I've found another favorite spot in Japan! The beautiful temple, Houkokuji, with its accompanying bamboo forest! After leaving the hustle and bustle, crowds, photo booths, and high-rises of Tokyo the other day, we hopped back into our car and drove down the coastline to Kamakura to see some of the more ancient parts of Japan. They really have it all here I tell ya! Fast-paced city life, quiet mountain towns, farms and farms and farms, beautiful beaches, and the most serene shrines and gardens in the world. I seriously couldn't love Japan any more.
Anyway, Houkokuji. It's awesome. Leading up to the shrine is a small, but beautiful, zen garden. The shrine itself is pretty and unassuming, but with large windows that look upon luscious vegetation set alongside some small cliffs/natural rock. In fact, there's even a small cemetery tucked inside a cave in the side of the cliff wall.
Just in from the rock walls surrounding the area are more gardens, beautifully manicured, leading to a small, but unbelievably peaceful bamboo forest. It's not huge like the one in Kyoto, or some that we saw growing wild by the roadside in Shimoda, but this bamboo forest was incredibly maintained and was so calming I think we could have stayed for hours.
The bamboo didn't quite have the same calming effect on our children as it did us, but they had a great time nonetheless, and I think they really nailed their bamboo poses. And Will's accessories really got him a great response from the other garden visitors ;)
So, if you're visiting Kamakura anytime soon, be sure to stop by Houkokuji!!!! I want to go back again and again and again.
GPS Coordinates:35.320274, 139.569312