A Big Buddha Belly Fulla Ramen

Once again, we wanted to get an early start towards Kamakura to see the Daibutsu (Big Buddha. dai=big, butsu=Buddha). After about an hour of riding on the subway we arrived in Kamakura. We didn't really know our way around so we just followed signs that said "Daibutsu Hiking Trail." I didn't think that it would really be a hike since the Japanese don't seem to actually like hiking. Well, I was wrong.

Throwing plates at rocks.

Throwing plates at rocks.

After walking on a forest trail, I heard voices and children laughing which I was certain meant we were to the Buddha. Wrong, again. It was just the halfway point, where you might be able to see Mt. Fuji if the clouds weren't in the way. There was a love shrine, areas for picnicking, and a "sacred" stone I could throw a plate at to cast away my troubles. I didn't throw very well. I attested that to the fact that I wasn't really troubled by anything. I mean, how could I be? I'm in freaking Japan! Haha

Anyways, after a momentary break, we followed the path that said it would take us to the Daibutsu. It was as long as the first half of the hike. I joked that this pilgrimage better be worth it and I better be able to touch the Buddha himself. Ian told me that was highly unlikely.

Click here to see me knocking on Buddha. Also, are they trying to encourage underage drinking with cute animals??

Click here to see me knocking on Buddha. Also, are they trying to encourage underage drinking with cute animals??

When we finally reached the temple, we found out we could have actually taken a path that wasn't the hike. It was the nice easy street walk that has lots of cute shops. But alas! We took the hard way. I consoled myself with the idea that this was probably the more honorable way and I felt no shame when I finally went and touched the Buddha. Yup, Ian was wrong about not getting to touch Buddha. Not only did I touch the statue, but I got to go inside too. I found out that if you knocked on it hard, the whole statue reverberated to my delight.

Yokohama station.

Yokohama station.

This is basically the most magic person on earth. Possibly related to Santa Claus. Maybe Gandalf.

This is basically the most magic person on earth. Possibly related to Santa Claus. Maybe Gandalf.

As Operation: Daibutsu was a success, we treated ourselves to a hard apple cider made in town, had a street shop snack of croquettes, and then made our way back to the station, so we could go to Yokohama. Upon arrival to Yokohama station, I saw the most magical human! There was a bunch of Gashapon machines in the middle of the station and this man was going and changing out the selection of items! And better yet, there was even a coin machine to exchange my dollars for ¥100 coins. 😱 After my excitement subsided, we realized we were actually not in the right part of town to see the Ramen Museum. That was actually in Shin-Yokohama (shin means "new", so New Yokohama). The station had some really nice art and sculptures, as is the way of most Japanese stations.

Here's a video of that big ramen bowl at the entrance.

Here's a video of that big ramen bowl at the entrance.

We hopped over to Shin-Yokohama, and the museum wasn't far from the station there. I requested the 3-month membership with the intention of returning to try all the shops. The clerk had to grab someone, who I think may have been one of the curators of the museum due to his excitement. He seemed pleased that not only was I requesting a membership, but that ramen is my favorite food. The ramen museum is basically like a themed food court with about 10 different ramen restaurants offering different regional varieties of ramen. I believe it was once a station called Narutobashi, as there are many floors and passages similar to the typical train stations in Tokyo. The entire room is set up to look like pre-war Japan with ads of films painted on the brick walls and little Vespas. We tried two different shops. The first was very yummy. The second was ok.. partly due to the fact that the guy working it was pretty rude, and then Ian felt betrayed by me. I had told him there was a piece of meat that was pretty tasty. I gave him what I thought was a piece of that meat which he feels certain may have been a piece of sponge that fell into the broth. We will never truly know, but to my defense, he really shouldn't have continued to chew on it if he felt it wasn't actually food.

Finally we went back to Yokohama station and decided we'd just walk around for a little while before heading back to Tokyo. We walked towards the water where there was a building that looked like a cruise ship. It was actually shopping center with some restaurants made to look that way. It was pretty cute actually, but since it was about 9 or 10pm, all the shops were all closed. So we headed on home to Shinjuku. Still Yokohama left a great impression and is worthy of revisiting.

Ye Olde Ramen Town

Ye Olde Ramen Town