Located on the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura served as the political center of Japan during the Kamakura period (1192-1333). The city is a popular destination among tourists and locals for its charming temples and shrines and its beautiful sandy beaches.
How to get to Kamakura from Tokyo?
The most common way to get to Kamakura from Tokyo is to take the train from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. Central Kamakura can be reached in about an hour and a one-way trip costs 950 yen.
If you want to save money when exploring Kamakura’s attractions, consider purchasing a discount pass. The “Enoshima Kamakura Freepass”, which allows unlimited rides on the Enoden and Odakyu lines, is quite popular. This pass also offers discounted entry to various temples, shrines, and other attractions in the area.
What to see in Kamakura?
Now, let’s see the top attractions to visit when in Kamakura.
One of Japan’s most famous landmarks, the Kamakura Daibutsu, also known as Daibutsu, is a bronze Amida Buddha statue standing on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple.
Over 13 meters tall (including the base) and weighing about 121 tons, this majestic statue was built in 1252 and is the only Buddha statue in Kamakura designed as a national treasure.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine（鶴岡八幡宮）
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is a symbol of Kamakura’s spiritual and cultural importance. Founded in 1063 by the head of the Minamoto clan, Minamoto Yoriyoshi, this grand shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the deity of archery and war. It is the most significant shrine in Kamakura. As you approach the shrine, you first pass through a magnificent red torii gate and climb the stone steps leading to the main hall. The shrine is surrounded by a spacious and beautifully landscaped park, with ponds, bridges, and cherry blossoms, creating a serene atmosphere.
Also known as the Bamboo Temple, Hokokuji Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple within the Kenchoji order of the Rinzai sect. Founded in 1334, the temple is famous for its beautiful bamboo garden behind the main hall that creates a tranquil and picturesque ambiance. You can enjoy a cup of tea in the temple’s tea house while admiring the beautiful view of the bamboo garden.
Hasedera, or Hase Kannon Temple, is a Buddhist temple on a mountain called “Kannon-zan”. Built in the 8th century, the temple houses an impressive 9.18 meters tall wooden statue of Kannon also known as the “Eleven-headed Kannon”.
Zeniarai Benten Shrine（銭洗弁財天 宇賀福神社）
Built in 1185, this shrine is a unique spot where people can wash their money in the hope of attracting wealth. Legend has it that the famous samurai Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate, received a divine revelation in a dream where a deity named Ugafukujin instructed him to find a hidden spring in the hills of Kamakura that would bring prosperity and prosperity. Following the guidance of the Ugafukujin, Yoritomo discovered the source at the current site of Zeniarai Benten Shrine.
Engakuji Temple（臨済宗円覚寺派 大本山 円覚寺）
Engakuji is a Zen Buddhist temple founded in 1282. It is one of the most important Zen temples in the country and played a significant role in the development and spread of Zen Buddhism in Japan. One of the main attractions is the massive bell which stands as a symbol of the temple.
Located just off the coast of Kamakura, Enoshima is a charming island, popular and beloved by locals and tourists.
You can access Enoshima by crossing the bridge that connects the island and the mainland. You can take a leisurely stroll through scenic spots such as Enoshima Shrine, the botanical garden, and an observatory overlooking Sagami Bay.
Kamakura is blessed with beautiful sand beaches perfect for relaxation and water activities. Head to Yuigahama Beach, Zaimokuza Beach, and Shichirigahama Beach to soak up the sun, swim, or try your hand at surfing. Featuring golden sands and crystal clear waters, these beaches are perfect for a quiet getaway from the city.