I-san and I did a bit of Yoshitsune tour, erm, 6 months ago *lol* I figured, being the huge procrastinator that I am, I’d better write about this before I start on another trip.
Date: April 26, 2008
Venue: Kamakura and Koshigoe, Japan
We bought the Kamakura-Enoshima Free Pass, that would take us from Tokyo to Kamakura, then we would be free to take unlimited rides on the Enoden, and a Shonan Monorail ride back to Tokyo — just what we needed for the day trip. And the pass only costs 1,970 yen :)
So, we reached Kamakura station. I like the look of the station, a slightly ancient feel.
Then we took a walk through the Komachi Omiyage street, heading for Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. There were so many shops, so many things to buy lol! I was drooling at the yummy-looking hotdogs of one store~ heh… yappari I’m always attracted to food :D
We were munching on our ‘breakfast’, I-san a ham/cheese sandwich, and I can’t remember what I had. But when we reached the huge entrance of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (the big Toori gate at the road junction), I-san said she couldn’t finish the 2nd piece of sandwich, so she gave it to me, and I was happily eating it while snapping photos.
Then after we got pass the gate, while I was trying to take a photo of a lake or pond, something hit my hand!! I had raised both hands, and my right hand was holding the sandwich (still in it’s plastic wrapper), and my left more firmly on the camera.
I thought someone had thrown a rock at me! Then I noticed that the sandwich was gone! And when I looked ahead into the sky, an eagle was flying away with my sandwich!! LOL! Kamakura has loads of eagles ne! It happened so fast! Fortunately it didn’t take my camera away lol! But ne… first time I experienced such a thing, I was quite shocked! My hand hurt for a while, but I was laughing from shock. Maybe I’m not fated to eat that sandwich, it’s just not meant for me ne fufufu~
We then walked towards the main shrine, and this was the view from far:
Quite a lot of people were there that day. And there were some Takopachi stores at the side of the path. Erm, there were also little kids chasing pigeons lol.
We were lucky to witness a traditional wedding too. One of these must cost a lot!! I was wondering if Takki will have this kind of wedding next time hehe…
Then there’s the Ginkgo tree on the left side of the steps up to the main shrine. This tree is more than 1000 years old ne. It’s really huge!! This shrine was founded by Minamoto Yoritomo, and it was also this shrine that Yoritomo made Yoshitsune lead the horse for the carpenters, trying to show that he treated everyone equally, which hurt Yoshitsune’s pride. Thanks, Kensaku-san, for the info :)
We climbed the steps to get a closer look at the shrine. There were many people there, some with babies, some with dogs… There were loads of Emas too, I was even thinking if I should try writing on one, but I didn’t hehe…
Just took a look, felt a bit of the atmosphere, took some pics, enjoy the fresh air, then prepared to go down again to search for Yoritomo’s grave. This is the view from the top of the steps:
And while walking down the steps, I tried taking a picture too. It’s quite scary if you don’t look at the steps… I’m afraid I’d miss a step and start rolling down haha. There are no railings on the side so it’s kinda scary…
Then we turned left to find our way out from a side exit, to get into the residential areas (to look for Yoritomo’s grave). Along the way, there was a well thing which reminded I-san of Yukichan. So I tried the washing hands thing… and she took some pics of me doing that lol. I-san commented that I was wearing purple like Yukichan, and so I was happy for a moment LOL
And we snapped photos of flowers and leaves too.
And we had a close view of a squirrel eating too :)
We had to walk through the residential area to get to Yoritomo’s grave. There were signs leading us there, but it was a zig-zag journey, loads of left and right turns…
After some time, we finally reached.
There was a bit of history of the place on a sign board.
But the actual grave was up there, had to climb a flight of stairs. Apart from us, there were only about 5 other people visiting the grave. This was the steps leading up to the grave.
And this was the grave itself:
And then, the view of the steps from the top:
It’s really quite a deserted place ne. And so, we took a walk back to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, back through the Omiyage Street, and back to Kamakura station. Along the way, it started to drizzle a bit, so we bought umbrellas. This time, I remembered to take it with me (and not leave it on the train like my previous trip for Enbujo’07) :)
I bought a black unfoldable one with white lace. I also bought some omiyages for my family and colleagues, and for myself, 3 Hello Kitty keitai straps – of Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Shizuka!! They are really kawaii~~ ^^
Then we took the Enoden (this tram thingie that runs along Kamakura to Fujisawa), heading for our next destination – Koshigoe! Along the way, we could see the beach and sea, and as it was raining, the view was somewhat like this:
I also snapped a pic of the rail route. I always do that, with routes and maps that I can find, so that I can use it as a map when we’re lost ne.
Anyway, we were in the last car of the train. And it IS important to know that, coz the Koshigoe station is SO SMALL that the last car’s doors are “out” of the station. i.e. the doors do not open at Koshigoe! We stupidly stood at the door, which didn’t open of course… until some nice obaasans and ojiisans told us to take the other door (although we didn’t understand what they were saying, with handsigns and stuff like that, we were able to get it). By the time we started walking towards the other cars, the train moved away from Koshigoe! LOL!
When I saw the station moving away from my view… this scene… reminds me of our fate with Yamada station during our Hachioji pilgrimage last year LOL!
So, we had to alight at the next station, which is Enoshima.
We crossed the train rails to get over to the other platform to take the train back. And almost stupidly boarded from the same door (which means, it won’t stop at Koshigoe again LOL *how blur can we get*).
We took a pic of the “sign” (telling passengers that the last car do not stop at Koshigoe) for memory sake :)
And so, we FINALLY got to Koshigoe station! *PHEW*
There were so many signs leading to Manpukuji Temple.
We walked along the road, and saw the sign to turn left into a small lane… And from there, we could see the steps leading to the temple.
We took that stairs up to the temple. From the top of that stairs, the street looks like this, with the Enoden railway line running through it:
And this is the sign board at the top of that flight of stairs.
The main entrance of the temple was a small door on the left, with an office in front. We had to take off our shoes before we view the place. And there was a small entrance fee too. I didn’t know it then, but I-san had taken a pic of me standing in front of the office and main entrance with my newly-bought umbrella *lol*
And beside that “main” entrance, there’s also a side one, which I don’t think can be entered…
There was another flight of stairs on our right. We didn’t know where it led to, probably a cafeteria, but when we reached up there, there was a small cemetery area. The view of the city from there was quite nice though.
Then we entered the temple. There were two stories but we couldn’t go up to the 2nd one, coz unfortunately, the temple was under maintenance and renovation (T_T) And all the Takki posters were gone. There was a guy painting the wall on a ladder too. It was just full of paint smell lol. But the most important “Koshigoe-Jo” (Letter of Koshigoe) was there. This was of course the letter that Yoshitsune-sama wrote to the officer under his brother Yoritomo, pleading him to put in a good word for him, so that he could be allowed into Kamakura, and pledging his allegiance to Yoritomo.
Yoshitsune-sama and his kerais stayed in this temple when his brother refused him entry to Kamakura. Many items in the temple were used by Yoshitsune and Benkei, for example a well which Yoshitsune uses to wash his hands, a pond where Benkei used to scoop water into the ink-stone to write the letter, a stone which Benkei sat on etc etc… We weren’t really sure what were the items coz 1) it was raining, 2) the temple was under reconstruction *lol*
Inside the temple, apart from the Koshigoe-Jo, there was also a miniature sized one. And some paintings of certain scenes on the sliding doors too. Eg. of the Ataka Pass scene where Yoshitsune and his kerais disguised as priests (this scene was also acted out in Enbujo’08), the scene where Yoshitsune was about to leave for battle, and Shizuka danced for him, Benkei’s last scene with many arrows in his body, etc…
There were also the staff of Benkei, and a bowl used by him. There are also some wine bottle with the word “Yoshitsune” on it, and a display cabinet of Yoshitsune-related figurines.
Then as we were about to leave, we saw inside the little office outside the temple, a Takki Yoshitsune clearfolder! And I-san asked if we could have one… The lady there thought for a while and finally decided to give us one. She said it’s “special” and only for us. She actually used it for their own office documents ne. She’s so nice… But I-san was even nicer coz she let me have it! Honto ni doumo arigato gozaimashita, I-san!! m(_ _)m *hugs* I was really very very happy ne!!!
We followed the directions given by Kaz, and tried to head for a temple across the street, but perhaps we went the wrong way coz we couldn’t get to the coast. But we found an eagle perched on top of a pole behind another toori gate, and also I took a photo of some flowers again. Along the way, there were so many eagles flying around that I-san started filming video :)
We found our way along the road to the coastline, and saw a warning sign – “Be careful of Eagles”. The eagles and crows were kinda scary ne, there were loads of them hovering and at a low height ne… And we tried to avoid them… by walking along the main road…
We headed towards Enoshima station, and on our left was the Shonan beach, that Ribi and I went to during Enbujo’07 last summer. Of course, it’s spring this time, so there weren’t any hot babes in bikinis or hot dudes to drool at. There were only surfers~~ and a couple strolling in the cold.
We were trying to avoid some eagles and crows (and you know how huge the crows in Japan are ne~ they are like the size of chickens!), but we managed to arrive safely at the Shonan-Enoshima station :)
Now, this monorail is of a different technology from the monorails I’ve taken. This one is hung from the top, i.e. the “rails” are on top of the train, not below.
It was a fresh experience taking it. And there were hardly any people on the train. So we took pics of ourselves with the Takki Yoshitsune clearfile – the one and only Takki item we got from this trip :)
Sou, we took the Shonan Monorail to Ofuna (can’t remember but it was either this or a station nearby) and changed train back to Tokyo. Wow, this was probably the coldest moment I experienced during this trip. At that train station waiting for the train back to Tokyo~ it was evening time, raining, cold, and there weren’t any hot drinks vending machine, and all I had was a thin outer cardigan lol… Fortunately the train came quite soon, and we headed back to our hotel.
On the journey back, I read the English translation of the Koshigoe-Jo that was given to me by the lady at Manpukuji. We were already in a “Yoshitsune mood” after watching 3 fantastic shows of Enbujo’08 over the past 2 days, and viewing 3 times that crazy dramatic bloody finale! Such a trip was so appropriate.
26 April 2008 was a day filled with Yoshitsune Love.
Probably, that’s also why it was raining.