Day Trip to Kamakura from Tokyo

Day Trip to Kamakura from Tokyo
2019-01-17 Yohei Onishi
hasedera

Kamakura is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Japan with number of old temples where you can enjoy just walking around. Kamakura is also famous for having beautiful flowers throughout the year. The scenary is a delight to the eye: cherryblossoms in spring, hydrangeas in early summer and autumn leaves in fall.

Since Kamakura is a beach town reatively close to Tokyo, it is popular for marine activities like surfing. There are also fishing ports at which plenty of fish are caught. You can have seafood such as “shirasu-don” (whitebait on rice) at many restaurants in Kamakura.

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1. Where is Kamakura?

It takes about 1 hours by JR Yokosuka Line or JR Tokaido line from Tokyo to Kamakura. It is a unique place in Tokyo as it is surrounded by a lot of temple and shrine.

3. Kamakura popular activity

Kamakura is well known as a spot where you can enjoy cycling and photographic spots.

4. Getting Around

Guesthouse Kamejikan is located in Kamakura, a historical area that was once the political capital of Japan.

5. Getting to Kamakura station from Tokyo

From Tokyo Station, take JR Yokosuka line for Kurihama. It takes about 55 minutes to Kamakura. The fare is ¥920.

1. Where is Kamakura?

where is kamakura

Kamakura is a city in the southern part of Kanagawa prefecture. It takes about 1 hours by JR Yokosuka Line or JR Tokaido line from Tokyo to Kamakura. It is a unique place in Tokyo as it is surrounded by a lot of temple and shrine. In addition, Kamakura Station has a beautiful and convenient.

Spot Ranking in Kamakura area

Omachi and Zaimokuza, named after“za”(a trade association existed from Heian period to the warring states period), have a long history, which used to flourish as a commercial center. This area being peaceful and quiet, you can see locals taking a stroll, It is close to the sea and there are a lot of pretty shops and places for food. In summer, many tourists visit Omachi and Zaimokuza.

When you come to Omachi and Zaimokuza area, you should go to Zaimokuza beach. You can enjoy swimming and surfing in summer. There are also many shops along the beach. One of the famous events is Kamakura firework festival at the beach held every July. It is a large-scale event at which you can see magnificent fireworks shot off one after another on the sea.

In Zaimokuza, there are some barbecue restaurants that you don’t have to prepare much for yourself. You can grill and taste local seafood and vegetables there.

Access

From east exit at JR Kamakura station, take a Keihin bus “line 40 for Zushi” or “line 41 for Kotsubo”, get off at “Rinkai Gakuen” and walk for about 4 minutes, or get off at “Zaimokuza” and walk for about 6 minutes.

 

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9th. Komachi Street

Komachi street is a lively street from Kamakura station to Tsuruoka Hachimangū Shrine lined with many gift shops. It is popular among both forein and Japanese tourists. There are many different kinds of food you can eat while strolling. There are also nice restaurants and cafes.

Toshimaya’s pigeon-shaped biscuit (called “Hato Sabure”) and Kamakura Goro’s Japanese style biscuit sandwich (called “Kamakura Goro’s Hangetsu”) are perfect gifts for those who are not big fans of Japanese traditional sweets as they are biscuits made with butter.

Access

To go to Komachi street, go out the east exit at JR or Enoden Karakura station. There is a big red gate at the street entrance.

 

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Komachi Street

8th. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine

Tsuruoka Hahimangū Shrine has its origin in 1063 when samurai lord Minamoto no Yoriyoshi enshrined Iwashimizu Hachimangū, local Shinto deity, in Yuigahama. Minamoto no Yoritomo moved the shrine to where it is today when he established Kamakura shogunate.

The town was made around Tsuruoka Hachimangū Shrine. The approach penetrating the town and Tsuruoka Hachimangū Shrine with Daijinyama on its back have long been symbolizing Kamakura. On the panel written Hachimangū that is put up on the gate of the main shrine, there is a Japanese character eight designed as a pair of peogens. You should check this out on your visit.

In Kamakura, you can relish beautiful scenary unique to Japan such as cherry blossoms in spring and lotus flowers in pond in summer. Charms with pigeons designed on it and pink stampbooks with falling cherry blossoms on its cover are Tsuruoka Hachimangū Shrine’s famous gifts. Hours is 8:00am-9:00pm, but the treasure house is8:30am-4:00pm. There is no admission fee for the precinct.

Access

It is approximately 10 minutes on foot from east exit at JR or Enoden Kamakura station.

 

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7th. Kencho-ji Temple

Kenchō-ji Temple, located in North Kamakura, was established by Hōjo Tokiyori, a samurai lord, in 1253. It is the first-ranked temple among Kamakura Gosan, which are five zen temples each ranked by Kamakura shogunate. There is zazen (zen meditation) experience held in English for foregin tourists.

The outer gate (Sōmon) and the main gate (Sanmon) are impressive. The precinct is one of national historic sites. Bonsho, a bell, to the right of Sanmon, is a national treasure being one of few remainings since the establishment of the shrine.

At Kenchō-ji Temple, you can appreciate various kinds of flowers every season. What is remarkable is the ten cherry blossom trees between Sōmon and Sanmon gate gracing the massive Sanmon gate. Hours is 8:30am-4:30pm. The entrance fee is ¥500 for an adult and ¥200 for younger.

Access

From Kamakura station, get on Keikyu bus for “Highland” (takes about 2 minutes), and get off at “Hachimangū”, then walk for about 15 minutes. A parking lot available at the temple.

 

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kenchoji temple

6th. Engaku-ji Temple

North Kamakura has temples and tourist attrations that show many faces according to the season, and restaurants with historical atmosphere. It is the best place for those interested in Japanese Buddhism culture as there are many temples with a large precinct with number of important cultural properties.

Enkakuji, one of the best-known temples in North Kamakura, was built to mourn for the both Japanese and Mongolian soldiers who died in Mongol invasions of Japan under the order of Hōjo Tokimune in 1282, mid-Kamakura period. The main gate (Sanmon), which is the symbol of Enkakuji, is considered as a gate to a Buddhist sanctum where you can get rid of worldly desires.

The huge main Buddha statue in the sanctum, Hōkansyakanyorai(a Buddha statue with a sacred crown) and white dragons painted on the ceiling of the sanctum are also worth seeing. At Enkakuji, you can observe the biggest temple bell in Kanto and Bentendo (a hall devoted to Benten).

This temple is also famous for having many different kinds of flowers such as prums, magnolias, cherry blossoms, hydrangeas and autumn leaves. Hours is 8:00am-4:30pm(8:00am-4:00pm in December to February). The entrance fee is ¥300 for an adult and ¥100 for a child.

Access

From Kamakura station, take JR Yokosuka line, get off at “Kita Kamakura” station and walk for a minute to Enkakuji.

 

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5th. Shichirigahama

Shichirigahama is a beach whose length is approximately three kilometers and located between Inamuragasaki and Koyuruzamisaki. It is chosen as one of the best 100 beaches in Japan.

There is no other place like Shichrigahama where you can see Mt. Fuji, Enoshima and Miura Peninsula all at once. However, the beach is not suitable for swimming as the waves are unpredictable. Although you cannot go swimming, there are ocean view restaurants and pretty shops along the beach.

Access

From Kamakura station, take Enoden, get off at “Shichirigahama” station and walk for about a minute. A parking lot available at the beach.

 

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shichirigahama beach

4th. Kotoku-in Temple

Kotoku-in Temple

The must-see in Hase area, which is full of tourist attractions, is the Great Buddha of Kōtoku-in Temple, a syombol of Kamakura. Kamakura-bori plates, traditional wooden craft, and the Great Buddha-shaped sweets and goods are perfect souvenirs.

The main Buddha of Kōtoku-in Temple is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, famous for sitting in open air. You will be amazed at the Buddha statue sitting on the grounds of the temple facing to the ocean. Its height is approximately 11.3 meters and it weighs about 121 tons, whose state having not changed since its establishment. It is the most significant Buddha statue in the history of Buddhism art.

Kōtoku-in Temple began to be built in 1252. About 740 years later today, the Great Buddha is still worshipedd by number of Buddhists regardless of their nationalities and schools of Buddhism as a symbol of Buddhism introduced to Japan.

Hours is 8:00am-5:30pm from April to September and 8:00am-5:00pm from October to March (last admission is 15 minutes before closing). Hours for the interior of the Great Buddha statue is 8:00am-4:30pm (throughout the year). The fee is ¥200 for an adult, ¥150 for an elementary school student and ¥20 for entering inside the Buddha.

Access

From Kamakura station, take Enoden line, get off at “Hase” station and walk for 7 minutes toward mountains.

 

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3rd. Hokoku-ji Temple

Kanazawa Kaido is a highway that connects Kamakura and Kanazawa-hakkei. Although it is now a prefectural route 204, it used to be a major highway linking Kamakura and a port in Kanazawa called Mutsuura during Kamakura period. You can still see the road at that time, which remains as a historical landmark.

The area around Kanazawa Kaido is called Yukinoshita, Nikaidō or Jōmyōji where there are many temples since Kamakura period. It is now a residential area with nice restaurants and shops.

Hōkokuji Temple, very traditional among the ones in this area, belongs to Rinzai school, built in 1334. Bamboo Garden, which has about 2000 bamboos, is very famous. There are also many things to see like big ginkgo nuts, a traditional Japanese rock garden, mossy rock stairs and many gorinto (a rock tower served as a tomb or a memorial tower).

Hours is 9:00am-4:00pm. There is no entrance fee except for Garden Bamboo which costs ¥200. It is closed from December 29th to January 3rd.

Access

From east exit at JR Kamakura staion, get on Keikyu express bus for “Kamakura cemetery main gate before Tachiarai”, “Kanazawa Hakkei station” or “Highland”. It takes about 8 minutes on bus. Get off at “Jōmyōji” and walk for 2 minutes. A parking lot available.

 

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hokokuji temple

2nd. Enoshima Lighthouse Observation Deck

Enoshima Lighthouse Observation Deck

Enoshima is a small island in Fujisawa city, Kanagawa prefecture. It is linked to the mainland on which there is a nearest train station. You can easily go to Enoshima eigher by car or on foot. Crossing Benten Bridge, there are places to eat which serves fresh seafood, some of which grill them in front of you. You can enjoy the fresh local seafood.

Enoshima SeaCandle, a lighthouse observation tower and a symbol of Shōnan, is in a botanical garden called Samuel Cocking Garden. You can overlook the whole entire view such as Mt. Fuji, Izu Peninsula, Hakone and Tanzawa mountain range from the tower that is 101.5 meters above the sea. The observation tower has both indoor and outdoor floors at which events are held regularly. It is always busy with tourists throughout the year.
As there is a gift shop and a cafe in the tower, you can relax and enjoy Enoshima.

SeaCandle is open all year round. Hours is 9:00am-8:00pm (last admission is 7:30pm). Hours for Enoshima Escalator is 9:00am-7:05pm. The admission fee is ¥300 for an adult and ¥150 for a child. Enoshima Escalator is 360 for an adult and 180 for a child.

Access

From Kamakura station, take Enoden line, get off at Enoshima station and walk for approximately 25 minutes. A parking lot available.

 

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1st. Hase-Dera Temple

In Hase and Yuigahama area, you can find restaurants, cafes and gift shops that are old renovated Japanese-style houses. You can eat, rest and shop while strolling around the town. It is also recommended to go to restaurants that has local vegetables and fish or famous Japanese style restaurants.

Hase-Dera area has beautiful historical atmosphere created by Japan’s distinctive four seasons and old buildings, for example, Hase-Dera Temple colored by seasonal flowers and Gokurakuji Temple full of hydrangeas. Hare-Dera, locally called “Hase Kan-non”, is said to be established in 736 during Nara period. The main statue is eleven-faced Bosatsu, which is one of the biggest wodden statue (9.18 meters high) in Japan.

Hase-Dera has an observation deck overlooking the sea and town of Kamakura. 40 kinds of 2500 stocks of hydrangeas are in full bloom during rainy season (around June). It is said to be one of the best views in Kamakura.

Hours is 8:00am-5:30pm from March to September (last admission is 5:00pm) and 8:00am-5:00pm from October to February (last admission is 4:30pm).
Kan-non museum is 9:00am-4:30pm (last admission is 4:00pm). The fee is ¥300 for an adult and ¥100 for an elementary school student. For Kan-non museum, it costs ¥300 for an adult and ¥150 for an elementary school student.

Access

From Kamakura station, take Enoden line, get off at Hase station and walk for about 5 minutes toward mountains.

 

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Hase-Dera Temple

3. Kamakura Popular Activity

Kamakura is well known as a spot where you can enjoy cycling and photographic spots.

It’s hard to walk around all the different sights of Kamakura. If you want to go to various places, we recommend traveling by bicycle. Enkakuji, Kenchoji, Shichirigahama beach.

Kamakura has become a stage for various manga and movies, there are photogenic stylish spots and various tourist attractions that can not count on historical sites.

4. Getting Around

kamejikan_1

Guesthouse Kamejikan is located in Kamakura, a historical area that was once the political capital of Japan. Its location very close to Zaimokuza Beach, literally 3 minutes from it, also it was an old Japanese style house. You could enjoy to take a walk along the beach. Zaimokuza is known as surfing and swimming place during summer.

The building is 92 years old. The design and decoration of the hotel is very lovely. I’m sure you’ll like it. You can feel powerful Japanese atmosphere.

 

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5. Getting to Kamakura station from Tokyo

By Train

From Tokyo Station, take JR Yokosuka line for Kurihama. It takes about 55 minutes to Kamakura. The fare is ¥920.

Kamakura Model course