Kamakura, the famous tourism spot in Kanagawa Ken near Tokyo was my first day long trip in 1998. I was fascinated by the huge Buddha statue in deep meditation on an open ground and have been visiting this place at least once a year. BUT, IT WAS ALWAYS IN THE DAY TIME and I have never managed schedule to visit it during this RARE NIGHT TIME in summer when popular attractions in Kamakura are lit up with beautiful illuminations…..
You can visit it until tomorrow SUNDAY AUGUST 27, 2017. On a weekday Friday, once I had a “TGIF” moment at the office, I got on to the Shonan Shinjuku Line going towards Zushi and reached Kamakura in 40 minutes at the Kamakura Station. I decided to first see the illuminations at the Hasedera Temple and went to the shrine as my first stop. I have always seen this red lantern there outside in an un-illuminated format in the day time. Kind of makes you time travel to a different era to see it in night.The festival attracts people to walk in the Kamakura neighborhood at night, but note that weekdays are a lot of fun with less crowds than the weekend when the numbers swell upI climbed the stairs to the temple and reached the top of Hasedera Temple and lo-behold the temple was beautifully lit up in the night darkness surrounding it. The temple staff give you lanterns to make your way through the darkness and you can see the trails of the lanterns in the below snap with people moving around them ….The temple on the side of the Hasedera Temple with the Buddha’s golden statue was also kept open. The air was filled with a nice smell of the incense sticks still burning and the summer insects making their noise and cool breeze of the summer time making for an AWESOME experience.Spent some time just looking at the Buddha Statue before proceeding.The best part was the bamboo forest around the Hasedera Temple which was lit up beautifully. A MUST SEE.There were areas around the temple complex fitted with mist sprayers and I sat down at one spot and enjoyed some good cold coffee in a can and enjoying the illuminated temple premises with not many people around… on this weekday. This was a FIRST Kamakura night experience which I am sure I will repeat in the coming years…. hopefully I am able to ….The sand patterns in the nearby shrine in the night time were a world apart!!! The set up was further enhanced with smoke popping out of the corners giving it a completely mystical feeling. Most Japanese could be heard saying “Betsu Sekai 別世界” a different world when enjoying the sand patternsThe Indian Goddesses Saraswati or Benzaiten was also on display and looked spectacular in the night illuminationsI moved on to the next stop which is obviously the Kamakura Buddha and the spot was lit up spectacularly and the meditation pose in the night time darkness was a whole new level of experience. There are focus light beams around it which all point skywards and converge at one spot. Kind of “path to heaven” style feeling… Brilliant.The guardian at the Kamakura temple in the night time looked more frightening or maybe I should qualify this as FEROCIOUS.. Knowing that I had to get back home on the train which was atleast an hour an half, I still could not pull myself out and probably spent a full 30 minutes before moving on…The night time illumination of Kamakura in summer, Hase no Akari was a wonderful experience and is one of my strong recommendation if you stay in Tokyo in August.