Part 1 – Memoirs of Japan

Konnichiwa (Hello)

 

Japan is often called The Land of Rising Sun.  To me it is not just that, but a well-organised country with rich history, traditional architecture and culture and most importantly, punctuality. Time is very precious in this country and everything runs on time, to be even a second late is considered disrespectful. When we arrived into Kansai Airport from Sapporo we were a few minutes late; precisely 2 minutes, the captain apologized many times, and then a crew member apologized personally to every passenger on the way out of the plane.

Japan is a wonderful country and a place everyone should visit at least once in their  lifetime; it’s land of beautiful landscapes, old and new architecture, lush green mountains, beautiful temples and vibrant cities. Japan is a land of modern technology and one to has to be there to experience it. In this modern-day and age the Japanese people are very polite and gentle. They respect each other’s personal space, the best time to experience this is to take the subway during the peak times, you will find it quiet inside the train carriage, and you don’t hear people chatting nor speaking on their mobile phone nor watching videos on WhatsApp or You Tube without a headphones. If you watch closely you will see people reading a book but they don’t disclose what they are reading as it’s nicely wrapped in a plain brown paper cover.

During my last trip to Tokyo my travel companion Johnathon and I were trying to get to the Imperial Palace gardens and couldn’t find our way from Ginza. I politely asked a lady who was passing by but unfortunately she couldn’t speak a word of English and instead replied to us in Japanese and walked away. We were quite puzzled as what she meant, we anxiously waited at the same spot hoping that we could find someone who spoke English. We stood waiting at the same spot for more than 5 minutes and then suddenly the same lady we had spoken to appeared accompanied by another Japanese person who spoke fluent English. We learned that the lady actually tried to tell us that she was going to look around for someone who spoke English and help us with the directions to the Imperial Palace gardens. The Japanese people are not only known for their hard work but they are most courteous and extremely helpful.

The first part of the Memoirs of Japan will take you to an amazing UNESCO World Heritage site, Kamakura which is located nearby Tokyo.

Kamakura is an ancient city located 60 minutes from Tokyo Station on the JR Yokosuka line. A ticket costs 780 Yen from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station. The main sights in Kamakura are easily accessible on foot or a short trip by local buses from Kamakura Station. I prefer walking as you can experience the hustle and bustle of the small town . Not to be missed is the shopping, the busiest is on Komach-dori street. You should avoid going there on Sundays as Kamakura gets busy. The best way to get acquainted with the sights around Kamakura is to ask a volunteer guide outside the train station located next to the clock tower, as an added bonus they speak English.

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The closest site near the train station is Tsurugaoka Hachiman gu shrine , located just 10 minutes from the train station on foot. If you ascend the steps of the shrine, you will have a full view of the beautiful city of Kamakura.

Kamakura is also renowned for the famous Daibutsu , which means Great Buddha. This site can be reached either by a bus to Daibutsu or by catching a local train to Hase Station from Kamakura Station. The Buddha Statue was made in 1252. It’s height including the plinth is 13.35m and it weighs 121 tons. It is a beautiful statue, not only for its size but also has retained its appearance since it was  originally cast. At first, it was housed inside a building, but the building was washed away by a great tsunami at the end of the 15th century, and since then it has remained outside.

Another temple not to be missed is Hase-dera Temple, located few minutes by foot from Daibutsu. The historical Hase-dera Temple was built-in 736 AD. It’s  a great spot to visit during Fall to enjoy its lovely Autumn foliage. The Temple is situated on a hill and has a lovely view of the sea. It’s garden is worth a visit in any season for its beautiful flowers, seasonal plants and beautifully raked Zen garden.

It’s almost the end of the day,  and nice way to finish the day is to relax in Kaikoan Restaurant. Don’t forget to try powdered green Japanese tea, also worth a try are delicious Rice balls dipped in sweet syrup. There are also vegetarian options available in this restaurant. It’s time to start the journey back to Tokyo. A short 15-20 minutes easy stroll through the streets of Kamakura will take you to the train station or there are buses every 5 minutes to the train station.

Sayōnara (Bye)

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6 thoughts on “Part 1 – Memoirs of Japan

  1. Konnichiwa Satish! Your well documented article brought back sweet memories of my visit to Japan.You go there once & you’d want to go again & again-it’s such an exquisite Nation!

    Liked by 1 person

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