Roundtrip in Japan: Tokyo & Kamakura - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Roundtrip in Japan: Tokyo & Kamakura

On Saturday I met up with my family in Tokyo, but since we used longer time than expected before we finally met at the hotel we did not really do that much the first day. Our hotel was located in the Ginza area, which is good if you like to shop for expensive brands, but there is not that much to see there to be honest.
My family had bought the documents you need to exchange for the Japan Railway Pass before they came to Japan, but they hadn´t had the chance to get the actual pass when at the airport. Therefor we went by the underground to Shinjuku to get it done, and spent rest of the day in that area. In Shinjuku we checked out the so-called Electric Street (電気街) where they have large electric stores such as Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera.
We also caught some glimpses of a group of girls in unique Tokyo fashion outfits.. Interesting.. ;p

Big TV-screens on the buildings literary screaming TOKYO!

And of course we got to see some art as well.

Instead of using a lot of time and energy to get to Tokyo Tower we decided to stop by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government instead since it was in the Shinjuku area. The entrance to the observatory in the 45th floor is free, so the decision was not really hard to make.

View from Tokyo Metropolitan Government

They also sell souvenirs on the observatory floor.

And since the entrance to the observatory was free we rather spent some money in the café looking at the nice view while eating chocolate cake! :D

Chocolate cake + nice view of Tokyo

After our stop by the observatory we walked south towards the Meiji Jingu (明治神宮) temple in the Shibuya area of Tokyo. Meiji Jingu is located in the north part of the Yoyogi-park, and personally I think walking through the park was about just as nice as the temple itself.

The entrance to Meiji Jingu.

After the visit to Meiji Jingu we wanted to go to Harajuku, but ended up taking a roundtrip around the Yoyogi park. When we arrived at Harajuku station we were tired and decided to call it a day.

Kamakura 鎌倉
To get out of the chaotic rush in Tokyo sure was good! After Tokyo our first destination was the historical city Kamakura, situated about one hour south from Tokyo by train.

The Kamakura train station. Here they have lockers where travelers can leave their luggage while heading for the many temples in the area. We decided to take a walk from the station to see the statue of the Great Buddha, and on the way we walked through some really cozy small streets.

Though our main goal in Kamakura was to see the statue of the Great Buddha, we also stopped by the temple Hasedera (長谷寺) on the way there.

In this temple-area one of the interesting things we got to see was this army of small Jizo -statues.

A picture of one of the bigger statues surrounded by smaller ones.

The main temple itself houses Japans largest wooden statue. It is not allowed to take pictures though.

In addition to the temple and the beautiful garden the view from the temple area was pretty good as well.

In the Hasedera temple area there is also a cave called Benten-kutsu. The cave is situated in the south-east part of the place, just look for the red tōri.

Inside this cave you can, among other things, see statues of the sea goddess Benzaiten chiseled into the mountain side.

One of the smaller passages in the cave. The ceiling is low and it is pretty dark in some areas of the cave, so be sure to watch your steps! I must say it really was an interesting experience though.!

Spring is in the air!

From Hasedera it only takes a small walk to get to Kōtokuin (高徳院). This is the place where you can see the statue of the Great Buddha (大仏). This bronze statue was constructed in 1252, and is Japans second largest Buddha statue.

A closer picture of the Great Buddha.

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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