During our stay in Kyoto two weeks ago Mark and I visited seven different temples and shrines in three days. I loved the time to wander at my own pace, and I made myself a promise to visit similar sites closer to home.
So this morning my day began rather typically–after getting the kids out the door to school, I started laundry and took the dog to the vet for shots. With the basics covered, I hopped in the car and headed for Kamakura, a city 25 km to the south.
Like Kyoto, Kamakura served as Japan’s capital before Tokyo. And like Kyoto, Kamakura features dozens of religious sites, with sixty-five temples and nineteen shrines. Previously I have visited well known places like Hasedera, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu and the giant Buddha at Kotoku-in. For today’s outing I decided to venture out to new temples.
Originally I intended to follow one of the excellent hiking courses recommended by the City of Kamakura website. I mentioned my planned outing to my friend Janet, and she immediately suggested a stop at the Bamboo Temple, Hokokuji. I decided to start my visit there, then see whatever else was nearby. That led to stops at Jomyoji Temple and Sugimotodera, the oldest temple in Kamakura.
While I considered asking a friend or two to join me, I ultimately decided to make it a solo outing for purely selfish reasons. I wanted the chance to wander as I wanted, or linger at different places, or spend ten minutes taking the same photo over and over with slightly different camera settings without worrying about inconveniencing someone else.
Ninety minutes and three temples later, I returned the car and headed home to the afternoon routine of more laundry, homework, instrument practice, and dinner prep.
I hope to visit more new-to-me Kamakura sites on a regular basis. And next time I may even bring a friend or two along.