Kamakura has hiking trails winding all through its hills. Midsummer they are cool and serene, quiet save for cicadas and bush warblers. The hills climb fast to panoramic vistas and long ridges that skirt finger-like valleys. After rains the forests are lush. Ferns are hip high. Fan palms hide the trail. And here and there are caves, tiny shrines, rows of tombstones—marks of history. Worn stones reveal where others have stepped…for centuries. One of the paths I walk leads past the Takatoki hara-kiri caves. Another goes by Mandara-do with its multi-storied cave tombs. Kamakura has hundreds of burial caves from the Kamakura era dug into cliffsides. Many are filled with gorinto, stupas of five-element "rings" representing from bottom to top earth, water, fire, wind, space. There are still paths I haven’t explored in all these years in Kamakura, and even on the paths I've hiked many times, I'm always discovering something I hadn't noticed before. This summer I am exploring the trails. Between writing and editing, I am taking to the hills. Some days are for running, some days are for beach walks, but other days I need a hike.
|Mandara-do yagura (cave tombs)|
|Mandara-do yagura with many gorinto|
|View of Kamakura|