Not yo' mamma's hiking course

Kamakura Travel Blog

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Entrance of Kencho-ji temple
So I decided it would be an AWESOME idea to not do groceries and go hiking instead. I can live another day without milk and bread... that's what ramen's for.
 
Apparently the not doing groceries part is fine and dandy, but the hiking part... was rather brutal. It was alright at first, you know, go through a nice zen temple, see some Buddhas and ancient juniper trees... They should have told you to PRAY. Pray to the Buddha 'cause you're gonna need it! I wasn't smart enough to plan ahead, so I started without a map, WAAAAAY at the bottom of the trail, climbing up god knows how many ancient decaying steps on all fours (this should have been a hint.. stop now! stop while you can!). And the whole time I was thinking "ain't no way in HELL I'm going back down that way!" Made it to a temple, then more stairs.
buddha in main hall of Kencho-ji temple
.. and then more stairs.... and then up a piece of rock... then more stairs... and when I would swear there's no where possible to go, we're as high as we can get... MORE STAIRS. I'm not talking your nice set of stairs you take to go up your apartment. I'm not even talking about those scary, vertigo-inducing set of stairs in the hotel I stayed at in Paris with some friends, noooo... these "stairs" are more like foot holds cut into the rock, or dirt, or tree roots...
 
It's called the Ten-En hiking course, but they should add the bits about mountain climbing. And the best thing of all??? It was me on this course, and and bunches of little old Japanese granmas and granpas... sometimes I'm so glad I'm a gai-jin, cause they were totally kicking my ass! Haha, that's alright though, I got completely lost towards the end (it's those kanji signs! I could have sworn I was going the right way, but can't read em and I didn't have a map!) and this cute old couple helped me out, chuckling about it the whole time.
plum blossoms in bloom

 
One thing I did learn was where this strange smell was coming from! For the last couple of days I've been smelling this weird flowery smell (ok, it's time for everyone to cut me some slack here... I am from Miami... we don't have flowers there I swear. I didn't realize grass was supposed to be green 'til I was a teenager). It's the plum blossoms that are in bloom! I asked this lady about them at the temple (one that spoke English of course, since my Japanese is non-existent). She said they bloom at the end of winter, means spring will be here soon. She said there's a saying in Japanese, something like "everyone loves how sweet the plum blossom smells, that has stood against the winds and kept off the snow." Of course, on the way home I noticed them everywhere, on the street, branches in vases on window sills, in giant pots outside of shops. Lovely really. Everyone loves the cherry blossoms, but they are so fragile and bloom for so little. I think I rather like the plum blossoms.
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Entrance of Kencho-ji temple
Entrance of Kencho-ji temple
buddha in main hall of Kencho-ji t…
buddha in main hall of Kencho-ji …
plum blossoms in bloom
plum blossoms in bloom
Kencho-ji Temple
Kencho-ji Temple
buddha in main hall of Kencho-ji t…
buddha in main hall of Kencho-ji …
plum blossoms in bloom
plum blossoms in bloom
sculpture of Chinese zen master Da…
sculpture of Chinese zen master D…
ceiling art at Kencho-ji temple
ceiling art at Kencho-ji temple
I should have taken it as a hint..…
I should have taken it as a hint.…
This seemed like a great idea when…
This seemed like a great idea whe…
from the hilltop
from the hilltop
Kencho-ji hansobo
Kencho-ji hansobo
a few steps above the Kencho-ji ha…
a few steps above the Kencho-ji h…
headless buddha found in a cave
headless buddha found in a cave
cool tree roots on the Ten-en hiki…
cool tree roots on the Ten-en hik…
Ten-en Hiking course
Ten-en Hiking course
from the top of Ohhirayama mountain
from the top of Ohhirayama mountain
lost... somewhere near the Ten-en …
lost... somewhere near the Ten-en…
lost... somewhere near the Ten-en …
lost... somewhere near the Ten-en…
finally going downhill!
finally going downhill!
Kamakura
photo by: poison_dee