Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Diabatsu

Hike and Lunch

The original forecast for today was sunny with a high close to 60 degrees. Unfortunately, it was cloudy most of the day and barely got to 50. I am definitely not complaining. Especially, as I continue to hear about the cold temperatures and snow storms back in the U.S.

So, despite the chillier conditions than we anticipated, Amanda and I set off to hike the Kuzuharaoka-Daibutsu Hiking course.

Before starting the hike, we made a quick stop at the Jochi-ji Temple. One of my favorites. What isn’t to love about Hotei – the God of Happiness!?!

Besides the God of Happiness, the daffodils were starting to bloom.

Without further delay, we were on our way along the trail.

At one intersection along the trail, I saw a sign for a restaurant I have been wanting to try. I’ve heard great things about the food at Cafe Terrace. Plus, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji.

The sign literally seemed like a sign for us to stop and enjoy lunch. We ordered first and then sat down at the cute outdoor cafe tables.

While we were waiting for our order, the sun started to come out. It was lovely.

The server brought our food and an information card about the restaurant. I was relieved to see hikers were welcome. I was worried we might be under dressed.

We both ordered the mac and cheese with side salad. It was delicious, warmed us up, and fueled us for the rest of the hike.

I definitely want to return to Cafe Terrace. I want to return on a sunny and clear day and sip a glass of wine while watching Mt. Fuji.

After our meal, we finished our hike and made our way home. The rain from yesterday made the trail a bit muddy and slippery. Fortunately, we made it through without consequence.

Mt. Nokogiri

Dave and I took an ITT trip with Sonia and her husband, John, to Mt. Nokogiri on Sunday. Mt. Nokogiri is located on the Chiba Peninsula. The Chiba Peninsula is on the other side of the Tokyo Bay from where we are on the Miura Peninsula. The bus ride on the way there took us through the Aqualine. 


The Aqualine is a tunnel that goes beneath the Tokyo Bay. I timed our transit. It took us a little over eight minutes with no traffic. Once we were through the tunnel, we stopped at the rest stop to purchase snacks for our hike. The views were incredible. 

It reminded us of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. But, in Japan, not quite as long, and with a better rest stop! 

Dave & Julia Sashimi

Taking the helm

Tokyo skyline – Tokyo Skytree is on the right. 


Here was a cool illustration of the Aqualine. 


Once we arrived at Mt. Nokogiri, we took a cable car to the top of the mountain. The views were spectacular throughout the day. We all agreed, this tour is worth doing again in the fall when the leaves are changing. 

One of the scenic lookouts was beautiful. Sonia and I waited in line for 35 minutes for these pictures! First, the line… 


And then the views! 


We walked up and down so many stairs on the mountain. Along the way, we observed 1,500 stone figures of different Arhats (Buddhist Saints). I captured a lot of them and only will share a few pictures of them! Many of the statues are in poor condition as a result of an anti-Buddhist movement during the Meiji Era (1868-1912). The statues have been under repair during recent years. 

His green head looks a bit alien-like!

Watch your head… the statues are missing theirs!


The highlight of Mt. Nokogiri is the stone Buddha (Daibutsu). The stone Buddha is the largest in Japan. It measures 28 meters high. It was built by Jingorō Eirei Ōno and his 27 apprentices. They completed the structure in 1783. It was recently restored between 1966-1969. The Daibutsu was constructed to symbolize world peace and tranquility. It was ahh-mazing. 


Dave, me, and Buddha! 


And a selfie, of course – the filters were a bonus. 


The shrines around the temple included thousands of small Buddhas. 


Just a few pictures of the flowers on the mountain before we head home.  


To return home, we took a ferry across the Tokyo Bay to Kurihama. This is the alternative route to get across Tokyo Bay. 


The ferry ride was the perfect end to a great day. Enjoying time underway with friends and adult beverages. Kanpie! 

Buddha’s Pooper

Bill’s visit was work related and only provided for a small amount of time for me to give him a Julia Tour. Between the jet lag and his work schedule, it was tough to find too much spare time. We did squeeze in a few traditional Japanese experiences. Starting with ramen.


Tuesday night, I met Dave and Bill in Yokosuka after work. After a brief pit stop at the O’Club for an informal Navy happy hour, we went to the “Red Door” ramen shop in Yokosuka. This is actually the first place Dave and I had dinner when we arrived in July. It was just as delicious! Dave ordered the spicy ramen and Bill and I both ordered the salt ramen – mine with extra nori (seaweed sheets) – remember, seaweed is the pickle bite of the burger. I think Bill would have this chopstick thing down if he was here another couple days!


Bill’s flight left Wednesday evening giving us a few hours to explore Kamakura. The first stop was the Great Buddha. My favorite.


There wasn’t a line to go inside Buddha, so, we ventured in for ¥20 (16 cents). The best part, was Bill referring to this opportunity as “going into the Buddha’s pooper.” Haha! I snapped this quick picture of Bill looking in the same direction as the Japanese ladies were pointing. No, he has no idea what they are saying.


As we returned back to Hase Station, I snapped one more picture of the last remaining Sakura and the wisteria starting to bloom. Considering the wisteria photo foreshadowing for next week!


We returned to Kamakura and walked to the Hachiman-gū Shrine.


We walked up behind the main shrine and found this quiet sanctuary and shrine.


It was a beautiful morning and I was happy to share a couple of my favorite spots in Japan with Bill before he headed back to America.

After I dropped Bill off in Yokosuka to catch his shuttle to Narita, I stopped by the post office to pick up a package. The Chick-Fil-A fairy delivered again! This time from Germantown, TN and with a few other essentials to kick off grilling and smoking season! Thank you, Layla, Nick, Nina, and Noah for going to several Chick-Fil-A stores to gather yummy sauce for us. I truly appreciate your friendship, love, and support to help us taste TN in Japan. Watch out for a few Neko Atsume surprises coming your way!

Sakura Chasing

On Monday, there was a break in the rain. I set out on a mission to spend the day enjoying Sakura. I set out with four locations in mind to view with a Sakura setting. The first was the Great Buddha, Daibutsu. The first picture was the one I made the trip to capture. The others were taken in the surrounding gardens and a delightful surprise. 


My second stop was at the Ōfuna Kannon Temple or also known as the White Lady of Ofuna. Visiting this temple always calms me and helps me find peace. Seeing the White Lady today with the Sakura was enchanting and serene. 


My next point of interest was at the Gumyoji Station. I have never been there before and was recommended to visit during Sakura Season by a neighbor. Google Maps help me find my way from Ōfuna Station to Gumyoji Station like a champ. 


After a short walk from the Gumyoji Station, I was along the canal where the Sakura were in full bloom. It was breath taking. 


I must take a minute and explain the Japanese custom of Hanami. Hanami is tradition of enjoying a picnic under the Sakura. As I walked along the Gumyoji canal, there were many groups enjoying an afternoon Hanami. I couldn’t help but smile and truly appreciate the way the Japanese take time to enjoy fellowship and the beautiful Sakura blossoms. Without looking creepy, I attempted to capture a few groups practicing Hanami. 


The canal stretched on for a pretty good distance. I walked from one train station to another taking as many pictures as possible! 


My final stop of my Sakura chasing experience for the day was at the Shomyoji Temple. The temple was about a 15 minute walk from the Kanazawa-Bunco train station. The temple was easy to find because the street was lined with Sakura and lanterns. 


Around the temple there were several groups enjoying the Hanami experience. 


A highlight in the temple garden was the bridge crossing over the small pod. 


A few more Sakura shots from around the gardens. 


I feel like I made the most of the non-rainy day getting out and about to see the beautiful Sakura. When you plan your visit, I hope you consider Sakura Season. I will warn you though, like most things in nature, it can be difficult to predict. 

Spontaneous Julia Tour

One of my favorite things about the Navy is how frequently paths will cross with former shipmates. Even in Japan. Eric, who was the Command Master Chief at SWOSU for about a year while Dave was the CO, was here in Yokosuka attending a conference. Dave and I met up with him last night for dinner in Yokosuka.


The conference ended on Wednesday and Eric’s flight didn’t leave until Friday morning. That gave him all of Thursday to explore and experience a short one-day Julia tour around Kamakura.

I decided anyone who visits must see the Diabatsu, the giant Buddha of Kamakura.


I mean the giant Buddha is just so chill and such a Japanese experience. I like to think of the Diabatsu as the Willis Tower of Japan! Except cheaper and not as tall. Haha

I decided I would take Eric to the Diabatsu via a hike. Dina was able to join us for our adventure. I took them on the hike I did a couple months ago, The Trail With 4 Buddhas. On our way to the trail, we made a quick stop at my favorite temple, Jōchi-ji, for a quick visit to see the God of Happiness, Hotei.


It was a lovely early spring day.


When we reached the Kuzuharaoka Shrine, Dina saw this sign.


We decided we all needed to throw a dish at the rock!


And so we did! Be gone malign influences, impurities, and obstacles!!


My throw might have been a little overzealous. Parts of the dish ricocheted at me.


We continued on our hike and eventually made our way to Diabatsu. How could Buddha possibly be spelled wrong!?!


And we made it!


With photos taken as proof of our visit, it was time for lunch! Eric’s request was ramen. Google Maps helped us find a little ramen shop off the beaten path and absolutely delicious.


After lunch, we made our way back to Kamakura. In Kamakura, Dina headed home. Eric and I walked through Komachi Dori and made our way to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine.


As always, my first thought is – “so many people!” Second thought, “don’t these people have to work!?”

I was super happy to be able to incorporate a hike into my Julia tour today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear enough to see Mt. Fuji. Maybe when you visit and we go hiking, it will be clear enough to see her!

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