Kamakura Revisited Part 1: Cats

I was very taken with Kamakura the first time I visited and I couldn’t resist using some of my spare time to go again and visit the shrines I missed on the last trip. Sorry if I don’t know the names of some of the temples and museums. I’m going to track the way that I walked it, which was a little rural at times.

On exiting from KitaKamaura station, I decided to stick to the road to the left of the track, adjacent to the main road passing through the town. The first interesting place I came across was a large Japanese house which had posters of lots of different cats outside. The entry fee was a little pricey at 500yen, but it had piqued my curiosity. Inside the very traditional feeling house were several historical artefacts relating to cats.

and this sort of creepy one you might find in your grandmother’s spare room.

After buying a cute calendar and exiting, I turned left and carried on down the road. When I came to the point in which my road connected with the main one, I saw a few people heading left with backpacks. I took this as a sign of something interesting and stepped in toe. After a five minute walk, I discovered a temple I hadn’t visited before. I think the entrance fee was 300yen. It had been well maintained and had a quaint natural feel to it. There were some cave carvings, the photos of which I have omitted as they were less than impressive in picture form. The area was surrounded by tall bamboo.

When I exited the temple I was left with the prospect of turning left and going the back the way I came, or turning right and trying my luck with somewhere I didn’t know. I had the time, so I went right. At first I thought I had made the wrong decision. As I continued to walk, the area became more and more residential looking. I veered right up a hill and saw a little footpath going up the side of a house. I headed for it. the first 200 hundred or so metres were relatively sedate and I covered them quickly. As I moved along – and also increasingly up as I was realising – the path was becoming less stable, and and the vegetation, a little more wild.

This is is an example of the overgrowing plants, although the path here is pretty reasonable. When I thought I had been climbing for a while I came across an ominous looking sign.

I think it says: ‘Anyone passing this point has an appointment with the Wicker Man’. Or not.

The day was pretty hot and I was pretty exasperated when I realised there was another steep climb ahead (especially considering I had just descended from a large one). When I reached the top I was ill at ease to find two branching paths to choose from. I was trying to decide which one to use, when a rustling drew my attention right, and I found, to my surprise, a perfectly white cat stood at the entrance to one of the paths.

If you open this picture in a new tab and zoom on the cat’s face, you will see that it had heterochromia (different coloured eyes), one of his irises being blue and one being green. The cat stood frozen, holding me in its gaze for maybe a minute before it disappeared into a bush. I took this as a good omen and followed the path where the cat had stood. After 5 minutes or so, I came upon a familiar and relieving site.

Continued in part 2.


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