Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Kamakura Hiking and Yabusame Festival
Seeing as I was in Yokohama for the Lady Gaga concert anyway, I opted to stay at a hostel in the area and go hiking in Kamakura the day following the concert. Kamakura is a really famous tourist spot in Japan, especially for students. Pretty much all of mine have had at least one school trip to visit the many temples in the area and to get their pictures taken in front of a very large budda statue. Oddly enough, as I was contemplating what to do with my time in Kamakura, I received an email from the Tokyo Gaijin group about a Kamakura hike and festival day trip on the very day I would be there and signed up. Tokyo Gaijin is sort of a social club that hosts various events in and around the Tokyo area. I've gone on several trips with the group, including a ski trip to Yamagata and snowshoeing in Gunnma.

The day got off to a bit of a rough start. The instructions said to meet at the station exit and that there was only one. Not true. There were very much 2 exits and I decided to wait at the wrong one. Luckily, I wasn't the only one. There were 2 other girls there who were also part of the trip and working together we managed to figure out that there was another exit and found the rest of the group.

The hike ended up being pretty fast pace and in the end I sort of wish I had simply done my own thing. Because the end of the trip was watching the Yabusame Festival, a festival where archers on horseback test their skills firing at targets, we were on a tight time schedule. Because the group was so large, I think we weren't moving as fast as the guide wanted so time spend at temples had to be shortened. The hiking trail was also really muddy due to it having snowed the day before. My shoes and the bottom of my pants were caked with mud. I'm thankful that I didn't fall though like one member of the group as he spend the rest of the day with a huge mud stain on his ass and let's just say it didn't really look like mud..... I didn't mind having to rush at the temples though as I've gotten tired to seeing temples all the time, but I do wish we could have spend more time enjoying the hiking part rather than rushing to get to the next temple.

We stopped at 5 different temple during the tour, including one where you wash your money in order for it to double and the temple that houses the big budda statue. The last temple was where the archery competition was held. That was pretty interesting, but hard to watch to do there being so many spectators. After that, I headed back home and ended up on the same train as my friends I had gone to see the concert with which made the 3 hour train trip back home much more interesting.

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