According to A2zgov, Kamakura is a Japanese city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, 50 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. By Japanese standards, the city is quite small – with a population of only 175 thousand people, but it is of great interest to tourists because of the many preserved ancient monuments and temples. In addition, Kamakura has a mild climate, and the city itself is surrounded by forests on three sides, which makes it an excellent resort.
How to get to Kamakura
If you are going to Kamakura from Tokyo, the fastest way is to take the Yokosuka line train, then the journey will take you about an hour and cost 920 JPY. You can take the same train in Yokohama, then you will spend only 25 minutes on the way, and the ticket will cost 340 JPY.
In addition, trains arrive in Kamakura on the Odakyu Private Line from Shinjuku to Fujisawa, which are cheaper, but take longer.
The town is a bit big for just walking, but to get to the nearest bus stop, you either have to travel three more train stops on the Enoden line and get off at Hase station, or walk through the forest. If you come to Kamakura for one day, the path through the forest will give you the opportunity to see several temples, for which you will most likely simply not have time later.
You can also rent a bike to move around the city. This can be done just 50 meters from the exit of the train station, and it will cost 800 JPY per hour and 1800 JPY per day.
Most tourists come to Kamakura for one day and spend the night in Tokyo, but if you want to see the city better, you can stay here too.
Kamakura-Hase Youth Hostel, located three minutes from Hase Station, has rather strict hosts who make sure that the guests do not violate the rules of the hostel, but low prices – from 400 JPY per night.
And Sotetsu FRESA INN Kamakura Ofuna, located a stone’s throw from Ofuna Station, is very convenient and the prices are also not too high – 7500 JPY per night, and if you book a room on the hotel’s website, you can save.
Near the station there are many nice little cafes serving a variety of Japanese dishes, and during the summer months on the beach, southeast of the station, there are bars open, some of which have musicians or DJs.
Saryo Inoue is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Sunday – and Monday when there are public holidays – and serves well-prepared traditional Japanese dishes, with a terrace on the second floor that offers beautiful views of the city.
In addition, there is a shop on Komachi Street that produces local o-senbei rice biscuits, which can be bought there for 200 JPY.
While you’re in Kamakura, try another local dish – purple potato soft ice cream. It’s made from locally grown sweet potatoes and actually tastes way better than the name.
The beaches of Kamakura
Kamakura is not only a city filled with many beautiful temples, it also has great beaches. The most famous of them is Yuigahama, from which it is most convenient to look at the fireworks that are held in Kamakura in the summer.
Inamuragasaki is no less famous, with the best view of the sunset in the evenings. And on the Shichirigahama beach, unfortunately, you can’t swim – but you can surf.
Attractions in Kamakura
Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu is the largest Shinto shrine in the almost entirely Buddhist Kamakura. It was built by Yoritomo Minamoto in the second half of the 12th century. If you are lucky, you will be able to see a traditional wedding in the square in front of the temple – an absolutely unforgettable sight.
Kōtokuin is the temple that houses the famous Big Buddha (Daibutsu), a bronze statue that stands 13.35 meters tall and is the second largest Buddha in Japan. The temple is open from 7:00 to 17:30, the entrance to the temple costs 200 JPY.
Hasedera is a temple that houses Japan’s largest statue of a Buddhist deity called Kannon. Entrance costs 300 JPY. Zeniarai Benten Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Benzaiten, however, it is not famous for this reason – it is believed that any money washed in this temple will double.
Be sure to try the purple potato soft ice cream. It’s made from locally grown sweet potatoes and actually tastes way better than the name.
Engakuji is the second of five Zen temples built in 1282 to commemorate the warriors who fell in the Mongol invasion. In the building next to the temple, according to the legend. one of the Buddha’s teeth is kept, and on the top of the hill there is a big bell, next to which you can try tokoroten – sweet cold noodles.
Tōkeiji is a monastery where abused women fled. After living there for three years, they could get a divorce. The monastery is famous for its huge peach crops, and in the spring, during the flowering of peach trees, it looks just amazing. In addition, there is a beautiful cemetery on the territory of the monastery.
Meigetsuin is a temple that is also called the “Temple of Hydrangeas”, due to the large number of these flowers growing on its territory. The temple is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and the entrance costs 300 JPY (500 JPY in June). And in Jōmyōji you can participate in a tea ceremony for only 600 JPY.