We are not going to say goodbye to Tokyo without getting a little closer to Japan's culture, to its past, visiting Kamakura, and thus be able to know closely those Japanese temples that make you breathe spirituality on all four sides.
Kamakura, the spirit of the temples
Isaac has always told me that Japan is the only country in the world where you can get up in a place locked in the past, be in 2 hours of train eating in an incredible Castle and end the day in an impressive futuristic city.
WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN 2008:
All the information in the Japan travel guide of that adventure, including Kyoto, Osaka, Himeji, Kobe, Hiroshima, Miyajima and the Japanese Alps
Always refers to that day that began in Miyajima and would end in Kobe after passing through Himejiof its complete travel diary to Japan 2008, but it is perfectly applicable today. There we go to the train (780 YEN each)! after leaving some things in a ticket office to pick up on the way back (300 YEN) A big head?
Our path today goes through the Kitakamakura station to make a route that allows us to have a partial vision of that part of the more traditional culture of Japan.
The route, unknown to me, is already familiar to Isaac, whom he will fall in love with and tell us in the travel diary to Japan 2008, in its DAY 14: The most futuristic city in the world. And it starts, as soon as you leave the station, with Engaku-ji, the largest of the five great Zen temples (300 YEN each).
It was founded in 1282, although an important part was destroyed by the earthquake of 1923. It still retains 17 of its more than 40 secondary temples.
Our second visit is the temple Kencho-ji (300 YEN each), the most beautiful of all and part of the oldest Zen teaching monastery in Japan. It was founded in 1253, and the Buddha pavilion contains a figure of Bosatsu Jizo, helper of the souls of the dead, instead of the usual Buddha.
This is history and in history we sometimes forget to tell how impressive these temples are. From its original structure, everything around them, the lakes drawing shapes, the gardens cared for with exquisite delicacy, the peace that is breathed ...
We would stay here all day, contemplating this wonder, except for the Hojo area, these days in rehabilitation ...
Today we also see the original toris. A tori is a traditional Japanese arch, whose meaning is bird, since in Shintoism the birds were considered the messengers of the forces of nature, usually found at the entrance of the sanctuaries, marking the border between profane and sacred space .
They consist of two columns on which two parallel crossbars are supported, frequently colored with red tones. Some have written tables mounted between horizontal bars. Traditionally the tori were made of wood or stone but recently they have also begun to be made of steel.
The temples of the god Inari normally have, in addition to the access tori, many others, erected one behind the other, forming passageways. A person who has been successful in business often donates a tori as a token of gratitude. Isaac tells me to see him in Fushimi Inari, near Kyoto, as he tells us in the DAY 4 of the travel diary to Japan 2008, is something really spectacular because of the mysticism that is breathed.
One of the things that attracts the attention of the Japanese is to observe Your elders and their customs. It is as if life had passed very fast for them and they resisted living in the most technological country in the world, and hiding in their entrenched customs, far from the "fuss" of the metropolis. The women, generally short, pedal tiredly protected by a small umbrella, or walk just a few feet from the ground, hunched over, of what seems to have been a hard and punished life. The men still serve small businesses away from the macro-chains of the capital.
This hot ride (today hits more than ever) would not be the same without "two hundred and fifty thousand" beverage machines (380 YEN for three). Today they are a true oasis. What do you play today?
Following our path to our next sanctuary, we also pass through the already famous Valencia restaurant, which is still in the corner of always down the road.
What we will not forget, already in the enclosure of our next destination, is to comply with Japanese traditions leaving a message for someone special ...
... And is that Grandma Chavetas always travels with us, to places as remote as reach a country like Kiribati and that the children give us their hug. And so that it is always present that Keys and their traveling spirit have been here ...
The temple that we have to visit, at least on this trip because we will not be without visiting this wonderful country again, is Hachiman-gu shrine, a structure that consecrates the god of war and that, built by the sea in 1063, was moved here in 1191.
The road leads to two water lily ponds, that of Genji and Heike, which are worthy of contemplation, as well as the usual "immense collections of sake barrels", exposed as an offering in the Shinto shrines and used as part of the purification rituals
Almost without realizing it, we enter the Wakamiyaoji Avenue, main avenue of Kamakura between the two great toris that begin and end this wide avenue and where we can see the large number of small gift shops, glass and wood crafts, chopsticks and amulets ... We take advantage of another soda (120 YEN )
The time has come for catch an electric train again (1360 YEN both in a voucher for several transfers included) to make a stop at the Great Buddha (200 YEN each) about 20 minutes from the station up street (and another water 110 YEN), also known as the Kamakura Daibutsu, made in bronze.
This huge sculpture represents the Amitabha (Buddha) in an attitude of rest and calm, reaching 11.40 meters and weighing about 93 tons, has been dated between 1252 and 1255. It seems that the Lantau Buddha in Hong Kong that Isaac tells us in the Hong Kong newspaper 2011It's a bit taller, but this one really impresses. !! Ehhhh Isaac, I think these flip flops are your size !!
We will finish the main visits in the temple of Hase, after some gifts (950 YEN) located near Kotoku-in where the Great Buddha is. This elegant temple houses a magnificent Kannon of Mercy that has eleven faces to hear everything people say in the house.
Annex we can find a pavilion dedicated to Jizo, guardian of children and as everyone else has spectacular gardens and being on top, we can see good views from Kamakura.
Already going down the stairs, on the right side from the entrance, and through the beautiful gardens, we access a small cave.
It is a small sacred place in honor of the goddess Benzaiten, the only woman of luck, with statues sculpted directly on the rock. It shows that it is made for short Japanese, because some "coscorrón" we stick.
With this, an ice cream (300 YEN) and some gift (1600 YEN), we conclude our walk through the Japanese temples, although it will not be the last time we see them because Japan is to repeat without any doubt, and we return in the little train electric to Kamakura station. Isaac still has many "deja-vu" with his 2008 trip to Japan as see the small paper balloon fish, although this time will not be left wanting, because he could already enjoy a restaurant where to eat fugu in Tokyo the other day.
Loitering around the area, and having already tried the design food in the LOFT the first night in Shibuya, sushi and sashimi in a kaiten sushi or in the Oseniba onsen, he puffer fish in a Tokyo restaurant and even okonomiyaki in Harajuku, we found a place called Hideyoshi(a kind of tavern or tasca) that will allow us to try another one of those Japanese skewers that is worth it… !! The yakitoris (chicken skewers) and the takoyakis (battered octopus balls) !!
We are near the main station of Kamakura, and they even say Hideyoshi, as the best place in the world to eat yakitoris (230 YEN). The pity is that it catches us almost closing and hardly gives us time to try them, but not to stay too long
So still hungry, we seek another corner to put something else in the belly. What can I choose from these "plasticized" dishes in the shop window? Ummmm, well, this one! Well less bad, because the letter from inside as to understand it (You can read in "Japanese dishes to eat in Japan"more ideas if you want)…
This really is to eat the "Japanese." If it seems that we have gotten into the tavern of "Sin-Chan", hahaha. Where are the Westerners? Of course, the kindness of the older women who serve us is really exquisite, as well as their dishes (1,510 YEN). Will it be hunger?
In this moment of the day when I realize the reason Isaac was when he told me that Japan is the only place in the world where in just a few minutes you pass from the oldest ancestral place to the furthest future.
Akihabara, the futuristic neighborhood of electronics
Our pilgrimage was going to take us directly to Shinjuku but Isaac didn't want me to lose myself, even if it was for a while, a neighborhood that my Migui (my brother) would love ... Akihabara, the electronics neighborhood (JR for 1560 YEN both after several transfers).
Akihabara is a place to contemplate the amount of shops, and sometimes they are even entire buildings that contain all kinds of technological novelties and geeks, such as comics, hentai and even things that we would never guess at their use. Who ever imagined a kind of trail of "hard drives", "usb" or "consoles"?
And best of all, all this "decorated" of Japanese "lolitas" They show you the offers you can find in these stores.
Isaac, could I go through one of them? Hahaha (I think not)
We take a quick walk before leaving for Shinjuku, always maintaining our hallucinate face in the face of such a marketing strategy
Well, some colleja fell to Isaac "sneaky", haha
Kabukicho, Shinjuku Red Light District
Shinjuku (JR for 320 YEN both) is the most important commercial and administrative center of Tokyo. Here is its famous train station, the most used in the world (an average of three million people use the station daily) and where we can also find the Tochou, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, administration center and urban symbol most important in the eastern part of Tokyo.Its most famous neighborhood is Kabukicho, where we will enjoy a district known for its bars, restaurants and ... its red light district
Here many hostels, massage parlors, love hotels and lots of shops related to sex are concentrated. As well the great halls of the famous pachinko machines (which takes its name on blog of that great traveler called Pau) and in Kabukicho there are many places where you can play, it consists of a mix between slots and pinballs. We really wanted to try to play but time was on us and ... there was hunger! So we go and cheat! hehe Isaac had already enjoyed his session of pachinko in Ameyoko on his previous trip
We had also read that Kabukicho was the most dangerous neighborhood in Tokyo, although as we could see this is relative, with all the security we have found in Japan. In any case, and after satisfying the stomach a little teas (240 YEN) and a piece of watermelon (200 YEN) from a street stall ...
... buy the last gifts (3,340 YEN) and "do a little geek", we return by our steps to go to the most financial area of Shinjuku.
Farewell in a panoramic restaurant with Kobe meat
Walking by the streets of Shinjuku (and through the underground passages full of long distance electrical tapes) we arrive at the Tokyo Metropolitan Goverment, place from which you can see impressive panoramic views of the skyscrapers of Tokyo, which was built in 1991, becoming the tallest building in Japan . These views from the Tokyo Metropolitan Goverment Isaac would see them in the trip to Japan 2008, so we have decided something special for today in an almost triangular base building right in front.
We are in the Shijuku Sumitomo Builiding, the place chosen for our last dinner here in Japan, which will serve as a farewell to our "Honey Sun" That began almost forty-three days ago. It is a tower 210 meters high where on the 51st floor is our choice, the Misono Restaurant.
And why this choice? The Misono is famous for using Kobe meat, to try Isaac in a Kobe's own restaurant on that trip, with flavor and nutrients difficult to overcome. Meat A4 or A5 in front of us ... ufsss !!
Only by writing it makes my mouth water. What a delicious meat! The sirloin seems to melt before our eyes, barely spiced with vegetables and salt.
This meat, called Wagyu, belongs to a bovine breed originating in Japan from the previously named city, Kobe. Its result is highly appreciated for its texture and flavor because thanks to the genetic predisposition of this cattle and a special diet that includes beer and sake, a product containing a higher percentage of healthy fats is obtained.
And what about the views? Far from the agglomeration of the building opposite, quietly savoring that delicious delicacy, huge skyscrapers and unique and important buildings of the city emerge to our eyes. Tokyo at night is a true city of the future, illuminated, taken from a movie in which we have all dreamed of ever being ...
In the Misono there are also several private sections, and they have seafood products such as lobster, clams and some "delicatessen" menus at inexpensive prices. Dinner is impressive, and the views more, but everything is paid (36,730 YEN).
However, with this delicious dinner (and go through a cyber to check-in tomorrow -450 YEN- and take two waters -120 YEN-) we celebrate the end of a trip, the South Seas they will always remain in our memory, but the beginning of another. With this dinner we also celebrate the beginning of something more important, the journey of life ... Family, friends, tomorrow night we will be with you in Spain after almost two months and we will feel again those hugs and affections that we miss so much. !!See you tomorrow!!
Paula and Isaac, from Tokyo (Japan)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 48,690 YEN (approx. 517.98 EUR) and GIFTS: 5,890 YEN (approx. 62.66 EUR)