Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kamakura - Enoshima, Japan

 I and hubby along with few of his friends had been to Kamakura, Hase and Enoshima Island. All of the three flaunt beautiful, rugged coastline view. Kamakura and Hase are famous for their temples and shrines. Whereas Enoshima island is famous for its Lighthouse, amazing view of the coast and old caves. For the first time I saw Maple leaves in beautiful hues of red and yellow. Japanese Maple leaves are a bit different in its shape. Every where along the streets were beautifully decorated Omiyage (Souvenir) shops. I was so tempted to buy each n every thing displayed, but due to weight constraint had to limit my purchases. 

In Kamakura, first we went to see this huge Buddha statue. Its known as Daibutsu which literally means the Big Buddha. Construction of the Daibutsu began in 1252 and continued for approx. 10 years. Its height is 13.4 m, including the pedestal. The statue is hollow from within and so we can go inside it. The Daibutsu is surrounded with beautiful Maple trees, small temples with their gardens and Omiyage shops ( Souvenir shops). 

Then we went to Hase-Dera Temple. The construction of this temple began somewhere around 736 AD. There are two halls within which are stationed two beautifully carved statues. One statue whose name is Hase Kannon, Buddhist Goddess of mercy, is neither male nor female and is 9.18m tall and has eleven heads each having different expression on it. Second one is a golden statue, Yakuyoke (Protector from Evil Spirits), it is 2.8m tall. Dont have pictures of these statues coz we werent allowed to take any. In the temple's garden there are thousands of statues ( no idea of whom) lined up in neat rows. It also had lovely ponds with strange bamboo pipes. After being completely mesmerised with the beauty of Hase-Dera we headed towards the nearest beach. It was full with surfers of all age. The beach had decorated itself with yucky looking sea weeds and millions of pebbles and shells. We strolled along the beach till the violent sea winds had screwed and entangled our hair to its hearts content. 

Then we went to Enoshima Island. Here we saw the Iwaya caves which exhibits the history and culture of Enoshima. There is this 128m long foot bridge which leads to the caves. The view from this foot bridge is spectacular. In the caves we were given candles so that we would be able to explore the dark caves in candle light. After the caves we visited the Lighthouse (which looks more like a tower). The lighthouse is almost 59 m tall. There was a celebration going on out there since something on the Island had completed 100 years. Since the lighthouse and its gardens were beautifully lit up I am assuming that it was the lighthouse' birthday celebration. The celebrations were supposed to include the awesome Japanese fireworks but fierce winds were blowing so it had to be cancelled. The winds were so strong that when we were at the top observatory of the lighthouse, we could actually feel the entire lighthouse swaying. It was scary, at least for me. Cause right below us were the dark, enraged, evil looking huge waves who didnt care whether we came tumbling down to them, since they were planning their way up to us. One thing is for sure that when I return to India, Am going to learn swimming ASAP.

While returning, all the Omiyage shops and weird smelling, traditional japanese restuarants were brightly lit up and crowded to its limit. For the first time it didnt bother to me that horde of unknown, cute looking people with really small eyes, were hustling every where around me. Cause even in their hustle there was courtesy and kindness...

I came back home with awesome memories, lovely snaps, unique sovenirs and medusa's hairdo.


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