Kamakura (鎌倉) and Enoshima (江の島) are areas in Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県) near the sea, popular with tourists and packed with things to do. Here are several things for you to do in these areas, and how to get them all done in one exciting, fun-filled day.
If you’re in Tokyo (東京), rise and shine at around 7:00 am to get the most out of your day. This will allow you plenty of time to enjoy Kamakura in the morning before it gets too crowded. Pack a picnic, or prepare it the night before. Alternatively, there are many delicious restaurants around the Kamakura and Enoshima areas, so whichever you prefer is fine.
If you reach Kamakura Station (鎌倉駅) in the early morning, you can see locals walking their dogs, businesses opening, and experience the relaxing and calm atmosphere that is hard to find in busy cities. En route to Daibutsu (大仏) is a popular taiyaki (たいやき) shop which, even in the early morning, had a line of customers.
Once you’ve arrived, head to the Giant Buddha, or Daibutsu. It is a 25-30 minute walk by foot so, if you’d prefer, take the bus from Kamakura Station to Daibutsu-Mae (about 10 minutes). You can also rent bicycles at a rental very close to the train station.
There are souvenir shops, a music box shop, and a temple near Daibutsu, a gorgeous and popular statue. It’s 200 yen for entry, and an extra 20 yen to tour the inside of the buddha. Daibutsu is 11.3 meters high and weighs 121 tons. It’s a beautiful place to go during the cherry blossom season.
If you want to buy souvenirs on your trip, the local shops are worth a look. The gift shop right opposite the entrance to Daibutsu, Sankai-do souvenir shop (Japanese only), was surprisingly affordable and had items such as Japan-themed shot and sake glasses, figurines ranging from One Piece (ワンピース) to Pokemon (ポケットモンスター), rubber nunchucks and other ninja (忍者) weapons, postcards, magnets and more.
There are also several music box shops near Kotoku-in Temple featuring all kinds of cute little music boxes, some of which play music from popular Japanese bands like Arashi (嵐) and Greeeen (グリーン), and even music from Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty.
If you made a picnic, there are several nice places to sit and eat your lunch outside if the weather is fine. Be careful, however, as the Kamakura area is notorious for local birds which are known for swooping down and snatching food from tourists’ fingers! Ideally, find a place with a roof and surrounded by lots of trees and people.
If you’d prefer to eat at a restaurant, local eateries offer classic Japanese dishes such as soba (そば) noodles, curry, and western food.
When you’ve had your fill of Daibutsu and the nearby temples and shops, take the Enoshima Dentetsu (江の島電鉄) Line for a 25-minute ride to Enoshima.
Upon leaving the station, turn left to follow the street towards the beach and the island. Along here, you can see a few shops and even some street paintings. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the calm and happy atmosphere.
Along the road, you’ll soon come to the long bridge leading to the island. On the right side, you’ll see staff offering a ten-minute motorboat ride. The ride is 1000 yen and they give you a quick tour near the island, where you can take a peek at the caves. On a very clear day, you even have a chance to spot Mt. Fuji (富士山). Life jackets are provided at no extra charge.
The boat ride is enormous fun and is recommended if you have some time to spare.
This very pretty area of Enoshima Island has freshly-caught local street food including sea shells, octopus and squid, and a small park called the Olympic Memorial Park (オリンピック記念公園) where you can enjoy relaxing and watching whatever feature the park has that day. When we visited, there was a shamisen (三味線) performance and a ninja show.
Travel just a little farther on and you’ll come to the Iwaya Caves, a holy place where it is said the ancient Kinmei Emperor (欽明天皇) was asked by an oracle to build a shrine. It is a pretty big walk to the caves, so if this is unsuitable for you, take the Bentenmaru ferry from the motorboat area.
The caves are an exciting place to explore, and a perfect way to wrap up your day.
After these seven things to do in Kamakura and Enoshima, you’ll be tired but hopefully pleased with your adventure! Japan is a goldmine for places to explore and things to do. Add these things to your to-do list!