Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tsurugaoka Hachimango (鶴岡八幡宮) and Wakamiya Oji (若宮大路)

Tsurugaoka Hachimango Shrine is one of the most famous in Shinto Shrines in Kamakura and it is always full with domestic and international visitors. The shrine itself is on a hill and takes a few minutes to go up those stairs but it is well worth it. The garden on the way to the shrine is also very pretty and is adorned by a lake as well. The birds are used to humans feeding them so do not be surprised if you "get ambushed" by them. One thing I learnt here - apparently after land is prepared for building a house or a building, they circle the field with a rope and they hang talismans on the rope to cleanse the field of bad souls.

The walk up to the shrine is almost as famous as the shrine itself. Wakamiya Oji, as it is called, is a pretty long walkway (flanked by the roads for cars) that was initially built to help shrine visitors get there from the beach. The walkway has lanterns (quite a few of them) that lit up at night and there are nearly just as many cherry trees which makes me think when the cherry blossoms are out the walkway becomes even more beautiful.

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