daibutsu, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is a must-see!

It was a beautiful day with the sky clear and sunny, though cold as hell! :X But it was really fun with my friend N. joining us on her day off work. We had tabehodai (all you can eat)okonomiyaki for lunch and after 2 hours or so, all of us were stuffed full of yummy food ^.^

Tsurugaoka supposedly covers a large area with many beautiful sceneries, however we had a few places in mind for that day and thus didn't look around too closely, which was really too bad. Hubby and I will definitely return here on our own to take our time walking around. I mean, just look at the place, need I say more?

Actually, now that I think back, Tsurugaoka was another one of the biggest highlights of my siblings' visit, along with the day we spent at Oedo Onsen. It wasn't so much the beautiful scenery or even the shrine itself. In fact, it was just one particular instance, but it was a very memorable moment, according to hubby.

It was when we were walking towards the smaller shrine at the bottom of the large stone stair path leading up to the main shrine. There were many pigeons scattering about on the ground here and there, but when hubby and my brother came into the vicinity, suddenly they all flocked to them, flying up and around and finally landing on their heads, shoulders, and arms.

Hubby guessed it must have been the amazake he was holding in his hand (the styrofoam cup) that attracted the birds, but none of us had any idea it would so it was quite a fun surprise when all the birds flown in around them all at once! I thought it was awesome, but my friend N. got a bit freaked out with all with the abrupt attention LOL!

Anyway, hubby said although the pigeons had sharp claws, they were exceedingly gentle animals when they landed on his hand. He offered his amazake, but they didn't want any. I guess they just liked the smell xD If you ever come here for a visit, you should bring a cup of amazake with you and see if this will happen ^.^ I'd be curious to know.

My sister and brother in front of the smaller shrine.

The view of the stone stair path leading up to the main shrine, taken from the smaller shrine.

The view from the top of that stone stair path. See the torii behind the small shrine's roof? That's San no Torii, the gate to the shrine. That torii is the start of Wakamiya Oji, a street measuring 1.8km (a little over a mile) and is the city's main avenue with a dankazura, the raised median walk way lined with sakura trees on both sides. You bet it is one of the biggest attractions during sakura seasons, as supposedly you can see the whole length of the street standing from the top of these stair steps, thanks to the blooming sakuras.

Entrance to the main shrine.

Side of the main shrine.

And this is the "stamp" of Tsurugaoka, as my sister religiously collects.

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