Kamakura is an ancient city. It has flourished since warlord Minamoto Yoritomo established a new government in 1185. Kamakura is surrounded on three sides by mountains and the south side faces the sea, so this landscape was highly suitable for constructing a fort. With its many historical temples and abundant natural scenery, the city is crowded with visitors throughout the year. At 08:00 and around 17:30, you can hear the sound of bells tolling at the temple. In order to protect this scenery, tall buildings are banned.
Tokyo -- <JR Yokosuka Line 60 mins.> -- Kamakura -- <JR Yokosuka Line3 mins.> -- Kita-Kamakura -- [Engaku-ji Temple] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Kencho-ji Temple] -- Kita-Kamakura -- <JR Yokosuka Line3 mins.> -- Kamakura -- [Wakamiya-oji Street] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Komachi-dori Street] -- Kamakura -- <Enoshima Electric Railway 5 mins.> -- Hase -- <7 mins. by walk> -- [Kotokuin Temple] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Hase-dera Temple] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Yui-ga-hama Beach] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- Yuigahama -- <Enoshima Electric Railway3 mins.> -- Kamakura -- <JR Yokosuka Line 60 mins.> -- Tokyo
The Engaku-ji Temple is a Zen temple built in 1282. The entire premises are designated as a national historic site. There are many sights to enjoy on the extensive premises. The Sanmon Gate (representing the three gates to emancipation, with san meaning “three”) in particular features frequently in Japanese literature. It is said that this gate frees one of various obsessions and brings about enlightenment. Pass under the gate with a pure mind.
Established in 1253, this temple was the first Zen dojo (school) in Japan. After you pass under the first gate, you will be facing the 30 m high Sanmon Gate. The large wooden structures and the huge bell will help you to experience the Zen mindset, while the simple garden will bring feelings of wabi (austere refinement) and sabi (quiet simplicity). Please make sure that you allow sufficient time for your visit.
There are some famous shojin-ryori restaurants nearby where you can enjoy a traditional Buddhist vegetarian meal.
Wakamiya-oji Street was built by shogun Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199) and stretches 1800 m to the sea. The city of Kamakura was created around this street.There is a raised stone walkway named Dankazura that leads from the station to the Hachiman-gu Shrine, forming an avenue of cherry trees and azaleas that is breathtaking in spring.
Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine
The Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine was built by shogun Minamoto Yoritomo after he established the Kamakura Shogunate in the 12th century. Within the extensive premises, you will learn of the various legends involving samurai warriors. If you ascend the stairs, you will have a full view of the city of Kamakura. A lucky charm in the shape of a pigeon, which is a symbol of this shrine, is very popular for its ability to make your dreams come true.
This is the busiest shopping street in Kamakura, lined with souvenir shops and cafes and shops specializing in Kamakura-bori carved items, chopsticks and bamboo ware.
Kamakura is renowned for the famous Daibutsu. Daibutsu means great Buddha statue and its formal name is Amida-nyorai-zazou. The Buddha statue here was made in 1252.
Its height including the plinth is 13.35 m and it weighs 121 tons. It is a wonderful statue, not only for its size but also as a sculpture that has retained its appearance since it was cast.
The historical Hase-dera Temple was built in 736. The main statue is the beautiful Hase Kan’non Statue 9.18 m (30.1 ft) in height. It is called Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu (11-headed Goddess Kannon) because it has 11 faces with different expressions: one on top of the head, one facing front, 3 facing to the right and left, at the back and at the apex in addition to the main face.This Bosatsu (Goddess) statue listens to the wishes of all people.
In good weather, enjoy a walk along the beach at Yui-ga-hama. Known for its beautiful sunsets, the area is filled with seaside visitors in the summer. If you are lucky, you can see Mt. Fuji over the sea in the distance. On the 2nd Sunday in August, a popular festival is held with a spectacular fireworks display over the water.