The morning we woke up at Iwamotoro Honkan, we were greeted by the majestic Mount Fuji view from the balcony <3
Breakfast was served at the dining room on ground level, and it was a japanese style breakfast, consisting of some grilled fish, various pickles, seaweed, and chawan mushi.
I quickly went outside after breakfast and ran up the stairs to Enoshima shrine, as I wanted to buy some ema (I collect them). I did get them and they were beautiful, but I didn't take a picture. I will post my ema collection sometime :))
There was *almost* a showdown between a cat and a crow.... . But nothing happened at the end. We were team cat.
|rows of omikuji|
Last night I didn't get a good picture of Iwamotoro, and this morning I could. Such a beautiful place... .
|and of course, manhole of Enoshima..|
Also, if you are into Japanese history and Taiga dramas, chances are you would have already heard or known that Kamakura has a long historical record, probably the more well known for Minamoto clan. Minamoto Yoritomo made Kamakura place for his shogunate. I won't bore you to death with it (I am also not well versed in it), but Kamakura will be a very good place for pilgrimage for fans.
About 5-10 minutes walk from Kita-Kamakura station, we reached Jochiji-Temple, which is pretty much the start of Daibutsu Hiking Course (or end, depends on where you start your walking from).
About another 10 minutes further, we reached Kuzuharaoka Jinja, a small charming shrine where you could find two stones connected to each other in forever loving tie. It is probably the lesser popular compared to other bigger and well known shrines &temples in the walking route, but nevertheless, this shrine is so unusual and the vicinity is so pretty.
|How to cleanse yourself..|
There's also a decent sized park for picnics.
Leaving Kuzuharaoka shrine, we made our next stop at Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Jinja, a shrine most well known for money-washing.
Although 'zeniarai' apparently means coins washing, a lot of people (including me) dipped the bigger nominal yen paper notes in the water inside the inner caves to hope that they will double in time. I wasn't crude enough to wash my dollar notes, thank you very much.
|entrance built into mountain to reach the shrine|
It seems that this shrine is always popular, and there's quite a number of souvenir shops inside.
Moving on from Zeniarai, we took a much easier path (concrete roads, instead of hiking paths) to our next destination - Sasuke Inari Jinja.
The long array of torii gates and the small fox statues are somewhat similar to Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Jinja.
|Tea provided for refreshment.|
Our last stop for our walking trail was Daibutsu Kotoku-in Temple - a buddhist temple well known for the giant Buddha.
This sign was at the entrance. Lol. I guess not much players now as the hype is long gone, but I could imagine they had troubles with aspiring poke-trainers in the past... .
Entry fee was 200 yen.
Beautiful red maples still apparent... .
And I had to get matcha soft serve (never mind it was winter), and a mitarashi dango.
The star of the show himself... .
Giant Buddha also has his own giant slippers... .
Heading back to the station, I didn't forget to get another matcha soft serve (of course the one sprinkled with matcha powder) and some potato and purple sweet potato croquettes.
I initially wanted to dedicate the whole day to explore Kamakura, as they have a lot more shrines & temples to visit, but we had to leave Kamakura as we planned to go to Sagamiko Pleasure Forest (weird name, I know).
From Kita-Kamakura station, it was about 2 hours train ride (0_o)
さがみ湖リゾート プレジャーフォレスト (Sagamiko Resort Pleasure forest)
During winter months' night times, Sagamiko Resort has Illumillion - where their park is lighted up with colorful lights.
It was already dark when we arrived (at around 6.30 p.m.) and we wanted to check into our accommodation for the night before exploring the Illumillion.
The adjacent Paddington Bear Campground provided an overnight stay park which includes the Illumillion entry ticket, accommodation at one of their provided chosen cabins, and dinner & breakfast.
After getting lost for a while (because it was dark and hard to find the reception for the campground from the resort's entrance), we finally could check in. It was about 5-10 minutes walk from the main entrance to the campground's reception area.
|The campground's main building/reception|
I chose option "ログキャビン・デラックステラス付" for the accommodation type - a cabin that is although very small, it fits 4 adults.
Accommodation: Paddington Bear Sagamihara
Price paid: 9200 yen per person
Inclusion: Cabin type "ログキャビン・デラックステラス付" overnight stay, DIY dinner, DIY breakfast, craft lantern, paper-glasses for illumillion (this changes their fairy lights into snowflakes lights when seen through the glasses. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture), Onsen's entry fee
It also has an undercover BBQ decked area, where we prepared our dinner (we were absolutely famished at this point, we just wanted to eat before seeing the illuminations). Dinner provided was basically ingredients for curry, simple but plentiful. It was very cold and this hot curry somehow was the best tasting curry we ever had.
They also provided a bottle of wine. I have to say, it leaned towards tasteless for my tongue, but nevertheless at least it warmed me up (though just a bit).
Within the pack, they also gave us some crafts (DIY paper lanterns, which we didn't have the time to make), and heat packs.
After dinner, we decided to go to the on-site hot spring/onsen - Ururi. I felt it was a real pity we couldn't spend more time at the onsen as it was quite nice.
The onsen's entry fee is also included in the overnight's stay price. *Note*: you can ask the receptionist to take you to the onsen by shuttle car. You don't want to walk there in the cold.
After having a nice hot bath (which we hurriedly finished within 15 minutes. Boo :( ), we asked the onsen's front desk to contact Paddington's campground's staff to fetch us back to the campground. It was hardly 1/2 hour left before the park was closed. The gentleman that drove us back kindly took us closer to where the lights were (rather than back to the cabin), and we strolled around the park to enjoy the Illumillion.
Booking for the overnight stay here is quite tricky if you are non-Japanese or don't reside in Japan. Do let me know if you really wish to stay here and I will let you know how I got to book my stay.