Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kamakura's Tenen "Red Leaf" Hiking Trail

On Wednesday, the girls and I joined a tour given by a Japanese local, Fusako san. She gives tours of the city of Kamakura - hiking trails, shrines, temples - free of charge. She volunteers her time and always invites some of her Japanese friends along to help wrangle all the clueless foreigners. I am so thankful for people like her who want to help us make the most of our time in Japan.

For this tour, she took us on the "red leaf" trail, which I later found out is called the Tenen Hiking Trail. We took the train into Kamakura, then took a bus to Kamakura-gu shrine and walked to the trail-head from there. I think most people start at the opposite end of the trail, but we started at the end that's a bit easier to find (see the end of the post for more details about how to get to this trail). 

The trail was BEAUTIFUL, with many trees in colors of yellow, orange and red. We did about 5 miles of trail and most of it involved climbing up and down along the ridge of the hills. My girls complained about walking while we were still on the road heading to the trail-head, but once they got into the woods, all the complaining ceased. Nature draws children in and my girls enjoyed the trees, dirt, caves, and rock climbing. They did the whole trail and I was very proud of them. 

This is Kamakura-gu shrine - the closest shrine to the trail-head.

I. Adore. Ginko leaves.

The colors were awe-inspiring.

You always run into bamboo at some point.

A small restaurant on the top of the hill, in the middle of the trail. And they had vending machines up there!

My children love Fusako san.

We had lunch down below in that open area.

I love all the different roof colors in Japan.

See why I love the Ginko tree? It's beautiful in the fall!

Our hiking group.
If you would like to hike this trail, fall is a wonderful time to go! I did some searching on the web and found a great website with detailed instructions on how to find the same section of trail where we started. We ended at Meigetsu-in Temple (known as "the hydrangea temple" in June), but you can also take the trail down to Kencho-ji temple (the oldest Zen monastery in Japan). Click over here to read more about this trail from Japan Tourist.

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