Exploring the best kamakura gardens
Kamakura has some of the most beautiful gardens and temples around Japan and the Tokyo area. Here are a few of my favorite Kamakura gardens.
With these last few weeks in Japan, I’ve been insanely busy trying to go back to all the places I love. The awful thing about living in a country so far away is that this place you’ve fallen so in love with is literally on the other side of the world.
One of the places dearest to my heart is Kamakura. This is one of my favorite places on Earth. I relish the days I go to Kamakura. I’m convinced that in my past life, I had a garden, a beautiful one. Perhaps that explains my affinity for them today.
But, so much history sits around every corner of Kamakura’s tiny cobblestone streets.
Kamakura became the political center of Japan in 1192 and is often referred to as an ancient Samurai city, as the government was set up by warriors at the start of the Shogunate.
Kamakura was the capitol of Japan during the Kamakura period, between 1185-1333 and is also the root of Zen Buddhism in Japan. But history aside, I came here often to eat lunch, stroll the streets, visit ancient temples and go hiking. There’s a ton of great cafes and kissaten cafes too where you can have a traditional Japanese experience.
From Yokohama, Kamakura is only a short twenty minute train ride.
Garden House kamakura
We hopped off the West side and first went to a restaurant we really like called Garden House Kamakura. It’s a beautiful cafe built into a garden. And today, we decided to take our dog on our little excursion. Aside from sometimes the slow service, the food is pretty awesome. Garden House is one of our favorite cafes in Kamakura.
But all these signs tell you not to step foot near the pool, which was hard for me as I wanted to grab pictures up a lot closer. But it’s probably for the best as crowds of people would totally spoil this tranquil scene.
We walked about twenty minutes through the neighborhood to Hasedera Temple which houses a famous statue, Hase-Kannon which was first carved by a monk in 721 AD. It then found its way to Kamakura, miraculously, and Hasedera Temple was constructed in honor of it.
The statue Kannon itself means “the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy,” it’s neither male or female in gender. It’s a Bodhisattva, or a future Buddha destined for enlightenment so it represents compassion, mercy, and love. It’s a highly sacred statue and is impressively over 30 feet tall, but you’re understandably not allowed to take photos of it.
But we threw coins into the shrine, lit a votive, and said a few prayers. There’s something about Buddhist temples that I find overwhelmingly peaceful. It’s a positive peaceful energy completely unlike any cathedral or mosque I’ve ever been to.
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