Kamakura’s Big Buddha and Hasedera Temple

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Our first full day in Tokyo started off with buffet breakfast at Stella, BW’s restaurant located on the first floor. Their breakfast range had more variety than Hearton’s in Kyoto, but their seating area was small so there were a few mornings when we had to wait.

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Our plan was to head to Kamakura to see the big Buddha statue (the second largest behind Todaiji’s Daibutsu in Nara). We decided to purchase Odakyu’s Enoshima/Kamakura freepass from Shinjuku, which allowed a round trip from Shinjuku station to Fujisawa station and also unlimited travel on the electric Enoden line for the day.

Finding the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Centre was a bit of struggle in the huge and bustling Shinjuku station. We had to queue to purchase tickets first, then ended up just missing the train to Fujisawa station and had to wait 20 mins for the next one.

Although it was more economical travelling with the freepass, it was time consuming. The trip to Fujisawa was just over an hour then we had to walk to an adjacent building to transfer to the Enoden line.

It was quite an experience on the slow electric train. We caught a glimpse of the beach as the train rumbled by, and we also passed freakishly close by several houses seemingly built just off the railway tracks.

It took about half an hour to reach Hase Station, from where we walked about 10 mins to get to Kotokuin. The bronze Daibutsu loomed quite impressively in the grey skies.

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Hanging nearby were some big Buddha slippers.

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Around the grounds of Kotokuin.

Just outside of the temple we fell into a tourist trap, buying a Daibutsu-shaped taiyaki filled with vanilla custard. At least it was tasty!

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We walked about 10 mins to get to Hasedera temple, which was built halfway up Kamakura mountain. They had a beautiful garden with a large koi-filled pond and lots of colourful flowers that were in bloom.

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Hasedera entrance

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The steps up the temple were lined with several Jizo statues, known as the guardians of children.

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The temple had several buildings and also a small terrace that looked out to the ocean. We bought dango from a nearby vendor. It was warm, chewy, and coated in a slightly savoury caramel sauce. Yum!

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Climbing up to higher grounds of the temple yielded some impressive views.

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Hasedera also had an underground cave called Bentenkutsu. You may have to navigate the tunnels hunched over as the ceiling is low, but it doesn’t take too long to walk through.

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We decided to head back to Shinjuku after that as now we knew how long the trip would take. We had a really late lunch (closer to early dinner) at Katsukura at Takashimaya Times Square.

I ordered the 120g pork loin while my sister had the more expensive special pork cut.

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Boy was it worth the wait! The crumb was crispy, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth fried goodness. The meat was juicy, tender and yes, my sister’s was a better quality, but only by a slight margin. Their special katsu sauce came with sesame seeds that you were meant to grind into it with the tools provided. The miso soup was good, though Wako’s still trumped it.

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Dinner was take away from the food basement, consisting of katsu sandwiches, chicken skewers, and a quiche and seafood bento.

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We passed by this Green Peas building on the way back to the hotel. I have no idea what it is…

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