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Kamakura was the capital of Japan for a brief time in history. Like Kyoto, but on a smaller scale, Kamakura is rich with temples and shrines scattered about the city. Because of its close proximity to Toyko, Kamakura is one of Tokyo's most popular day trips.
A monk prays in front of the Daibutsu
Daibutsu simply means "large buddha". This is an image of Amida, probably the most popular of Japanese buddha. For 20 yen you can enter the daibutsu and rub his stomach for good luck from the inside.
Buddhist gods protecting the entrance of Sugimoto Temple
The "Nio" gods (two kings) pronouncing the first ("a") and last ("n") sounds in the Sanskrit alphabet. Sugimoto Temple is Kamakura's oldest temple and holds three important images of the juichimen (eleven-head) Cannon Bosatsu. Besides these three images which are kept visible but at a safe distance from the public, there are numerous large images including a another eleven-head Cannon Bosatsu, Jizo, and an image of Bishamonten standing on two demons.
Small jizo statues lied up at the Hasedera (Hase Canon Temple)
Hasedera is worth the visit. There you can see 9.18 meter standing Canon Bosatsu statue. The grounds and the temple are both beautiful. Next trip to Kamakura be sure to visit.
Yokohama is the capital of Kanagawa prefecture and the second largest city in Japan. From the moment I stepped out of Sakuragicho station in Yokohama and hit the streets I knew I would love this city. I visited Yokohama to go to the "International Triennale of Contemporary Art Exhibition" but found the city itself and the people having fun there just as interesting.
Covered moving walkway leading to Landmark Tower
From the station, this covered moving walkway leads to the 69-floor Landmark Tower, which is the tallest building in Japan boasting the fastest elevator in the world that brings you from the 2nd floor to the 69th floor in 40 sec.
Landmark Plaza Shopping Mall just below the tower.
It can't be seen in this photo but on either side of the marble staircase from top to bottom were waterfalls. Very classy Mall.
Through the mall to the other side is Queen's Square and the Hard Rock Cafe. Queen's Square is a popular area for street entertainers to do their thing and reminded me of New York's Washington Square. Here you can watch foreigners, speaking in flawless Japanese, entertain the crowds by juggling fire, chainsaws, or knives.
Yokohama's China Town.
One of the largest ferris wheels in Japan.
Sky Garden observatory on the 69th floor of the Landmark Tower.
View from the Sky Garden observatory.
Yokohama is an interesting mix of architectures including modern buildings, old ships, and an amusement park near the water. The left-most building is the Landmark tower and the building to the far right is the Pacifico Hotel.
The moving walkway (to the right) from the Landmark Tower
Worker boils "black eggs" in an onsen
Owakudani stop accessible by ropeway. Here a worker is boiling eggs in an onsen which causes the shells to turn black. The eggs are sent down a small cargo ropeway to the shops below by the parking lot. They can be bought there or at the shop near the onsen itself, which is a short 10 min. hike from the parking lot. If you go to Hakone ask about the "Hakone Free Pass" which can be purchased in Odawara station.
Images from the Hakone open air museum on a rainy day
Sculpture at the Hakone open air museum
Gigantic Chia-head looking sculpture at the Hakone open air museum