September 24, 2019

We really feel like we had seen everything in Tokyo itself that we wanted to see and on reading the guidebook that we brought with, it seems we really had seen all the major districts. I had a recommendation that we should go to Kamakura if we had time and so yesterday that is where we headed. It is about an hour south of where we are staying (including a walk to the train station – which is never less than 15 minutes). The train got progressively fuller as we headed to Kamakura and pretty much emptied out there so it clearly is a good place to visit.

We needed a coffee and D found a place that was highly recommended (on whatever app he used). It was an elaborate process to make the coffee because he ground the beans and then slowly wet each filter with the coffee in it and allowed it to drain into a bottle and then transferred into our paper cups. Basically handmade filter coffee.

It is a seaside town and clearly occupied by wealthy people as you could see from the cars parked in the driveways (Porsche, Lexus, Mercedes, BMW etc). It did feel at times like we could have been walking around the Atlantic seaboard in Cape Town. Even the housing styles were similar. We walked down to Yuigahama Beach which is a popular surfing spot. The biggest issue was that the wind was blowing (read howling) off the sea so we just felt sandblasted. The sea was very choppy but amazingly there were people out surfing still. The wind was blowing so hard because the Typhoon was passing the western side of Japan (we are in the east) and the spin off was causing the high winds.

We walked back inland (mainly to get out of the howling gale) and ended up at Hasedera Temple. The Temple was constructed there in 736 (no I didn’t make a typo). It consists of a number of buildings, statutes etc all in the honor of Hase Kannon. It/she/he is housed in the Kannon-do Hall and is 9.18 meters tall and is one of the tallest Buddhist statues in Japan. It has 11 heads (spread around the hall) and apparently this signifies that it listens to all people’s wishes. It is actually a ‘future Buddha’ destined for greatness in the future only – seems like a waste to have visited it today then! The view from the Ocean View Prospect (which is a pathway above the Temple) was over Kamakura and out over the ocean and that was quite beautiful.

We headed back down into the town and by this point we were definitely in need of a beer and lunch. We found a nice looking place called AW Kitchen Garden (http://www.eat-walk.com/en/awkitchen_kamakura/index.html). They had an English menu (that is essential when choosing a restaurant) and one of the waitresses could speak a little English (which also helps). It was a set lunch menu where you could choose a starter and main course (pizza or pasta). B reckons it was the best pasta he has ever had (sorry S!) – it was pretty good. It seems the Japanese know how to copy and perfect everything just not electronic goods.

We were all pretty tired and hot and so we headed back to our AirBnB. B & I did stop on route for a softserve ice cream (which B & I both think was the best softserve ice cream we have ever had) though at R66 it ought to have been! We also stopped at the station to reserve seats on the train we need to take (Shinkansen – bullet train) today. We got back around 4pm to our AirBnB. It was very warm and humid yesterday (around 30 degrees with near to 100% humidity) so we were all pretty tired. I had slept poorly the previous night so I had a quick nap to catch up on some sleep.

B & I went to the local Lawson (convenience store in our language) to buy some dinner. They have ready made meals but they really don’t look anything like what we are used to. With the aid of Google translate we chose two and got some crisps (they make pretty good crisps in Japan too) and headed back to our AirBnB to eat. B said I chose a better option as his pig shin meal was mainly cabbage with a few pieces of pig shin disguising the cabbage. M & D just ate crisps for dinner – they were planning to go get some steamed buns but ended up playing Civilisation VI for a few hours instead.

Until tomorrow …

P, B, M & D

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