Date & Time: Saturday, January 26, 11:00 a.m. – 4:20 p.m.
Spots: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hasedera Temple and Kotoku-in (The Great Buddha)
Visitors: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) trainees from Ecuador (5),
Pakistan (3), Nicaragua (3), Afghanistan (2), Uruguay (2), El Salvador (2), Tajikistan (2),
Nigeria (2), Vietnam (2), Malaysia (2), Iraq (1), India (1), Indonesia (1), Ukraine (1),
Kyrgyzstan (1), Sri Lanka (1), Serbia (1), Paraguay (1), Bangladesh (1), Brazil (1)
Attendants: 18 KSGG members
Languages: English and Spanish
Under the clear blue sky, 35 young trainees from 20 countries around the world and KSGG members, putting their hearts into a Kamakura tour, enjoyed themselves enthusiastically in the severely cold winter day. The JICA trainees had a variety of cultural backgrounds and religions, and some were not interested in Buddhism and Shinto. Therefore, I tried to explain the Japanese temples and shrines as our culture and custom, and to show we worship our gods there. I noticed that Muslim and Christian visitors didn’t seem to be keen to pray with their hands together in front of their chests.
At Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine, we had a chance to see Yakuyoke daikito, a religious service to ward off evil spirits. With great interest they saw the Shinto priest chant prayers and burn last year’s amulets. Some of them tried Omikuji, fortune telling paper. At Kotoku-in, they all enjoyed posing with the Great Buddha for photos. Taking pictures is one of the common enjoyments in any country.