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August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Kamakura's Gokurakuji: Ajisai

The hydrangeas in this part of Japan have reached there peak, and are now officially in full bloom.   I suppose there're many places in Japan where one can go to see hydrangea, but if there had to be a place, one with Mecca like status where throngs of elderly and Jukujo, highly refined Japanese women, visit for the sole purpose of viewing Hydrangea, then Kamakura would be that place. 
(  Jukujo Babes)
Hydrangea can be found almost anywhere in this historic city,  not only famed for its legendary craftsman, poets, and educators, but also for its many temples, shrines, and botanical gardens, a place  where people travel from far and wide to take a walk through time.   Again, it's Kamakura and in this city there're several  parts of it you can visit.  This post will focus on the best spot called Gokurakuji!

I love these flowers.  Summer has so much to offer here in Japan.  Seasonal flowers, foods, and sake.  I used to hate summers until I came to this country.  I look forward to all the seasons now.
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It wouldn't be fair if I had said that only one part of this small area in Kamakura is good, all the surrounding areas around this temple, Gokuraku-ji, is good!  Even the residential areas have beautiful hydrangea.   Kamakura is one big garden city of hydrangea this time of year.
(Gokuraku-ji Station)

Historically, the advent and unification of Buddhism and Shintoism ushered in a new era of  enlightenment and prosperity for the Japanese.  During this time, particularly the arts, had flourished along with the cultivation of new thoughts and the refinement of the Samurai. 
Gokuraku-ji, entrance gate.  You see how small it is, right?  You need to watch your head on this one.

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Water trough.  The washing of the hands is customary when entering either temple or a shrine.
A mother with child.  A guardian and a demi - goddess.
Floor pots at the temple
Not all gods are bound in the heavens, some are earth bound. 
Where this god stands is a very famous power spot.  This may have been features on television as one of the top energy spots in Japan. 
So if coming here, or to any of the surrounding areas you have until early July.  There are several other locations you may visit as well.
Great Spot for Viewing hydreangea

Just take the Dentetsu to Gokurakuji Station.  That simple. 
In conclusion, I highly recommend either footing it or cycling and remember the humidity factor this time of year is very high, so dress appropriately and bring a hand towel and lots of coins to give to the gods.  I prefer 5 yen coins. 
The video is worth watching, really. 


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