Friday, April 2, 2010

Zeniarai Benten Ugafuku Jinja

Money Washing Temple

Recently I was invited to go on an outing in Kamakura, the itinerary was a hike, followed by lunch and then a visit to Swany’s a local fabric/sewing store. Fresh air and exercise, good food and fabric – what more could a gal want? Sounded like a perfect day to me!

We started the day by walking/hiking to the Genjiyama Park. This park is up on a hill above Kamakura, cherry trees surround the park but they still weren’t out yet – but note to self, a return trip is a must-do to see them in bloom. On the way we passed by an old traditional Japanese style home, a beautifully sculpted cypress tree in front of someone’s home, a honey store (yum) – I constantly feel like a kid here in Japan – everything is new and different. A honey store? But not just any honey store, one that also has a really cool window display for those of us who are constantly searching out visual stimulation, I’ll be back.

After taking a break at the park we headed to the Zeniarai Benten Ugafuky Jinja temple. This temple was founded in 1185 and is one of the most popular spots in Kamakura. It is believed that if you spend the money that has been washed in the spring’s water, it will increase many times and come back to you.

With my damp Yen in my wallet, and the hope that my money will multiply – and we were headed to a fabric store later? Well, we know that wasn’t going to be in my wallet for long.

Hisayo, our leader, found a perfect cafĂ© for the 6 of us to stop and have lunch. It was lovely – we were the only customers, 3 Americans and 3 Japanese ladies. The number three in Japan is a fortuitous number and I felt more than lucky to be sitting there having a wonderful lunch, great conversation and lots of laughter. Very good for the soul.

With recharged batteries we headed to Swany’s. This place is oh so cool. It reminds me of a smaller version of G Street Fabrics in DC. This could be bad … very bad. Not only does it have beautiful Japanese fabrics, but loads of fabulous purses on display (with all of the unique handles and finishing details), beading supplies AND they are only a few blocks from where I teach my English Conversation classes on Mondays. All Jeff is probably thinking is thank God she left the Ferrari (a.k.a. Bernina sewing machine) in storage … how much damage can she do in a fabric store when she can’t sew? Mmmm …

It was a great day and I thank our Japanese friends for sharing the day with us – one filled with great memories. Till next time, sayonara.

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