JAPAN TRIP DESTINATION: OUTER TOKYO AND BEYOND

MITAKA-SHI

Mitaka is located on the Kantō Plain, just outside the 23 special wards of Tokyo Metropolis, which are on its eastern borders. The Tamagawa Josui Canal, which runs alongside Mitaka station, has an important place in history, built in 1653 to feed the local metropolis. 

The main attraction for foreign visitors is the Ghibli Museum, while for Japanese the main attraction is Inokashira Park, in which the museum is located, particularly during cherry blossom (hanami) season.

The main walk is from Mitaka station along Tamagawa Aqueduct to Inokashira Park, then to the Ghibli Museum, or from Kichijoji through Inokashira Park. For a longer walk, one can start at Inokashira Park station (Inokashira Kōen) and walk the full length of the park.

Kamakura

Kamakura is a seaside Japanese city just south of Tokyo. The political center of medieval Japan, modern-day Kamakura is a prominent resort town with dozens of Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines. Its most recognizable landmark is the Kotoku-in Temple’s Great Buddha, a roughly 13m-high bronze statue still standing after a 15th-century tsunami. Yuigahama Beach on Sagami Bay is a popular surfing spot.

2016 Photos

Genjiyama Park

Genjiyama Park is a public park that was built in 1965, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Kamakura era, started by Minamoto-no-Yoritomo.

The park’s name originates from Yoritomo’s ancestor Minamoto-no-Yoshiie, who is said to have hoisted a white flag with the Minamoto family name “Genji” on it atop a mountain, it is also called Shirahata-san “White Flag Mountain”. There is a 2m-tall image of Minamoto-no-Yoritomo in the park. The park is known for its hydrangeas, cherry blossoms. 

Kuzuharaoka Shrine

This shrine located on the high ground of Genjiyama is famous for match-making. It is also the place where Toshimoto Hino, who served Emperor Go-Daigo and was captured by the Kamakura shogunate, met his end. Stone monuments with a farewell poem and a memorial for Toshimoto Hino are on the premises. Recently the shrine has become popular as a power spot for the fulfillment of love. Lovers will take scarlet red strings with five yen coins tied on and attach them around either the male or female matchmaking rocks as a way of binding their wishes.

JUFUKU JI

Kikokuzan Kongō Jufuku Zenji (亀谷山金剛寿福禅寺), usually known as Jufuku-ji, is  the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura. Ranked third among Kamakura’s prestigious Five Mountains, it is number 24 among the Thirty-Three Kamakura Kannon (鎌倉三十三観音Kamakura Sanjūsan Kannon) pilgrimage temples and number 18 of the Kamakura Nijūyon Jizō (鎌倉二十四地蔵) temples. Its main object of worship is Shaka Nyorai.

In the temple’s vast graveyard behind the main hall, inside caves called yagura, are buried all the chief priests of the temple. 

SASUKE INARI SHRINE

Tradition holds that Sasuke Inari Shrine was created by Minamoto no Yoritomo. While in exile in Izu, Yoritomo was visited in a dream by an old man from the Hidden Village of Kamakura who instructed Yoritomo of the timing to begin battling his enemies. When Yoritomo succeeded and became shōgun, he created this shrine in gratitude.An alternative to this story has an Inari Fox messenger appearing in Yoritomo’s dream.

SHICHIRIGAHAMA

Shichirigahama (七里ヶ浜) is a beach near Kamakura, which goes from Koyurigimisaki Cape, near Fujisawa, to Inamuragasaki Cape, west of Kamakura. Since from it one could enjoy a clear view of both Mount Fuji and Enoshima at the same time, during the Edo period it was popular as a subject for ukiyo-e (Wood block painted art).

The beach’s name means “Seven Ri Beach”, where a ri is an old Japanese unit of measurement equivalent to 3.9 km. 

2019 Photos

Kōtoku-in

Taiizan Kotokuin Shojosenji (大異山高徳院清浄泉寺) is a Jōdo-shū Buddhist temple.

Famous for its “Great Buddha” (大仏Daibutsu), a gigantic bronze statue of Amida Buddha, designated National Treasure.  The bronze statue probably dates from 1252, the statue is approximately 13.35 metres (43.8 ft) tall including the base and weighs approximately 93 tonnes (103 tons). The statue is hollow, and visitors can view the interior. 

Tsurugaoka Hachiman gū

 

Tsurugaoka Hachimangū (鶴岡八幡宮) is the most important Shinto shrine. The shrine is at the geographical and cultural center of the city of Kamakura, which has largely grown around it and its 1.8 km approach. It is the venue of many of its most important festivals, and hosts two museums.

 

At the left of its great stone stairway stood a 1000-year-old ginkgo tree, which was uprooted by a storm in the early hours of March 10, 2010. The shrine is an Important Cultural Property.

As one enters, after the first torii (Shinto gate) there are three small bridges, two flat ones on the sides and an arched one at the center. In the days of the shogunate there used to be only two, a normal one and another arched, made in wood and painted red.

The arched bridge was called Akabashi (Red Bridge), and was reserved to the Shogun. The bridges span over a canal that joins together two ponds popularly called Genpei-ike (源平池), or “Genpei ponds”.

Jishō-in Hase-Dera

Hase-dera (海光山慈照院長谷寺Kaikō-zan Jishō-in Hase-dera), or Hase-kannon (長谷観音) is famous for housing a massive wooden statue of Kannon.

The temple originally belonged to the Tendai sect of Buddhism, but eventually became an independent temple of the Jōdo-shū.

 

 

The main statue of Kannon is one of the largest wooden statues in Japan, with a height of 9.18 metres (30.1 ft), and is made from camphor wood and gilded in gold. It has 11 heads, each of which represents a different phase in the search for enlightenment.

Fugenzan Meigetsu-in

Fugenzan Meigetsu-in (福源山明月院) is a Rinzai Zen temple of the Kenchō-ji school  famous for its hydrangeas, it’s also known as The Temple of Hydrangeas (ajisai-dera). The main object of worship is goddess Shō Kannon (聖観音).

The temple itself with its beautiful round window, Satori no Mado (Window of Enlightenment).

The temple’s garden contains one of the celebrated Ten Wells of Kamakura (鎌倉十の井), the Kame no I (瓶の井). The karesansui, a garden of raked sand, rocks and plants representing legendary Buddhist Mount Shumi.

The yagura cave dug on the side of a hill is the largest in Kamakura. The small tower at its center is thought to be Norikata’s tomb. Hōjō Tokiyori‘s grave is located here.

Kenchō-ji

Kenchō-ji (建長寺) is a Rinzai Zen temple in Kamakura which ranks first among Kamakura’s Five Great Zen Temples and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan. These temples were at the top of the Five Mountain System, a network of Zen temples started by the Hōjō Regents. 

The temple was constructed on the orders of Emperor Go-Fukakusa and completed in 1253, fifth year of the Kenchō era, from which it takes its name.

Jukufu-ji

Chiba-Shi

Chiba (千葉市) is the capital city of Chiba Prefecture. It sits about 40 kilometres southeast of the centre of Tokyo on Tokyo Bay. 

Chiba City is one of the Kantō region’s primary seaports, and handles one of the highest volumes of cargo in the nation. There are several major urban centres in the city, including Makuhari, a prime waterfront business district.

 

Chiba is famous for the Chiba Urban Monorail, the longest suspended monorail in the world. Kasori Shell Midden, the largest shellmound in the world, Inage Beach, Chiba City Zoo.

CHIBA PARK

 

Chiba Park has a boat pond, playground equipment, sports ground, gymnasium, pool, baseball field, lotus ponds (Oga lotus), cherry blossom viewing fields, button and peony gardens, lotus pavilion, coffee shops, and good day shop, and a tea room.

CHIBA PORT PARK

 

Chiba Port Park is a park by the bay with large open fields, trails for walking or running, and recreational activities.

The main feature of the park is Chiba Port Tower, a slim mirrored glass tower that rises above the park at 125 meters and overlooks Tokyo Bay. From the observation deck, you can see famous Tokyo sights like Tokyo Skytree , the Shinjuku skyscraper district, and Rainbow Bridge . On clear days, you can even see as far as Mt. Fuji .

One of Chiba Port Park’s most popular attractions is its Water Plaza. This is a spacious play area that fills with cool water from the bay. The park also has a manmade beach right on the bay. The gentle waters make it an excellent place to wade in the water. One popular activity here is clam digging.

 

 

CHIBA MONORAIL

 

The Chiba Urban Monorail (千葉都市モノレールChiba Toshi Monorēru) is a two-line suspended monorail system located in Chiba. A so-called “third-sector” company established on March 20, 1979. 

The first segment (Line 2 from Sports Center Station to Chishirodai Station) opened on March 28, 1988, the remainder 11 years later on March 24, 1999. It is the world’s longest suspended monorail system at 15.2 km in track length. 

YOKOHAMA-SHI

Yokohama (Japanese: 横浜) is the second largest city in Japan by population. It is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo. It is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area. Yokohama developed rapidly as Japan’s prominent port city following the end of Japan’s relative isolation in the mid-19th century.

Yokohama (横浜) literally means “horizontal beach”. The current area surrounded by Maita Park, the Ōoka River and the Nakamura River had been a gulf divided by a sandbar from the open sea. This sandbar was the original Yokohama fishing village, STICKIN OUT horizontally when viewed from the sea, it was called a “horizontal beach”

SHIN-YOKOHAMA PARK

Shin-Yokohama Park (新横浜公園Shin-Yokohama Kōen) is a public park in Kōhoku Ward, Yokohama. It contains Nissan Stadium, a number of sporting fields and a birdwatching area. Nissan stadium is the largest stadium in Yokohama city and has a capacity of 72,000 spectators.

YOKOHAMA CHINATOWN

 

 

Yokohama Chinatown (横浜中華街, ) has a  history that is about 160 years long. Today only a few Chinese people still live in Chinatown, but it has a population of about 3,000 to 4,000. Most of the residents are from Guangzhou (Canton) but many come from other regions.

Yokohama Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Japan and it is one of the largest in the world.

Yokohama Harbour

MARINE ROUGE

HIKAWA MARU

Hikawa Maru (氷川丸) is a Japanese ocean liner that Yokohama Dock Company built for Nippon Yūsen Kabushiki Kaisha (“NYK Line”). She was launched on 30 September 1929 and made her maiden voyage from Kobe to Seattle on 13 May 1930. She is permanently berthed as a museum ship at Yamashita Park, Yokohama.

Hikawa Maru was one of three Hikawa Maru class motor ships, all named after major Shinto shrines. The Hikawa Shrine is in Saitama in central Honshu. 

YAMASHITA PARK

Yamashita Park (山下公園Yamashita Kōen) is a public park in Naka Ward, Yokohama, Japan, famous for its waterfront views of the Port of Yokohama.

 

Yamashita Park was formally opened on March 15, 1930.  The park was requisitioned in 1945 during the Occupation of Japan for military housing, reverting to Japanese control in 1960.

 

As well as public green space with trees, flower beds, fountains and memorials, Yamashita Park is also noted as the location of the Hikawa Maru, and the Port Service, an operator of seabuses, excursion and restaurant ships, operating from the park pier.