鎌倉と腰越 4/26

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 :)

Enoshima Free Pass

So, we reached Kamakura station. I like the look of the station, a slightly ancient feel.

Kamakura Eki

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

Kamakura Omiyage street

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.

Toori gate at Junction

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.

Kamakura Hachimangu

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~

Hachimangu little bridge

We then walked towards the main shrine, and this was the view from far:

Hachimangu main shrine in Kamakura

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.

Little girl chasing pigeons

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…

Traditional Wedding

Traditional Wedding

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 :)

Kamakura Hachimangu shrine steps

Thousand year old Ginkgo Tree

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…

A dog at the shrine

Emas - Wooden Plagues

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:

Top view from the shrine

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…

View of the steps

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

Well which I washed my hands

And we snapped photos of flowers and leaves too.

Flowers

More Flowers

Leaves

And we had a close view of a squirrel eating too :)

Squirrel eating a nut

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…

Yoritomo grave in 300 metres - Sign

After some time, we finally reached.

Yoritomo grave in Kamakura

There was a bit of history of the place on a sign board.

Yoritomo grave information

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.

Steps leading to Yoritomo grave

And this was the grave itself:

Grave of Minamoto Yoritomo in Kamakura

And then, the view of the steps from the top:

View of the steps from Yoritomo grave

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~~ ^^

Hello Kitty keitai straps of Yoshitsune, Benkei and Shizuka

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:

View from the Enoden

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.

Train route in the Enoden

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.

Enoshima Station

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*).

Enoshima Train approaching from Station Platform

We took a pic of the “sign” (telling passengers that the last car do not stop at Koshigoe) for memory sake :)

Enoshima Station - 3 cars to Koshigoe

And so, we FINALLY got to Koshigoe station! *PHEW*

Koshigoe Station - Sign board

Koshigoe Station - Alight here to Manpukuji Temple

There were so many signs leading to Manpukuji Temple.

Signs to Manpukuji Temple

Signs to Manpukuji Temple

Signs 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.

Small lane leading to stairs of Manpukuji 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:

Stairs leading up to Manpukuji Temple

And this is the sign board at the top of that flight of stairs.

Entrance of Manpukuji Temple

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*

me with umbrella in rainy Koshigoe

And beside that “main” entrance, there’s also a side one, which I don’t think can be entered…

Side mini shrine thing of Manpukuji

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.

View of Koshigoe from the top of the stairs

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.

Koshigoe Jo at Manpukuji Temple

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*

Manpukuji Yoshitsune stone

Manpukuji - Well where Yoshitsune washed his hands

Manpukuji - Pond where Benkei used for the ink

Manpukuji - Stone Benkei used

Manpukuji - Stone which Benkei sat on

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…

Manpukuji miniature size Letter of Koshigoe

Manpukuji painting on sliding door - Ataka Pass

Manpukuji painting on sliding door - last moment of Benkei

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.

Genji logo on the weapons

Bowl used by Benkei

Yoshitsune wine bottle

Yoshitsune-related figurines in a cabinet

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 :)

Orange Flowers with Dew drops

Eagle on the pole behind Toori gate

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…

Fujisawa and Enoshima from Kamakura and Koshigoe

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.

Shonan Beach

Shonan Beach

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 :)

Shonan-Enoshima Monorail 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.

Shonan Monorail

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 :)

Us with the Yoshitsune clearfile

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.

Koshigoe-Jo English translation

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.

2 Responses to “鎌倉と腰越 4/26”

  1. simone says:

    I enjoyed reading your report.

    I went to Kamakura last April, on my “pilgrimage”. My experience was slightly different, as I was luckier with the weather, and I had the advantage of my Japanese friend guiding me around. At the time, it was sakuras and quinces blooming. But maybe the rain at the end of your visit was appropriate.

    Yoritomo’s tomb is a lonely place: he is not popular!

    Following Yoshitsune’s steps is actually a nice way to visit Japan. He moved around a fair bit!

  2. michelle says:

    yea, this is my first yoshitsune trip and i wanna continue the pilgrimage in later trips! you’re right, following yoshitsune’s steps is a good way to tour Japan. i’d love to go hiraizumi one day :)

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