A few weeks ago my summer school holiday started and what better way to kick things off then with a day trip?! During my first few months in Tokyo I haven’t exactly been a social butterfly because I knew summer was coming and with it a lack of assignments and therefore money. However, I planned accordingly my first few months during my antisocial period and now I’m allowing myself to explore a bit. Just don’t expect me to start balling out of control and pop bottles at the club.
July 19 was my day trip day. I had a bit of a lazy morning and didn’t make it to Kamakura until about noon. Kamakura is a little over an hour from Shinjuku station, making it about 1.5 hours from my doorstep. I wish I left a little earlier, or followed the recommended path DoD told me and somehow neglected to see. Most the temples and shrines close at around 16h30, but the bamboo temple closes at 16h so plan accordingly. I was nearing the entrance to the bamboo temple when I noticed it’d be closing in 5 minutes. I was a bit disappointed. Also, I made the mistake of not buying the all day bus pass. I thought Kamakura was more walkable. It isn’t. Pay the 500 or 600 yen and enjoy the comfort of a semi air conditioned bus. It beats walking in the brutal Japan sun.
First Stop: Kotoku-in aka Big Buddha
Second Stop: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
It may seem like my day trip was a complete failure. However, it wasn’t. The shortcomings were my a result of my own lack of preparedness. It’s been a while since I’ve had to plan a solo trip so mishaps are bound to happen. In the end, I visited some major landmarks and enjoyed my day. I even had a mini photo shoot with an adorable couple in yukatas.
If you plan on visiting Kamakura, I recommend the following:
1. Get there early. I underestimated how much time I needed to visit the city. Granted on a hot day it’s rough being outside so long. Recharge at coffee shops or cafes.
2. Don’t be a cheapo. Buy the bus pass. You’ll save money, time, and overall comfort.
3. Go to the Bamboo temple first. It’s a bit out of the way and closed the earliest. Apparently my friend told me this information and I somehow neglected to see the message.
4. Plan around a beach picnic lunch. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, I mean who wants to eat a sandwich filled sandwich? But, I love the beach. When I lived in France no day was complete without visiting the Mediterranean Sea. From my front door in Tokyo though, the closest beach is about 1.5 hours away and it isn’t anything worth saving about. I miss the beach, especially on a hot sunny day. The beach sand in Kamakura is compacted and hard so it won’t fly around and the breeze will cool you down. Picnic lunch in the beach was the best part of my trip.
5. Save the Big Buddha for last. I think it closes the latest. It wasn’t crowded the day I visited, but maybe you won’t be as lucky. Well, save the Big Buddha for after lunch. It’s walking distance to the beach.
I am hoping someone comes to visit me soon so I have a reason to make another day trip to Kamakura and not need it up.