Kanagawa: the Daibutsu of Kamakura and Fireworks

Last week was the tail end of the Obon holidays, meaning many people had traveled home to visit their families and the graves of their ancestors. What with the the overnight BBQ in Okutama, and group leader having told Tatsuya to take me to his home prefecture and show me around, we felt no qualms taking off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to go explore the areas surrounding Tatsuya’s hometown in Kanagawa, the next prefecture south of Tokyo.

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We picked up Tatsuya’s best friend from middle school and set off to explore Kamakura, an oceanside town with a very Hawaiian-inspired surf culture.

Driving to Kamakura

It was astoundingly windy, but that didn’t prevent scores of surfers from dotting the small waves, hoping to catch a big one.

Kamakura is famous for its Daibutsu, or giant Buddha sculpture, the second-largest in Japan. Cast in 1252, it’s survived various storms and tsunamis, even though the temple that used to surround it is long gone.

Kamakura Daibutsu


If you get to the temple early enough in the day, you can get a tour of the inside of the sculpture for 50円.


Trees and other bronze sculpture dotted the plaza surrounding the Daibutsu.


Ladles for Temizu, ritual washing

Compared to some of the other shrines we’ve visited, the Kamakura Daibutsu was very restrained in terms of omiyage shops: they were tactfully set back from the views of the giant bronze sculpture.


Kengo, Tatsuya, and I drove to the beach to watch the sun set over Enoshima, an island connected to the mainland by a causeway. (There’s even a yacht club with a fleet of Flying Juniors!)

Kengo and Tatsuya



After dinner, we went to the local park and lit fireworks, or hanabi, with Tatsuya’s sister and another friend.

Sharing the flame

Spark shower

More photos from Kamakura’s Daibutsu, Enoshima, and fireworks here.

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