Date & Time: Wednesday, October 4, 10:00 am – 6:15 pm
Spots: Engakuji Temple, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hasedera Temple, Kotoku-in Temple (Great Buddha), Kamakurakokomae Enoden Station
Visitors: A Chinese couple in their 20s
Attendant: 1 KSGG member
I met up with a woman from Dalian, China and her boyfriend at Kitakamakura Station. We started our tour from Engakuji Temple. It was a weekday in early autumn and not the best time to enjoy the autumn leaves, so we did not see a lot of tourists in the temple. The temple was lively because a lot of kindergartners were playing sports at the open space in front of the Butsuden*1 and a group of primary school students were practicing Zazen or zen meditation in the o-hojo*2 .
We moved to Kamakura Station by JR line. We had an early lunch at the conveyor-belt sushi bar they had researched in advance. We savored fresh fish and seafood, such as raw whitebait battleship sushi, directly delivered from Misaki Port. At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, they drew fortunes slips, and the results were sue-kichi (some good luck) and kyo (bad luck).
I taught the boy who drew kyo how to pray to the gods to cast away bad luck. At Hasedera Temple, they got their luck by touching an image called Touch Daikoku or one of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune, and smiled standing next to a peaceful bodhisattva statue, Nagomi Jizo. After they offered prayers to the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple, they went to the railway crossing in front of the Kamakurakokomae Enoden Station. The crossing is seichi or a holy site for the fans of Japanese manga “Slam Dunk,” which is highly popular among visitors from Taiwan and China. I was surprised to see so many tourists compared to before. At the request of the visitors, we crossed Route 134 and went down to the beach. After the planned tour was over, they were eager to have real ramen noodles. So I took them to a long-established restaurant near Yokohama Station, where they enjoyed the taste of Sapporo-style ramen.
Note:(Butsuden*1: the main hall, where the principal object of worship is enshrined, O-hojo*2: the chief priest’s living quarters)