Once home to the shogunate government, Kamakura(鎌倉) is one of Japan’s most historical cities. It’s close and easily accessible from Tokyo, so travelers who don’t have the time to travel far to cities like Kyoto can enjoy a city rich with history. Here’s a sample, day trip itinerary to help you navigate your way through Kamakura.
So what kind of city is Kamakura?
It’s a seaside town, just an hour away from Tokyo by train. Kamakura is a historically rich city with many temples, shrines, and other traditional structures. It’s also a relatively small city, so you can tour around and hit the major destination sites in one day.
Great! So how do I get there?
If you’re traveling from Tokyo, then you need to take the Tokaido Line, which departs from major stations like Tokyo, Shinagawa, and Yokohama. You will then need to transfer to the Yokosuka Line.
There is a Yokosuka Line train that takes you directly to Kamakura Station, but do NOT take that train! The best way to reach Kamakura is to take the Tokaido Line, get off at Fujisawa Station, and then transfer to another train called the “Enoden(江ノ電)” Line. Don’t worry-- Enoden Line will also take you directly to Kamakura.
We made it! Where to go from here?
As you ride the “Enoden” Line, you’ll be impressed by the view of Shonan Beach, just 10 to 15 minutes away from Fujisawa Station. Many surfers venture out to Shonan for the waves and dream of living there to be close to the waters. A few stops later, you’ll reach Hase Station, where you will need to get off. There are two tourist destinations near Hase. One is the Hase Temple, and the other is the famous Kamakura Daibutsu(Great Buddha).
Hase Temple(長谷寺) is famous for its hydrangea flowers that bloom during the rainy seasons. The cafes near the temple also boast a great view of the sea. At the temple, you can experience some Buddhist activities like “shakyo(写経)”—hand-copying the sutra to practice concentration and discipline.
Hase-dera TempleAddress: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016
Opening hours: 8:00AM-4:30PM
Fee: Adult(12 years-old and over): 300yen Child: 100yen
The other spot is the Kamakura Daibutsu(Great Buddha). This is a big, bronze statue of the Buddha and the only one that managed to remain close to its original form. He’s considered to be the guardian of Kamakura, protecting it from natural disasters like tsunamis. You can find more informations about Great Buddhas in Japan on this article.
The Great Buddha and Kotoku-inAddress: 4-2-28, Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016
Opening hours: 8:00AM-5:00PM
Where else should I go?
Once you reach Kamakura Station, take the Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station(北鎌倉駅). There are three places that you can visit from here—first, the Zeni Arai Benten(銭洗弁天), a shrine where you can literally wash your money and wish for some financial luck.
Second, experience “zazen” at Kenchoji Temple or Enkakuji Temple(円覚寺). Zazen is a traditional meditation method to help improve concentration and discipline by sitting with your legs folded in a seiza.
Third, visit Meigetsu-in Temple(明月院), a temple where you can enjoy some Japanese green tea. There’s also a beautiful, elegant Japanese garden here.
Meigetsu-in TempleAddress: Meigetsu-in, 189 Yamanouchi Kamakura-shi Kanagawa 247-0062
Opening hours: 9:00AM-4:00PM
The above-mentioned spots are Kamakura’s primary tourist destinations—we hope you enjoy your day trip away from Tokyo!
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