A Happy Family from France Enjoys Kamakura Despite the Scorching Heat

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Date & Time: Monday, July 23, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Spots: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Komachidori Street, Hasedera Temple, and Kotokuin Temple (Great Buddha)
Visitors: A family of four from France
Attendant: 1 KSGG member
Language: French

It must have been the most scorching day of this summer. I took to Kamakura a family of four from a French town close to Geneva, Switzerland. We first headed straight to the Lifelong Learning Center building to take shelter from the heat and I made an introductory talk on the day’s tour. We bought plenty of water and then started. They were a father who was a good walker, a lively mother, a son who was a college student and loved Japan very much, and a sweet daughter, a high school student. They were very happy celebrating their son’s 20th birthday in Japan. They energetically climbed the stone steps of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and as I showed them the site where a samurai named Sanetomo* was assassinated, they would stand at the spot asking “Was it here? When the children drew fortune telling slips, Mom peered into them with a great interest, which gave me a warm feeling thinking that the way parents care for their children was the same in all countries.

We visited Hasedera Temple in the afternoon. They were overwhelmed by the size of statue of the Eleven Faced Kannon Bodhisattva and looked interestedly at the Kannon’s 33 transformation statues. The temple precincts were relatively quiet, and the family seemed to like them. They enjoyed the Great Buddha at the end. Since they would visit the Buddha of Nara in Kansai (the western part of Japan) after this tour, I explained the differences between the one in Kamakura and the one in Nara. All the family members were so close to each other, and they all had beautiful smiles on in every photo that was taken. The happy experience blew the summer heat away.

*Sanetomo was the third leader of the Kamakura Shogunate. He was assassinated by his nephew Kugyo at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in 1219.