Many Japanese have a fear of the ocean. You can’t blame them, really — the beaches are prone to some vicious rip tides that you don’t want to be caught in while wading. I was staying with a family in Tokyo during July, and it was sweltering. I planned a day trip to Kamakura, a beach town not far from the city, and I packed a bathing suit figuring that I’d use the opportunity to cool off. My host was horrified and begged me to stay out of the ocean. Reluctantly, I agreed to leave my suit at home and to enjoy the historic temples instead.
My last visit of the day was to the Hasedera Temple. Along the path to the wooden shrine at the top of the hill, you encounter hundreds of small human statues called jizo. These are considered to be the guardians of deceased children, responsible for carrying them to the afterlife. People often come to wash the statues and dress them in doll clothes, as if they were real children. Their presence is chilling — almost like hundreds of gravestones.
I wandered to the terrace at the top of the hill and bought a milk popsicle from a woman with a pushcart. With the sweet taste of the treat on my tongue, the salty smell in the air and the heavy humidity hanging around me, I took this picture of the beautiful, powerful Japanese ocean. I felt at once very small, but incredibly content.
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.