Monday, May 25, 2015

Japan - Kamakura

On day 2 of our trip to Japan, we took the boys to Kamakura.  It's a short train ride from where we were staying in Yokohama, and one of my favorite places from our last visit (3 years ago).
Hand washing station before we enter Kotokuin Temple
First siting of the giant Buddha in Kamakura. 
Silly poses in front of the giant Buddha
We couldn't have asked for better weather!
waiting to enter and go inside (not much to see, but cool to be inside the Buddha)
I asked Jaden to take a picture of me and Nicholas in front of the statue.  He forgot to get the statue.
Jaden's second attempt!  He got it this time!

Favorite picture of the day ... photo bomb by Buddha!

Ken and the boys
Grrr!!!  Silly boys!
After seeing the giant Buddha, we had a delicious meal at a traditional Japanese restaurant ... table on the floor.  The kids loved it and the food was delicious!!!
Lunch in Kamakura ... Nicholas was meditating before the meal

Cold udon noodle soup with rice and tempura on the side.  Delicious!!

Mastering chop sticks

Leaving the restaurant
 After lunch we visited the Hasedera Temple in Kamakura.
Red lantern at entrance of Hasedera Temple

Fukuju Jizo or "Happy" Jizo

Boys smiling happily, but the site is rather sad.  The temples of Japan are lined with thousands of these little statues.  Some are decorated with red bibs, bonnets, and pinwheels, but these were plain.  They are statues of  Jizo, the Japanese guardian of children.  The Japanese believe Jizo helps children who die before their parents find their way to the afterlife.  So each statue represents a child who has died before their parents.  This particular temple said the statues were to comfort the souls of unborn children.
Main building of the Hasedera Temple
Hasedera Temple

 You can't take pictures in the main buildings of the temple, but the main building houses a giant gold statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.  The statue has 11 heads, representing different characteristics of the goddess. 

 Rubbing Buddha's belly for good luck

strolling around the grounds.  loved these little statues!
Inside this building were rotating bookracks, called rinzo, with important Buddhist sutras written on them.  By turning the rinzo, it is believed that you can earn the same merit as from reading all the sutras at once.   

How many arms do you count?

Stopped to enjoy the flowers along a pathway with a beautiful look out
From temple grounds, you could see the beach in Kamakura.  The pictures didn't do it justice.  The colorful buildings and the beautiful weather and sea were just breath taking!!
We loved these cute little statues

Loved all the areas to explore in the temple grounds ... little ponds and waterfalls.  Just beautiful!
Wooden plaques are at all the temples too ... you write your prayers on them and leave them at the temple for the gods to read and hopefully answer.  Love this shot with the cave in the background.  Well done Ken!

Inside the cave
Benzaiten is a sea goddess and the only female among the seven lucky gods of Japan.  She is the patron of music, fine arts, and good fortune.

Boys in front of Daiko- one of the seven Japanese gods of fortune.

Daiko is considered the god of wealth or harvest
Brotherly love
Beautiful temple grounds

Our train back to Yokohama

back on the train headed for Yokohama

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