From Ancient Temples to Bronzed Buddhas
After Hasadera, we will head over to Kotoku-in, host to the iconic Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu). The bronze statue dates back to 1252 and was initially housed within a temple hall. Unfortunately, typhoons destroyed the temple, and buildings but the Buddha survived unharmed and has been sitting outdoors since 1495. Today, green with age, this is Japan’s second tallest bronze Buddha; the first is at temple Todai-ji in Nara, outside Kyoto (where we also have a Nara Tour). Kotoku-in may be our last stop, unless we manage to keep up the pace--in which case we may be able to fit in one last visit for the day at the Tsurugaoka-Hachimangu Shrine before heading back to Kamakura Station.
You may, of course, return to Tokyo on the same train as your expert, however, we encourage you stay in Kamakura to have lunch or spend some of the afternoon visiting other attractions.
If you are using a Japan Rail Pass, please let us know. If you have one, you do not need to purchase a train ticket, and we will remove it from your order.
Jay received a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Tokyo where he focused his research on the conservation of historic spaces and landscapes with a particular focus on food production and the agricultural families and communities in and around the city. Having been a resident of both rural and urban Japan, Jay has a particular appreciation for the visible transformation of the country's settled environments as ideas, resources, and the culture itself has changed over the past couple of centuries. While he has lived in a variety of cities and towns in the US, Syria, Russia, the UK, and Japan for study or work, he finally settled on Tokyo as home. He enjoys sharing information about its hidden history, constant development and endless layers.
Kara has suffered from wanderlust for most of her life. Leaving her native New York to bicycle across America as a teen, she then backpacked through Europe for a year before landing in Japan, where she has made her home since 1985. After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Art History at Tokyo’s Sophia University, along with certification in Fine Art Appraisals at New York University, she founded her own art gallery supporting emerging young Japanese artists. She has curated numerous exhibitions, organized symposiums, and lectured frequently at colleges including the prestigious Keio University. Kara is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers on Japan’s art scene, and is the author of “Contemporary Art Walks” in a Tokyo guidebook published by Stone Bridge Press. Media appearances include interviews in 'Newsweek', 'New York Magazine' and prime-time TV shows. She speaks and reads Japanese fluently, and spends her free time pursuing first-hand experience of Japan’s culture and subculture. With a particular interest in indigenous Buddhist practices, she has endured rigorous Yamabushi training with ascetic mountain-dwelling monks, and traveled 30 countries including remote areas such as Lombok and Mt. Kailash in Tibet. More of an urban explorer these days, Kara’s current passion is unraveling hidden aspects to Tokyo, always with a unique insight into visual anthropology.
Fernando is a Spanish architect and town planner. He received his M. Arch in Architecture from Madrid Technical University and his MSc in human geography from the University of Edinburgh. He is currently a PhD Candidate at Tokyo University, where he is studying urban planning. His PhD focuses on shrinking post-industrial cities and how they are restructuring their physical and economic fabrics to overcome their problems. Besides this, Fernando also investigates Japan’s urban reality from a cinematic point of view and how cinema and the city interconnect. Settled now in Tokyo, Fernando combines his research with his interest in Japanese architecture and culture.
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