Date & Time: Thursday, June 20, 9:30 am − 4:00 pm
Places Visited: Hasedera Temple, Kotokuin Temple(Great Buddha), Jomyoji Temple, Hokokuji Temple, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Visitor: Milton-san, An American
Attendant: 1 KSGG member
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2019 3:24 PM
To: Milton-san’s friends
Subject: Temples, Shrines and Takako-san(Mrs.), a KSGG guide
KSGG, Kanagawa Systematized Goodwill Guide, provides volunteer English-speaking guides for tourists in the Kanagawa prefecture. Through the JNTO website I was put in contact with Tak-san(Mr.) of KSGG who requested I complete an application with the dates of travel, the sites I wanted to visit, and the number of people in my party. He responded promptly, and by good fortune was able to find Takako-san available on very short notice for that briefest of times that I had to visit Kamakura. Takako-san and I had a delightful day together and this is our story.
She is a retired teacher having taught English at a level that give her students an opportunity to succeed in commercial enterprises beyond Japan. To this end she has also challenged herself in traveling solo or with her husband to all of the English speaking countries in the world: UK ( London, Scotland, Ireland, Wales), Australia, U.S. (California, New York, Yellowstone, and Denali) and Canada. Her reason being if she is to teach it, she should demonstrate facility in using it. She keeps herself busy in retirement by practicing piano daily, playing racquetball, and guiding for KSGG.
Takako-san (she wrote out her name in Kanji (Chinese characters) and I interpreted it correctly. She uses it as her user name for her email address fragrancexxx.
Kamakura with a population of 175k is 20 minutes by train from Yokohama. Surrounded by mountains on one side and the sea on other side it was favored by shoguns for its strategic location. Today tourist and residents flock to the city primarily to see the Great Buddha (Daibutsu).
In addition there are Buddhist temples dating back to the early sixteenth century and still being maintained with dry and wet gardens. Hokokuji temple grounds.
And Shinto Shrines with their Torii gates – Maruyama-Inari Shrine.
We had completed the macha tea tasting at Hokokuji temple and basked in the cool confines of the bamboo forest. It was mid-afternoon. The humidity was near oppressive and the crowds taxing. We agreed on visiting Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the only Shinto shrine on the list. We crossed into the large courtyard seen in the first photo. She wanted to tell me something special about the site so we moved away from the crowds to a shady spot. She pulled a photo of an archer dressed in feudal costume on horseback from her guide folder. Twice a year on this site, there is a demonstration of the archer at full gallop shooting at three targets located along the long corridor where we stood. Meanwhile two women stood to side near us glancing in our direction. When we finished, one approached her. A former student from ten years ago wanted to greet and thank her for encouraging her to study English. She is a flight attendant on ANA, Japan’s second largest international airline company. I slipped to the side and took this photo of the corridor and of their reunion. She was pleased and so was I to have this story to tell after our wonderful day together. Cost of this service- travel fare and lunch for the guide. All told about $25. Who says you can’t have quality without spending a bundle?