Kamakura by bicycle
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Last Friday, a normal workday for me, I took the day off just because it’s Sakura season. It’s a wonderful time of year, the cold of winter is over, the days are getting longer and it’s starting to warm up. But it’s not yet sticky and humid like summer so the skies are still brilliant blue.
It had been a long time since I took a day off from work just to go to take photos, usually I spend my weekends doing that, but the weather has just gotten so nice recently I couldn’t help myself.
And this trip to Kamakura was a little bit different than others that I had taken in the past. For the first time in my nine years of living in Japan I did the tourist thing and rented a bicycle, at Kamakura station. I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to doing that. Probably the main reason is because since I live here, I have plenty of time to see Kamakura and I don’t feel the need to rush, thus I never felt the need to rent a bicycle. I was content just to spend my time walking, wandering really.
I was pleasantly surprised not just at how much ground that could cover by using a bicycle but just how much more “concentrated” the place felt when I was using a bicycle. Instead of spending 80% of my time walking between locations, that was cut down to maybe 15% or 10% of my time so it really felt like I could see a lot of things in a relatively short period of time. And as a result, I think I was able to get a higher percentage of good photos.
I didn’t rent a bicycle as soon as I got to Kamakura because it was too early in the morning and the bike rental shop was not open. I do like to get there early in the morning because I can feel like I have the place to myself. The only other people around are maybe one or two other photographers such as myself and the people who work at the temples and shrines.
By the time I was done shooting near Kamakura station, the bicycle rental shop was open. So I rented my single speed Mama-Chari with the requisite basket in front, # 47 to be exact, and proceeded to peddle my way over to Hokokuji, otherwise known as the bamboo Temple. Three of today’s photos were taken at Hokokuji Temple. The first one being the temple bell, the next one being the green ojizou, and the third one being the entranceway showing the path, gravel rock garden, and the cherry trees in addition to the temple buildings. It was a beautiful morning really, and seeing as I got there right before the place opened at nine o’clock, as I got to the bamboo grove in the back I had the place completely to myself, which is always a nice thing.
From there I pedals to Ankokoronji Temple, that’s in the southeastern side of Kamakura city. And it didn’t take me very long to get there, and seeing as it was still pretty early in the morning there were not a lot of people there so it was nice to not have to jockey for position and instead have the photographs just present themselves to me for the taking. Two of today’s photos were taken at that Temple, the first one with the maple leaves with a red background. The red background was the felt covering of a bench where people can sit down and have tea at the temple. The second picture is of the worshiper chanting and hitting the drum in front of the temple.
After I got my fill of uncle Ankokuronji I then peddle down to the ocean near Yuigahama beach and headed west. I then circled my way around stopping off at Hase-Dera, and then looping my way back to Kamakura station.
Not the most exciting day, but exactly what I was looking for.