We got back on Sunday from our trip to Japan. We had stayed seven nights in Yokosuka. It was our one big trip for just the two of us before our baby boy arrives in October. It was an amazing experience, especially for someone like me who has never left the country or even been on an airplane before. I had my husband hang up these two wind chimes that I had bought as souvenirs.
We bought them both in Kamakura, the first in a little shop across from Hokokuji Temple where there is an impressive bamboo garden.
The second wind chime was bought on Komachi-dori Street, which is full of little shops and food booths. The man who owns the shop made the wind chimes himself using glass bottles.
I have to say that Kamakura was my favorite place to visit in Japan. It is a short train ride from Yokosuka. We actually visited it three times. I love Komachi-dori Street because it is full of so many cute shops, many of them with homemade items. There is also a store dedicated to Studio Ghibli products (Studio Ghibli produces popular Japanese animation films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle). On two of our visits, I stopped at a stand that makes steamed buns filled with a red bean paste. I’m not sure what they are called, but I am determined to find out and see if I can make them myself because they are so yummy.
Komachi-dori Street is very popular because it is near an even more popular tourist spot: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
The walk from the train station to the shrine is also very nice. There is a tree and flower lined street that you walk down to get to the shrine. Wakamiya-oji Street is very beautiful despite the fact that we were about a month late to see the cherry blossoms in bloom.
We were stopped several times by school children also visiting the shrine.
The Japanese school children wear matching hats! We were stopped by five groups of them. Most of the Japanese people there know at least a little English, and the children were doing a school assignment to practice. It was very cute. They would start out by saying hello and asking us if they can talk with us. Of course we always said yes. They would each say, “My name is __. It is nice to meet you,” and each would shake our hand. They would ask us for our names and ask that we write it in their work book. They would show us a map and ask us to point to where we are from. They would also ask us a couple of other questions like: “do you like sushi?” or “Do you like anime?” or “Do you like Daibutsu?” which is the Great Buddha that we visited. Then they would ask to take a picture with us, and lastly they would thank us by giving us a gift. We now have a little collection of hand made bookmarks and origami from the children we talked to.
Although we visited many places in Japan, Kamakura will remain my favorite.