Taya Cave is a best-kept secret—an underground maze of tunnels used as a spiritual training site from about AD 1200 to 1700. Visit the tunnels that were dug by hand by Shingon Buddhist monks. The eerie, damp hallways lead to small chambers, whose ornate walls and ceilings feature hand-carved Buddhas and animals. Then, transfer to Kamakura to visit Kotoku-in Temple. The Great Buddha in this temple is a designated National Treasure and is Japan’s largest Buddha after the one in the Todaiji Temple in Nara. You’ll also stop at Hase Kannon Temple—home of the eleven-faced Hase Kannon. The temple is Japan’s largest wooden sculpture, standing about 28 feet tall. Its garden is also very enjoyable with lovely seasonal plants. Relax over lunch before visiting the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, founded at its present location by Yoritomo Minamoto in 1180. This shrine remains one of the most popular in the Kanto region. On the grounds of the shrine is a ginkgo tree said to be more than 700 years old. You’ll explore on foot with your guide; then drive back to the pier in Yokohama.
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