Almost every time I visit the grand shrine in Kamakura, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu there seems to be a wedding going on. It’s a great opportunity to see the finest kimono and listen to the thousand of years old ceremonial music being played live. I caught this ceremony a couple of days ago, the bride looked really nervous as she was taking instructions from the priest assistants. Since it’s currently Golden Week here in Japan the shrine was packed with tourists and visitors enjoying the great weather and that in itself should be enough to make any bride nervous! The groom looked much more relaxed. It’s not all that common to see these traditional ceremonies performed out in the open, usually they are confined to the inner sanctum of the shrines. At most you can see the traditional wedding parade if you visit places like the Meiji Jingu in central Tokyo, but this shrine in Kamakura (Kanagawa prefecture) is one of the best for seeing traditional weddings!
A mere hour on train from inner city Tokyo (population 12.5 million) is the wonderful Yuigahama beach. It always amazes me that there can be such a beach so close to such a huge city without it being absolutely packed every day, all day. Where I come from we have a lazy miniature river flowing through the city and it’s lined with people and dogs and kids just looking at the water. When it’s not covered in ice that is. I took these photos of a nearly deserted Yuigahama beach yesterday, a public holiday. I wonder what everyone was doing? There’s several ways to get here from Tokyo, but most of them involves the Yokosuka line or the Tokaido line and then a bus, taxi or good walking shoes. Or you can rent a bicycle near by Kamakura station. The beach is cleaned regularly during the season but there’s still a bit of garbage lying around so I usually bring a bag and just pick stuff off the beach as I go along. If everyone picked half a kilo of garbage off the beach it would be spotless within a couple of days!
On my visit to Kamakura City and Yuigahama beach in Kanagawa prefecture south west of Tokyo I saw these two dogs playing in the ocean, trying to catch a tea bottle thrown by their owners! The smaller one didn’t stand a chance in the waves but the bigger dog bravely swam out into the ocean again and again! I think it is the closest I will ever come to seeing a dog surf! When it gets warmer maybe I will even jump in myself!
Please forgive me for posting even more photos of the birds of prey that Kamakura and Enoshima are so famous for! They’re just to photogenic! I brought out my 500m lens for last weeks trip to Kamakura and couldn’t stop myself from taking more snaps of these magnificent birds! Sadly though, there were quite a few people who hadn’t bothered reading the warning signs and more than one bento box (lunch box) exploded in scraps of rice and meat as these birds dive bombed hapless families and hungry couples left and right. These photos might not be as spectacular as the ones I took a couple of years ago, but they’ll do for this time!