We took the train to Kamakura today with our guide Toshi; on the way to the JR station, we passed a Really Big Clock.

Ni-Tele Really Big Clock

We visited four main sites in Kamakura, starting with Engaku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.

Buddha in Butsuden
In the Butsuden
Gate Carvings
Gate Carvings
Zen Garden
Ogane (Great Bell)

Next, we visited Hōkokuji Temple, otherwise known as the Bamboo Temple. It, too, is in the Rinzai Zen sect.

Tombs of Ashikagas
Bamboo Forest
Bamboo Forest
Hohokuji Temple Bell
Still in the garden

Our next stop was the main Shinto shrine in Kamakura, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Photography wasn’t permitted in the shrine itself, but there was a lot going on elsewhere on the grounds, including a wedding.

Pond at Hachimangu
Shinto Wedding
Wedding party

After lunch, we continued on to the Great Buddha of Kamakura.

Gate to the Great Buddha
The Great Buddha of Kamakura
Perspective is everything
Gate Guardian at the Great Buddha

And our final visit was to Hasedera, which was built in 736 CE (the other sites we visited were relative youngsters, having been built between the 11th and 14th centuries). It is dedicated to Kannon, the deity who grants wishes in this life.

Amida-do Hall
Sho-Kannon Bosatsu
Turning the Mani-Guruma
In Benten Cave
Benzaiten (dedicated)

Speaking of wishes, we were very fortunate not to have to take a crowded train back to Tokyo – we all got seats for the entire ride!