We had one full free day in Japan, so a group of MIMers decided to leave Tokyo go to another city called Kamakura, approximately an hour away by train. Naoki, our only Japanese MIMer led the way. The first thing Naoki did when we got to Kamakura was hit up the city center to pick up English maps and brochures for us. I teased Naoki that we did not need any of these things if we had him with us but he still insisted that we did need these items, and he was right.
One of the maps was so useful—not only did it have a map on it but it also explained how to take a bus in Japan, popular and good souvenirs to take home with you, as well as explaining the different levels of good and bad fortune (should you choose to pay for your fortune at a temple) and what you should do with it if you do not like the fortune you were issued (you are supposed to tie it to a tree for the gods to review).
We spent the next 10 hours following Naoki around Kamakura. We took different trains and walked to get to one of their most famous temples, visited the second largest Buddha in Japan, ate buckwheat soba noodle soup in a tatami room, tried delicious Japanese snacks, shopped for souvenirs and experienced Enoshima Island with it’s Hawaiian-themed shops and seafood specialties.
Our group was so lucky that we got to take this day trip in beautiful spring weather. It was still relatively cold but most of our day out was bright and sunny. It was so nice to get away from the busy busy Tokyo city (which by the way, I do love) and experience another side of Japan. Naoki said many poets live in Kamakura because it is such a beautiful place that it inspires poets to write poems about it.