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Kamakura and the Jizo statues / 9 April 2011

The Jizo statues halfway up the hill in the Hasedera Temple complex at Kamakura

The Jizo statues at Kamakura. Photo © Gini

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Jizo-Bosatsu
future Buddha
possessor of all
the blessings of the earth;
and out of reach.
Jizo, comfort
for the souls of
unborn children.
But no comfort to me,
inaccessible on a hillside
half-way up steps.
Hasedera Temple, with all
it's attention to detail
is a joy and a disappointment.
The garden, however
is exquisite
and gives me
it's own blessing.

Today we are going to the garden at Kamakura, with, at the Hasedera Temple, the Jizo statues which I hope will somehow resonate with some of my own work.

We go via Yokohama and the final train journey from Kamakura to Hase, down a single line track is enchanting. Trees and shrubs brush against the carriages as we pass and in some places I'm sure the local inhabitants could reach out of their windows and touch the train.

The garden is easy to find, but doesn't look that accessible, it seems to be mostly built on a hillside. At the ticket kiosk I meet an unhelpful "jobsworth" but her collegue waves me in for free, with a wry smile.

The Jizo statues are sadly out of my reach. For the first time since I got to Japan, I am disappointed. A great wave of it hits me, but we go in anyway. The garden is beautiful and I take picture upon picture.

I had plans for my artwork and the statues; at some point I wil need to really think about that.

I have little glimpses of the Jizo half-way up the hillside and send SP up to photograph them while I wander the accessible parts of the garden. The beauty of it all soon lifts my spirit and I am reluctant to leave, but not far away is a giant Buddha and we plan to see that as well.

He proves to be in an attractive garden too, and although he's big, he is, I'm told, not to compare to the one in Hong Kong; that's for another visit.

We stop at Yokohama on the way back, do a little exploring and eat in Chinatown. Chinatown is very glitzy, in complete contrast to our day in the sticks, but our chosen restaurant is quiet, elegant and warm. It gets quite chilly here in the evenings.

We eat dim sum and drink Jasmine tea until we are stuffed and then take the trains back to Tokyo. It's been a good day, we are both tired and forget one change. Thank goodness for the man with the ramp!

Today there have been no notices about power-saving, only notices about cancellations and reductions of train services, and at night it's obvious that everywhere is operating with reduced lighting. Tomorrow we have an early start, we take the Shinkansen to Kyoto.