Catastrophe

Statue of Japanese ScholarIn 1890, the railroad, which until then had arrived just to Ofuna, reached Kamakura bringing in tourists and new residents, and with them a new prosperity.Part of the ancient Dankazura (see above) was removed to let the railway system's new Yokosuka Line pass. The volcanic eruption of Sakurajima in January 1914, covered the city in ashes. Lava flows connected the mainland with what had been a small island in the bay.

The damage caused by time, centuries of neglect, politics, and modernization was further compounded by nature in 1923. The epicenter of the Great Kantō earthquake that year was deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay, a short distance from Kamakura. Tremors devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, and the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, causing widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. It was reported that the sea receded at an unprecedented velocity, and then waves rushed back towards the shore in a great wall of water over seven meters high, drowning some and crushing others beneath an avalanche of water-born debris.

stone 
                             lantern

The total death toll from earthquake, tsunami, and fire exceeded 2,000 victims. Large sections of the shore simply slid into the sea; and the beach area near Kamakura was raised up about six-feet; or in other words, where there had only been a narrow strip of sand along the sea, a wide expanse of sand was fully exposed above the waterline. Many temples founded centuries ago are just careful replicas, and it's for this reason that Kamakura has just one National Treasure in the building category (the Shariden at Engaku-ji). Much of Kamakura's heritage was for various reasons first lost and later rebuilt.

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sculpture of Japanese 
                             Scholar

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Settlement

prayer house at DaibatsuAfter the Meiji restoration Kamakura's great cultural assets, its beach and the mystique that surrounded its name made it as popular as it is now, and for pretty much the same reasons. The destruction of its heritage nonetheless didn't stop: during the anti-Buddhist violence of 1868 (haibutsu kishaku) that followed the official policy of separation of Shinto and Buddhism (shinbutsu bunri) many of the city temples were damaged. In other cases, because mixing the two religions was now forbidden, shrines or temples had to give away some of their treasures, thus damaging their cultural heritage and decreasing the value of their properties.

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū's giant Niō (仁王?)} (the two wooden warden gods usually found at the sides of a Buddhist temple's entrance), for example, being objects of Buddhist worship and therefore illegal where they were, were brought to Jufuku-ji, where they still are. The shrine also had to destroy Buddhism-related buildings, for example its tahōtō tower, its midō (御堂?), and its shichidō garan. Some Buddhist temples were simply closed, like Zenkō- ji, to which the now-independent Meigetsu-in used to belong.

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