Japan Day 4

Let’s see what’s outside Tokyo!

Scheduled:

9:19 AM Kamakura w Enoshima railway*
10:14 AM Arrive –
10:30 AM Great Buddha of Kamakura
12:00 PM Hasadera temple

*Activate JR Pass!

We planned to activate our JR Pass (that allowed us to ride bullet trains, among other transport benefits) on the 4th day. The pass would stay active through our city-hopping and our remaining time in Tokyo when we returned, meaning we wouldn’t have to re-up our metro pass balances anymore.

We went to Shibuya station early to activate our pass and were on our way to Kamakura, a seaside Japanese city just south of Tokyo. Once we arrived at the main station, we transferred to a small railway. This was our first time encountering very minimal English translations but still found it incredibly easy to figure out where to go.

In Kamakura, our first stop was – you guessed it – food (if you didn’t guess it, you’ll soon catch on quickly). The very first stand we saw was for some type of octopus cracker.

Straight up full octopus, covered in batter and pressed into a paper thin chip

Jon said it was amazing but, looked pretty gross to me :p

Now that we got that out of the way, we were on our way to Kotokuin Temple to see the great Amida Buddha.

The second largest bronze Buddha in Japan, cast in 1252

We took in the scenery and were just in awe to witness something that has been standing for over 700 years.

Afterwards, we circled back to visit Hasadera temple, famous for its eleven-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. But first,

Sweet rice balls in a sticky soy sauce

The entrance to Hasadera was down a narrow alley, but opened to beautiful scenery

Hasadera temple behind Jon

Gilded wooden Kannon statue

Set against coastal views of Kamakura

We continued walking the streets and window shopping for sweets and souvenirs before returning to the train station to make our way back to Tokyo.

We spent the evening meandering along the busy streets of Shibuya before settling on a spot for dinner, hidden away on the 4th floor of a side alley.

Waiting for Gyoza (not as good as Harajuku’s)

It only took our fourth day to finally notice Hachikō, remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner. He would leave the house to greet his owner at Shibuya station at the end of each day, which continued for more than nine years after his owner’s death. We even had this attraction listed on our day 2 agenda, which we passed by each and every time we took the subway line.

Faithful dog Hachikō

Day 4 Tip: If you plan on traveling to more than two cities other than Tokyo, it may be worth it for you to book a JR Pass, a joint offering of the six companies comprising the Japan Railways Group. It’s roughly ~$250 for a 7 day pass or ~$400 for 14 but gives you access to almost all rail lines once activated.

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