Today was another early day for the students and the CIE staff at Tomei as today is the day we will be checking out of Tomei. Breakfast started at 7:00am, and many of us finished breakfast earlier than usual to finish packing up and helping each other clean up the facilities. We said our goodbyes to the mountains of Tomei before getting on the bus at around 9:00am to head over to Kamakura. Our first stop was Kotoku-in, where the Big Buddha (daibutsu) was located. We were rather surprised that we could even go inside the Big Buddha for only 20 yen to get a glimpse of how the structure was built from the inside.
As a group, we went for lunch at a place called Ajitei. At Ajitei, we were greeted by the friendly restaurant staff and were served a delicious meal set consisting of pork and rice, sashimi, tofu, Osuimono soup, and some matcha-flavored sweets. We left Ajitei with our taste-buds and stomachs fully satisfied.
The next part of our trip is a part of Kamakura that is famous for the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, which is the most important shrine in Kamakura. Students were free to explore the area on their own. Many walked up the long staircase to pay their visit to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and the path was paved with Tanabata (Star Festival) decorations that added extra color and elegance to the shrine. We tested our fortune at the Omikuji (fortune teller stand) near the shrine, and received our fortunes from a paper slip.
Students then made their way to Komachi-dori, the main shopping street in Kamakura. There were many souvenir shops filled with magnets, keychains, and aesthetic chopsticks that we could even engrave our names on. Some of us tested out several different levels of matcha at an ice cream shop. It rained a little in the afternoon, so we shared our umbrellas and fought the winds together as we explored Komachi-dori.
We gathered back at the bus at 3:00pm to head back to Showa, and then to the Act Hotel Shibuya where we will be staying for two nights. The bus ride on the way back was rather quiet as students were tired from a long day of walking. We definitely enjoyed the accommodation at the hotel (which celebrated its grand opening only a week ago). We can’t believe the end of the program is tomorrow!