Kamakura – one of Tokyo’s escapes

At the end of our trip we returned to Tokyo for a few days. As we had seen most of what we wanted to see we decided to escape from Tokyo for a day. As it was sunny what better place than to the beachside town of Kamakura, once the capital hundreds of years ago. It is only about an hour by train. On the way we were lucky enough to have views of Mt Fuji.

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On arrival in Kamakura we joined the masses of daytrippers exiting the station. Map in hand we headed out towards the beach, passing a number of cafes and shops selling handcrafts and clothes. After about half an hour we came down to the beach, a large expanse.

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Even though it was sunny it was quite cool so not a lot of people were on the beach but we thought we would eat our picnic lunch on the beach. It didn’t take long to find a spot and start to set ourselves up. Suddenly I was hit on the head, or so I thought at first. Upon looking up and around I realised I had actually been swooped by a bird. Before I could react I was swooped again by what we now saw to be hawks. There were quite a few hovering on the breeze above the beach.

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At least I’d only been hit not hurt. It didn’t take long to quickly pack up our food and seek shelter at the back of the sand against a brick wall. This turned out to be no better as another hawk swooped in from the side just missing us. By this stage we came to the conclusion that we would have to picnic elsewhere. No wonder so few people were on the beach. Back up to the esplanade we went and continued walking. Amazingly we were no longer of interest to the hungry hawks. Soon after we came to a major t-intersection. Right there was a sign warning people about the hawks. Too bad there hadn’t been one where we had first arrived at the beachfront!

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It was a shame we weren’t as prepared as this group.

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As we walked along we saw windsurfers,

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surfers

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and even the odd stand-up paddle-boarder.

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Not seeing any park to stop at we walked through the town. Perhaps it would be better in the hills above the town. Along the way we passed a rare sight in Japan, a (Methodist) church.

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After about half an hour, mostly walking uphill, we came to a shrine gate with an entry into a tunnel. Apparently it led to one of Kamakura’s five famous springs. It was the Ugafukujin temple.

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From there we continued up, reaching an excellent viewpoint back down to the sea.

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Continuing up we finally came to another shrine.

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From there the trail lead through the forest for a couple of kilometres to Kamakura’s second train station, Kita Kamakura. Rather than walking all the way back we decided to follow this trail. It was an uphill and downhill trail

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but through some lovely forest.

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As we approached the town we came to another temple with a small craft market nearby.

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Near the end we came to yet another small temple.

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After that it was only about ten minutes walk along the main street of Kita Kamakura, with its share of souvenir shops, galleries and cafes, to the station and back to bustling Tokyo on the train.

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Dinner was at a local neighbourhood pizza restaurant, Popolare, just near our apartment. Fortunately one of the waitresses spoke excellent English and was able to translate the Japanese menu for us. Lovely food and a friendly atmosphere.

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