You can enjoy an exciting and exploratory journey into the old capital of Japan in Kita-Kamakura. Beautiful and famous historical temples exist here. In Omachi and Zaimukuza, the origin of the old capital, you can enjoy a coastal path that exhibits the salty "taste" of the sea.
Kamakura City is situated in the southeastern part of Kanagawa. One side of the city faces the sea and the rest is surrounded by mountains, so it was used as a natural fort. The Shogun Minamoto-no-Yoritomo established his shogunate (the center of politics) in Kamakura, in 1192, leading samurai warriors of the Kanto region. The city prospered for more than about 150 years from that time. There are many historical sites for sightseeing, mainly temples and shrines that are scattered around in this city. Walking through greenery from site to site adds pleasure to a sightseeing tour. A good starting point for exploration is Kita-Kamakura.
Toward the end of the Kamakura Period, one of the most powerful clans, Hojo, set up a rating system called "Kamakura Gozan" for Zen temples. Hojo rated five temples of Kamakura, three of which-Kencho-ji Temple (first), Engaku-ji Temple (second), and Jochi-ji Temple (fourth)-can be seen in Kita-Kamakura and are proud of their history. You can learn about the history of Kamakura while enjoying a refreshing stroll through the woods.
Meigetsu-in Temple is known as the Ajisai (Hydrangea)-dera Temple. As the name suggests, the temple garden becomes abundant with hydrangea flowers in early summer.
Omachi and Zaimokuza are situated on the eastern side of the Nameri-gawa River that flows through the city of Kamakura. As the name Zaimokuza ("Zaimoku" means timber) suggests, it was once the area that contained Japan's oldest harbor, where timber was brought to build Kamakura. Zaimokuza Beach is a popular beach resort, and it is crowded with people from neighboring towns and cities in summer. You can enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach, breathing in the salty tang of the sea.
In the Omachi and Zaimokuza area, there are many historical sites that retain so much evidence that the area was the origin of the old capital, Kamakura. There is Moto-Hachiman Shrine erected by the Kamakura Shogun Minamoto-no-Yoritomo in the 12th century. Chosho-ji Temple enshrines the statue of the great Buddhist monk Nichiren of the 13th century. There is also Kuhon-ji Temple, where a cemetery of the war dead was created by Nitta Yoshisada, a samurai general who made inroads to Kamakura.
Omachi and Zaimokuza are also known for many temples that are associated with flowers. For instance, the whole precinct of An'yo-in Temple becomes abundant with azalea flowers in spring, and Ankokuron-ji Temple is proud of crab apple trees and sasanqua, which are both natural Kamakura monuments. These places are visited by lots of people during the flowering seasons.
[Rail] 51 min from Tokyo to Kita-Kamakura Station by JR Yokosuka Line.
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