On my recent trip to Japan, I had the pleasure of visiting The Great Buddha of Kamakura, one of Japan’s most famous icons. Like many travelers, I was eager to see to the 13.35 meters tall (43.8 feet) and 270,000 lbs bronze statue in person. Although I had seen images of the Great Buddha hundreds of times, none of them came close to what I experienced that day: the statue as well as Kamakura were covered in snow.
I saw the Great Buddha and surrounding temples during my Walking Tour of Kamakura offered by Japanican.com. Due to the bad weather, I was the only person on the tour that day. Being the only brave soul to venture on a walking tour of Kamakura on one of the coldest days in Japanese history had a few perks. Kamakura was fairly quiet, the temples and shrines usually flooded with tourist, were calm with an intimate atmosphere. I nearly had the town all to myself.
In the morning we left Tokyo and took a 60 minute journey to Kamakura via train. Once there, our first stop was the Hasedera Temple. The Hasedera Temple is home to large statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. I was not permitted to take pictures of the statue but believe me when I say it was remarkable. The Kannon statue is gilded in gold and has 11 heads. Legend says that the statue was once thrown into the ocean, set adrift to decide for itself where it should be worshiped. It eventually made it’s way to Kamakura where the Hasedera temple was then built around it. The temple, located on a steep hill, is also a place to get an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately on this day with the snow and freezing rain, I didn’t see much of the ocean but I did snap a few picture of the temple grounds.
I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked. I was absolutely frozen because it was snowing with this wintery mix kinda deal. After the temple, we headed to the Great Buddha statue where I snapped more pictures and then it was time for lunch. My Japanican tour also included a rickshaw hire. Due to the weather I did not have the heart to ask the rickshaw man to cart me around town. ( The roads were so slippery.) I ended up cancelling the afternoon section of the tour because the snow showed no signs of letting up and I was soaked with widdle icicles for toes. BUUURR!
Apparently I was super lucky to visit Kamakura that day and see it covered in snow. The few people that I came across mentioned that it hadn’t snowed like that in years. The frozen appendages were totally worth it. I really enjoyed my Walking Tour of Kamakura and the history of this magical place.
How long would you have lasted on a walking tour in weather like this? I lasted about 4.5 hours. I’m a chicken.
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