Are you staying in Tokyo and looking for a beautiful, green place with many attractions to visit nearby? Then you should go to the quaint seaside city of Kamakura. In the medieval period, Japan was governed from here and that’s why there are a lot of cultural treasures to find. Kamakura is easily accessible by train from Shinjuku or Tokyo station, it only takes about one hour to get there. Listed below are 6 places that you should not miss if you go to Kamakura!
Before you reach Kamakura from Tokyo you can get off at Ofuna station, which is on the way. Of this list, this would be the least crowded and lesser known attraction. Here, the giant white statue of Kannon (25-meter tall) stands on top of the hill. An interesting fact about this statue is that its body includes stones from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Moreover, a fire that originated from the atomic fires of the Hiroshima explosion continues to burn in a mushroom-shaped statue. The statue can be easily reached from Ofuna station. The entrance fee is for this temple is 300 yen.
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When traveling, one would definitely want to eat nice food and get some souvenirs too. In order to do both, I would recommend going to this shopping street right outside Kamakura station. You can pass through this street on the way to the below mentioned Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.
Kamakura is famous for dishes with ‘shirasu’ (small fish) toppings, so you can find quite a few restaurants selling shirasu dishes here. For edible souvenirs, I personally like the ‘Hangetsu’ (半月). Not only has it a unique crescent shape, the fillings, especially the matcha (green tea) flavor, are very yummy. Another souvenir that is very popular here is the ‘Hato Sable’ (鳩サブレー), a cookie in the shape of a pigeon.
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One of the most important landmarks of Kamakura is definitely this shrine which is dedicated to Hachiman, the Shinto God of War. This temple has a long history that dates back to the 11th century. The shrine was very important for the family that made Kamakura a political center during the medieval period. You can tell this shrine is important by the large torii gates that line the road to the main gate. Many events and festivals are held in this shrine throughout the year if you are lucky you can catch one on your visit.
Just like most (Shinto) shrines in Japan, there is no entrance fee to enter this place unless you want to visit the shrine museum. This shrine is only a 15-minute walk from Kamakura station.
On top of the list is definitely the Great Buddha in the Kotoku-in temple. This is the symbol of Kamakura, and you haven’t been here without having paid a visit to this impressive statue. Surpassed only by the Buddha statue located in Todaiji, Nara, the one located here is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. You can easily reach Kotoku-in from Hase station.
The entrance fee to the temple is 200 yen. Do take the opportunity to check out the interior of the Buddha statue once there, as you won’t get to do so at other places. You just need to pay 20 yen to enter the Buddha through a small door in the back.
Another place I highly recommended is the Hasedera temple nearby the Great Buddha. The main building of the temple lies on top the hill, which means you can catch a nice view of the ocean from here. Not only that, there is a very nice Japanese garden near the entrance of the temple, and when you walk the stairs up to the main temple you will pass by an area with many Jizo statues. The main temple has an impressively large statue of Buddhist Goddess Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Before you leave the temple you should not miss the small cave downstairs that contains sculptures of Benzaiten (Goddess of Wealth and Luck) and other gods. The entrance fee for this temple is 300 yen.
If you have some time to spare after visiting all the above spots, why not check out nearby Enoshima as well. Only 30 minutes away by train from Kamakura station, there are quite a few interesting spots to visit at this island, such as an observation tower, caves, a luxurious spa with a view, a beautiful flower park, and several beautiful temples. On a nice and clear day you can catch a great view of Mt. Fuji.
As you can see, you can have a full and satisfying day in this gorgeous seaside town. Don’t forget to make a day trip to Kamakura when you are in the Kanto area!
You can click here to book a walking tour or bicycle tour to Kamakura, so you can discover more hidden spots, and get the most out of your day.