Kamakura

Photo credit: bryan... via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: bryan... via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA
  • eat 吃喝 먹거리
  • shop 购物 가게
  • stay 住宿 숙박 시설
  • see 看到 观光 볼거리
  • Recommendation 建議 建议 추천 ★★★★☆
  • Foreign Language Support 外語支持 外语支持 외국어 지원 ★★☆☆☆

●Town Info

Honestly, if you’re not interested in history, don’t bother going to Kamakura, it’ll be a waste of time and money. If you have respect for historical places and other such things, it’s a place worth visiting.

 

In contrast to Kyoto and Nara, Tokyo has very little historical sites. Furthermore Tokyo was built in 1600’s by the then governing body Edo shogunate, but time and time again the city was destroyed and rebuilt after major fires, earthquakes, and wars. However, from the end of the 1100’s to the 1300’s Kamakura was considered one of the shining spots of that period. Many temples and shrines were built in that age. Due to that influence, Not only is it considered the No.1 historical spot to visit in the Tokyo area, but in Eastern Japan.

 

It is also one of Japan’s most popular beaches from beach boys/girls and playboys congregating to the many chic cafes and restaurants, and many small shops to entertain.

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●Access

Kamakura Station
JR: Yokosuka line, Sobu line rapid, Shonan Shinjuku line
Enoshima Railway.

 

Kita-Kamakura Station
JR: Yokosuka line, Sobu line rapid, Shonan Shinjuku line

 

Hase Station
Enoshima Railway.

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●Recommended

Route & Course
If coming from Tokyo, the standard course is to get off at Kita-Kamakura station and start your journey from Enkaku-ji. Enjoy walking to different shrines and temples as you work your way to Kamakura station. Afterwards, catch the Enoshima train to Hase station to see the famous Buddha statue. Try to make it there on the weekdays to avoid the heavy foot traffic on weekends.

 

The Buddha statue, the most historical spot in Eastern Japan, was actually built in the 1200’s during the Kamakura era. Other temples and shrines were mostly destroyed in the 1923 earthquake and rebuilt. They have not aged over hundreds of years to come to it’s current form.

 

Kamakura has 5 temples that are particularly of great social status, known as the Kamakura-gozan or 5 great temples of Kamakura.

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●Check It

In any case, visit shrines, temples and Buddha. If you’re pressed for time, go straight to Buddha statue and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Next, visit the Komachi street. Along the street are shops that sell Japanese style accessories and novelties that are great for presents. Some of the items are cheap and there are also parody goods too.

 

The places below are in order from the most northern.

 

ENKAKU-JI [円覚寺] (temple)
A Zen Buddhist temple that was built in 1282, ranks 2nd most popular sites among Kamakura’s 5 great temples.

The temple sits on about 60 thousand square meters of land with several beautiful structures. Enjoy scenic views from tea houses with a cup of green tea and sweets.

Address: 409 Yamanouchi Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: Near Kita-Kamakura station
TEL.: 0467-22-0478
URL: http://www.engakuji.or.jp/
Closed: N/A
Open: 8:00am~5:00pm (NovMarch 8:00am~4:00pm)
Fee: 300 yen

 

TOKEI-JI [東慶寺] (temple)

Formerly a temple for nuns, Tokei-ji was built in 1285. Beautiful flowers such as Japanese apricots, daffodils, tree peonies, cherry trees, and Japanese iris’s blossom throughout the year, attracting visitors from far and near.

Address: 1367 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: 3 min. walk from Kita-Kamakura station
TEL.: 0467-22-1663
URL: http://www.tokeiji.com/english/about/
Closed: N/A
Open: 8:30am~5:00pm (Nov.〜Feb. 8:30am~4:00pm)
Fee: 200 yen

 

Jochiji Temple [浄智寺] (temple)
Ranked 4th among the Kamakura’s 5 great temples, this Temple was built in 1281. Many tourists make their way to this temple for the flowers that surround the temple (Japanese plum trees, cherry trees and Japanese clovers), but the grounds also have a decent bamboo forest you can walk through that is calming and quiet, living up to the Zen temple standard.

Address: 1402 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: 8 min walk from Kita-Kamakura station
TEL:0467-22-3943
Closed: N/A
Open: 9:00am〜4:30pm
Fee: 200 yen

 

MEIGETSU-IN [明月院] (temple)
Well known as the temple of hydrangea. Aprox. 2,500 stumps of hydrangea are planted around the temple and when mid-June arrives, blue, green, and white flowers surround the place. Autumn is also full of beauty with Autumn foliage.

Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access:10 min. walk from Kita-Kamakura station
TEL.: 0467-24-3437
Closed: N/A
Open: 9:00am〜4:00pm (8:30〜5:00pm in June)
Fee: 300 yen (500 yen in June)

 

KENCHO-JI [建長寺] (temple)
Built in 1253 as Japan’s oldest Zen Buddhism training monastery, it ranks #1 among Kamukra’s 5 great temples. Even now it is renown for it’s strict training.

The flowers in the temple bloom year round and are particularly famous for the Japanese cherry blossom and autumn leaves.

You can experience Za-zen meditation for 1 hour every Friday and Saturday. Let’s donate if you do decide to participate.

Address: 8 Yamanouchi Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: 15 min. walk from Kita-Kamakura station
TEL.: 0467-22-0981
URL: http://www.kenchoji.com/
Closed: N/A
Open: 8:30am~4:30pm
Fee: 300 yen

 

TSURUGAOKA-HACHIMANGU [鶴岡八幡宮] (temple)
Majestic large scale shrine that is symbolic of Kamakura. According to Genji, a soldier and a top ranking samurai (from the clan of Gen), this shrine was build 1063 and relocated in 1180. A number of beautiful structures are present in the inner grounds of the shrine.

Address: 2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: 10 min. walk from Kamakura station
TEL.: 0467-22-0315
URL: http://www.tsurugaoka-hachimangu.jp

Closed: N/A
Open: 6:00am〜8:30pm
Fee: Free (Homotsuden 200 yen)

 

KOMACHI-DORI [小町通り]
This is the main street from Kamakura station to Tsurugaoka-Hachimangu. Along the street are general goods stores, restaurants, clothing stores, and accessories. There are restaurants that allow you to order to-go or eat and walk.

Access: near Kamakura station

 

HASE-DERA [長谷寺] (temple)
Hase-dera temple is part of the Jodo (Pure Land Sect) of Buddhism and built in 736. Famous for it’s statue of Kannon, Goddess of Mercy, the temples’ elevated view of Kamakura is stunning.

Address: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: 5 min. walk from Hase station
TEL.: 0467-22-6300
URL: http://www.hasedera.jp/en/
Closed: N/A (HOMOTSU-KAN closed on Tue.)
Open: 8:00~5:00pm (Oct.〜Feb 8:00am~4:30pm)
(HOMOTSU-KAN 9:00am~4:00pm)
Fee: 300 yen (HOMOTSU-KAN extra 200 yen)

 

KAMAKURA-DAIBUTSU [鎌倉大仏] (高徳院 KOTOKU-IN)
The Buddha statue sits 11.31 meters high, the face itself is 2.35 meters high and the total weight is approximately 121 tons. It’s huge and visually stunning. It was 5 years in the making from 1243 to complete the first ever Buddha statue in Japan, however due heavy damage from Typhoons, the new Buddha statue was made out of bronze metal and completed in 1252.

If you climb inside, you can see 8 layers of the building process, it’s fascinating in its own right.

Address: 4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Access: 12 min. walk from Hase station
TEL.: 0467-22-0703
URL: http://www.kotoku-in.jp/en/top.html
Closed: N/A
Open: 8:00~5:00pm (Oct〜Mar 8:00am〜5:00pm)

*You can enter the Buddha statue from 8:00am〜4:30pm
Fee: 220 yen (200 yen to enter the grounds and 20 yen to go into the Buddha statue)

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