Here’s the rest of our day in Kamakura. (Part 1)
Remember before I went to Japan the first time and I bought myself my first ever pair of Chucks? Now, I’m obsessed. These 2 are cool!
Our next stop was Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, a Shinto shrine not too far from Kamakura Station. The main torii gate marks the entrance to the pathway leading up to the shrine buildings. Along the way, instead of the usual food stalls, there were stalls selling vegetables, fruit and candy.
After the gate, there are two bridges – one for walking across (the red one) and one (the curved stone one)… for looking at??? It was blocked off with a gate at either end.
Konpeito is one of my favourite traditional Japanese treats. Like probably a lot of gaijin, my introduction to these “sugar stars” came from Spirited Away.
There was a steep drop off on the right hand side of the stairs. With no railing and a lot of children and elderly going up and down, it made me nervous.
There is no photography allowed inside the shrine area. We didn’t realize but that seemingly blase looking security guard let us know!
There was a separate Inari shrine off to the side and up a hill. It was so windy up there. Look at the flags whipping around.
When we finished at the shrine, we were exhausted and could barely walk. We needed to rest our feet so we thought the best way to get back to the station was in a rickshaw. They usually only have certain routes you can choose from and none of those went to the station but we were lucky that they modified one for us. Our driver, Takuya-san, gave us local history and information while he wove in and out of the backstreets on the way to the station. He was really funny too. If you ever find yourself in Kamakura, we recommend the rickshaw tours!
After resting our feet, both while being pulled around and then taking the train back to Tokyo, we were able to fit in one more stop for the day – Tokyo Station! In most countries, a train station wouldn’t be exciting or considered a place to visit in itself, but the stations in Japan are so much more than JUST a place to find transportation. The basement level of Tokyo Station is massive and like a whole other city. Ramen Street, Okashi (Sweets) Street, and Character Street are must-see destinations.
Our first stop was Ramen Street. We chose Hirugao for our dinner. (Read about what we thought in the 15 Ramen in 15 Days post.)
Okashi Street was interesting to see but we didn’t buy anything. It was really crowded too.
On Character Street, we spotted a little pop-up booth selling this adorable “Old Man Panda“. He’s apparently a brand new character. I regret not getting one for myself!
The Rilakkuma Store is always a winner. We bought a giant Korilakkuma stuffie for Niecey for Christmas and a mug for ourselves (mostly for me 🙂 ). The stuffies with Skytree are cute but since we aren’t going there this time, I decided to pass.
I had to stop for another rest. My feet felt like they were bleeding! (I covered up my sock-clad toes under my coat as I tried to stretch them out a bit.) There was nowhere to sit at all so I just plopped down on the floor and hoped I didn’t get in trouble. The timing was great though because as I sat there, a crowd gathered and a little show was put on a few feet away. We couldn’t understand what was being said at all but they introduced Kapibara-san to the crowd. (There is a person inside that tower of Kapi who “danced” around – as much as one could inside such a suit.)
And then, my absolute favourite – Donguri Garden – an official Studio Ghibli store! I wanted everything in there, but it’s all ridiculously expensive so I didn’t buy anything. I especially loved the Deidarabotchi (Nightwalker) figure. It was several hundred dollars!
Off in one corner, there was Frog & Toad merch, which I found really strange because that’s obviously not Ghibli. I took a couple pictures to show my mom. She used to read us the books when I was little.
Since there was no ramen had yesterday, Hubby felt he needed to catch up. Before we went home for the night, we stopped off again at Ramen Street and Hubby had one more bowl at Tonari. I was still full so I just sat there with him, glad for the rest, even though it was unbelievably cramped in there.
We have begun our Kit Kat hoarding already. A portion of them will be for souvenir gifts but we will be taste-testing them all at some point for our video series – although who knows when I’ll get around to uploading them since I haven’t even posted the ones from 2010 yet. Oops.
Quick snack before going to bed. I loved that omuraisu onigiri I had the first night and found some more. They’re really good! Such a simple snack but it’s something I know I’m going to miss when I go home.
Because WordPress is weird, when I group pictures together I can’t put links into the photo descriptions. I’m too tired to deal with it now so I’m just going to list some things here.
Nameko – the phallus-looking mushroom character (Get your head outta the gutter.)
Funassyi – Funabashi’s charcter mascot (He’s a pear? Really?!?)