During my last day of Golden Week vacation, I decided to go to the coast of Japan to Kamakura on the ultimate spiritual hiking adventure. I left my house around 7am and took the train to Kamakura, arriving around 9am. After doing some photography around the marketplace and getting some sushi, I decided to hike up into the mountains to see some of the most famous shrines. On my way there, I stopped at a bamboo forest, the Engaku-ji temple (円覚寺), a cave leading to a wisteria garden, and and a zen Japanese garden.
While stopping at each of the areas I had mapped out, I felt at peace and inner harmony with nature. I enjoyed seeing all of the sights and also the people that were traveling there. Most of them were Japanese, which made me feel like I was living an authentic Japan experience. I made my way into the mountains and started to lose the GPS signal on my phone, so I used the old guidepost to find my way around. This made the journey all the more thrilling!
One of the most unique places that I stopped at was the Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku shrine (銭洗弁天) where I performed a money washing ritual for great fortune and riches. Basically what you do is buy incense for 100円 ($1) and then burn a candle, then go to the shrine and wash your coins and dollar bills in a basket. The money that you wash is blessed and is said to help you increase the money you earn. Needless to say, mine helped me out in the future!
After performing the ritual, I then went to a fox spirit shrine called Sasuke Inari Shrine (佐助稲荷神社). Going there was super neat! I walked underneath dozens of torii and saw a plethora of statues and ornaments dedicated to the inari spirit. Definitely worth it if you are a Shinto Shrine fan or are looking to tour some of the most famous shrines in the area!
On my way down the mountain, I stopped at Kamakura’s most famous attraction which was the Great Buddha Statue and shrine called Kōtoku-in (高徳院). Seeing this statue was one of the highlights of my Golden Week. The flower displays around it were beautiful and it looked very illuminated in the sunlight. You can go under the statue too and see more of the temple there too! After seeing this beautiful Buddha, I ended my Kamakura trip with a swim trip at the beach. This was my first Japan beach experience and I am happy that I got to do a lot of sightseeing as well as experience some of Japan’s historic culture. Definitely take a day trip to Kamakura if you get the chance!