Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Located to the southeast of Tokyo, Kamakura is on the itinerary of almost all tourists. Once upon a time it was the political capital of the country. Later its glory as a capital was lost to another city, but it remains a favorite tourist destination.
Kamakura has numerous attractions which bring tourists to this small city in great numbers, usually as a day-trip from Tokyo. Located in an open, picturesque location, is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. It is 13.35 meters high and is second to the one in Nara's Todaiji temple. The temple for the goddess of mercy, Kannon, sits in Hasendera. The 9.18 meters tall goddess has eleven heads representing its various characteristics. Adjacent to the temple is the Amida-do Hall, which houses a three-meter tall golden Buddha. From there you can visit the observation deck that offers a splendid view of the city, and back at the base of the slope lies a lovely garden with a temple - Benten-do - dedicated to the goddess of feminine beauty and wealth.
Kamkura's most prized shrine is the Tsurugaoka. It is dedicated to Hachiman, the Samurai god. The main hall has a museum which displays swords, masks and documents - true treasures of the shrine. Out of the five Zen temples of Kamakura, Engakuji temple is most famous. The temple grounds include Shariden, a well designed hall where rests a tooth of Buddha. Engakunji lights up colorfully during autumn.
The beaches of Kamakura come alive with people in the summer months, while millions of people gather in the historic city to witness the New Year celebrations. In the spring, it is a custom for the Japanese to visit the Zeniarai Benten shrine to wash money. It is believed that by doing so the money doubles - worth a shot.
Josh Shulman, Author of All-You-Can Japan www.smartjapantravel.wordpress.com.