Kamakura and a Baseball Game
On Wednesday I went with my friend down to Kamakura to see some of the famous shrines and temples in the area. Then on Saturday I went to another professional baseball game, but this one was between the Chiba Marines and the Tokyo Swallows.
We started off at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, which has a beautiful walkway that leads up to the temple. There is a red torii at the beginning of the walkway that leads to a big red gate before arriving at the temple. It’s slightly atop a hill and set back into the trees which makes for a fantastic view.
After that we made our way to Kenchoji. The most memorable part was probably the big wooden gate. The worn wood of the gate and the temple itself gave everything an old feel. Unlike some of the other temples that are a bright orange or red color, the normal wood of this shrine gave off the feel that this had been around forever.
Next we went to Meigetsuin which is particularly popular in June because of all the Hydrangea flowers. It’s a little more expensive if you go to the temple in June as opposed to another time, but I think the view of the rows of Hydrangea flowers was worth it. I’ve seen Hydrangea flowers before, but I had never seen so many in one area, and it definitely filled the whole area with an enjoyable aroma.
Next we stopped by Engakuji. It hadn’t been on the original list of places I wanted to visit, but I’m glad we made the detour. The temple itself was nice, but I particularly liked the area leading up to shrine. There were small ponds with traditional Japanese houses tucked into trees. When I say that my dream house is a traditional Japanese style house, this is what I imagine.
Zeniarai Benten was a little bit of a hike to get to. It’s tucked away up in a mountain, but getting there was a really cool experience. You actually have to walk through a small rock tunnel in order to get to the shrine area. The temple itself is tucked away in the overhang of one of the rocks. On the opposite side of the area is another smaller offering box next to a waterfall.
Lastly, we went to Kotokuin, which is known for it’s large Buddha statue set in the middle of the area. It’s the second largest Buddha statue in Japan (the first being in Nara at Todaiji Temple). When my friend suggested going to Kotokuin, I agreed, but at the time I hadn’t realized what it was famous for. I remember rounding the corner to be greeted by the statue and immediately stopped and was like, “Wow, that’s a big Buddha,” haha.
On Saturday I went to see another professional baseball game. We chose to go to this game because it was my friend’s favorite team and because they were giving jerseys to everybody who attended the game. Because they were giving out the jerseys, it’s no surprise that the place was packed. What was surprising was that not everybody was able to get seats. The problem was that the upper decks were not reserved seats. Even though people only bought one ticket, they would take up more than one seat, for example putting their bag on the seat next to them. It meant that not everybody was able to get seats, and some people ended up having to wait out in the hall while the staff at the stadium worked to find available seats.
Eventually they managed to clear the very top row of the stadium and create standing space so people who were willing to stand could at least get inside the stadium and watch the game. We were one of the people who decided to stand. I didn’t really mind. We had already missed the first two innings of the game because we were trying to find seats, so I was just glad that we were able to watch the game.
The game itself was pretty good. I’m sure you can guess by look at the pictures what team I was rooting for. There were definitely some good plays and hits by both teams, but I’m happy to say that the Marines beat the Swallows 4-2. However, I think one of the most amusing parts of the game was that, when there was a pitcher change, the new pitcher would arrive in the stadium in a fancy car. They were literally driving a fancy sports car on the field of the stadium. It was totally unnecessary, but pretty cool, haha.