Where to go and what to do
Here’s why Kamakura, a less-visited destination in Japan, is well worth a visit for first-timers to this beautiful region.
Located in the southern part of Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura attracts visitors from all over the world due to its rich culture and traditions. Travelers visiting this beautiful part of the state can explore traditional arts in the temples. Once forgotten, the temples of Kamakura evoked the essence of Zen meditation that travelers can witness. It is home to more than 100 shrines and temples as well as great and numerous historical monuments.
Apart from that, Kamakura also attracts foodies. From tea ceremonies to seafood, the place celebrates all it has with abundant joy. Visitors who come to Kamakura have an enriching vacation in every way. It is a foodie’s paradise. The stylish cafes and boutiques have made it a famous destination among travel enthusiasts.
This guide will provide all the necessary information for travelers visiting Kamakura for the first time.
Know the weather in Kamakura
Kamakura’s pleasant climate is another reason why it is popular as a tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy the place in June if they want to witness the beauty of flora and fauna. This is the best time to see hydrangeas. Fall foliage is best seen in November and December.
With several sites within walking distance of Kamakura Station, comfortable sneakers are recommended. The wind cools near the coast, so layering with clothing is recommended, especially in the fall and winter.
The Best Ways to Get Around Kamakura
Getting around Kamakura is easy as there are several options. From Japanese Railways to Enoshima Rail and buses to rickshaws, exploring every location in Kamakura is hassle-free.
- JR lines – JR Kamakura Station operates the Shonan-Shinjuku, Sobu and Yokosuka lines. Travelers can get a pass for JR lines to avoid last-minute hustle and save a few yen at the same time.
- Enoshima Railway – This special line connects Kamakura to Fujisawa station. Travelers can stop at Hase to see the famous Hasedera and Buddha Temple and later the famous Enoshima Island.
- The buses – The buses that run in the city are Enoshima and Yokohama Keikyu. Getting off the bus can help travelers explore popular tourist sites within their time and comfort.
- Rented bikes – This is the most doable and fun option for traveling around Kamakura as in some places the roads become narrow and extremely congested, especially in autumn. It is recommended to visit temples and shrines with a rental bike.
- rickshaw – For a bit more adventure and to get a real sense of Japan, visitors can take a ride on a rickshaw which is located at JR Kamakura Station. The benefit of taking a rickshaw ride is that travelers get a free local guide to get to popular spots and tell stories behind them.
- Tourist buses – People who only visit Kamakura for a day or two can take tourist buses that take travelers to visit as many sights as possible in just one or two days.
Best Places to Visit in Kamakura
Due to so many top notch attractions, travelers often find themselves in a dilemma of what to see and what to leave. Since Kamakura has more than 100 shrines, temples and other attractions, here are some of the most beautiful characters that vacationers absolutely must see.
Statue of Kamakura Daibutsu
This beautiful relic statue of the Great Amitabha Buddha is located at Kotokuin Temple. This is something unique to Kamakura which sees thousands of tourists every year. Made of bronze, the Kamakura Daibutsu Statue is a national historic site. It’s fascinating from the outside and just as spectacular from the inside.
For all travelers visiting Kamakura for the first time, a visit to Hasedera Temple is a must. Here, one can witness the eye-catching beauty of blooming hydrangeas. These beautiful flowers bloom from mid-June to early July. Besides the hydrangeas, the stunning statue of the Goddess of Mercy is a sight to behold. It is creatively carved from wood, where the details give a sense of artistic magnificence. Later, visitors can enjoy the ocean views and cityscape of Kamakura.
Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine
Travelers can visit the popular Tsuruoka Hachimangu as soon as they reach JR Kamakura Station as it is nearby. The place is surrounded by a green forest, which is worth the effort. The huge Torri gate painted red gives a striking first impression of the sanctuary. Many Buddhist pilgrims can be found here, especially on the first three days of the year.
Wakamiya Oji Street and Komachi Street
Travelers who have had enough of temples and shrines can now switch to city life and stroll down the famous Wakamiya-Oji and Komachi streets. Wandering these streets will give travelers the real Japanese feel where they can indulge in local cuisine, street fashion, and of course eye-catching rose petals everywhere along the way. It is because of this; the Wakamiya-Oji is considered one of the most beautiful streets in Japan.
Kamakura Koko Mae Station
Visiting the station may seem lame, but a visit to Kamakura Koko Mae Station will transform all beliefs. This station is not only a transport hub, but also popular tourist spots. The vintage vibe of the resort is matched by a wooden structure, providing great photo spots in most places. Plus, the ocean views on a sunny day of Oshima Island, the Izu Peninsula, and the Miura Peninsula are a feast for the eyes.
Hopping to the beautiful island is on the bucket list of many travelers visiting Kamakura. Enoshima is a small island providing recreation for people who visit it. It is located off the city, offering a spectacular observatory, large shrines and many restaurants and cafes. Moreover, travelers can buy excellent souvenirs in several shops on the island. Later, visiting Enoshima Aquarium will make the trip interesting.
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