Kamakura Travel Guide

Kamakura is one of the most popular destination for tourists in Japan and mainly from Tokyo. As it is only an hour train ride away, it serves as one of the best recommended day trips from Tokyo. But of course, the main reason that tourists and locals come to Kamakura is to see the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kotoku-in temple. Daibutsu is one of the largest bronze Buddha in Japan, and the marvel of its construction is worth the trip for.

On top of that, Kamakura has much more to offer than meets the eye. It has many other temples and Shinto shrine to be explored. It can also be a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo city. Another often overlook attraction in Kamakura is the Enoshima Island, just off the coast. The island is a great combo to the trip in Kamakura, where it offers amazing landscapes and nature, such as beaches, mountain and caves.

Where is it

South of Tokyo with about one hour train ride away.

Kamakura map, Japan

Kamakura Map

Why go

For the biggest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, the Daibutsu and many more – Kamakura beach, temples, shrines and the idyllic Enoshima island.

When is the best time to go

Although every season is good for visiting Kamakura, most people prefer to visit Japan in Spring or Autumn with good reasons – for the beautiful backdrop of blooming flowers or the golden hues of autumn leaves.

Kamakura Daibutsu, the Great Buddha, Japan

Kamakura Daibutsu, the Great Buddha

What to see

Great Buddha of Kamakura (Hase Daibutsu)
Kamakura Daibutsu, the Great Buddha statue, stands at the height of 11.31m and is considered a national treasure of Kamakura.
Tsurugoaka Hachimangu Shrine
The shrine in Kamakura is known as a guardian deity for the samurai families.
Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine
One of the old ancient shrines of Kamakura that people come to increase their wealth with the holy water.
Hokokuji Temple and its bamboo garden
Also known as Take-dera (bamboo temple), this temple in Kamakura has a beautiful bamboo garden that spread throughout the inner are of the temple precincts.

Tenen hiking trail view, Kamakura, Japan

Tenen hiking trail view, Kamakura. Photo by Odyssey

What to do

Shopping in Komachi-Dori Street
There are many long-established shops and restaurants that will delight you as you get introduced to Kamakura.
Walking loop in Kamakura and Tenen Hiking Trail
Tenen Hiking trail, which connects walkers from Hokokuji Temple to Kenchoji Temple. This rewarding walk would be one of the good ways to add to a walking loop in Kamakura.
Chill at one of the beaches in Kamakura
Many day trippers come here to get a dose of the sun and sea.

Check out our Top 10 Must Visit and Things to Do in Kamakura and Enoshima for more ideas.

Bamboo garden at Hokokuji Temple, Kamakura, Japan

Bamboo garden at Hokokuji Temple, Kamakura. Photo by Simon Cumming

What and where to eat

Local specialty food is the freshly baked rice crackers, fish patties (kamaboko) and also do not forget to try the famous purple sweet potato ice cream! These delights can easily be found at the famous Komachi-Dori street that greets you as you exit the train station.

Where to stay

If you plan to stay overnight at Kamakura, there are various options to choose, from ryokan to hotels, guesthouses and hostels. If you are on a budget, you can find some cheaper alternative at the outer surroundings of Kamakura with Airbnb which I did, where you get to also know a local and see their way of life. Get a discount on your first booking through my referral

Old train in Kamakura towards Enoshima Island

Old train in Kamakura towards Enoshima Island. Photo by Yamaguchi Yoshiaki

How to get there

By flight
Fly into Tokyo Narita or Haneda airport and then train to Kamakura.
By train
Then take the Yokosuka Line from Tokyo main station to Kamakura station.
By Bus
There are frequent buses between Tokyo and Kamakura.
By Car
It will take only an hour drive from Tokyo to Kamakura.

How to get around

Kamakura night view at the beach, Japan

Kamakura night view at the beach. Photo by tedd okano

By Foot
You can certainly choose to walk around here in Kamakura and you can easily cover the main attractions. There are few walking routes to choose from in Kamakura, that spans from the train station to Daibutsu and surrounding.
By Bus
If you are short of time and wants to cover more of Kamakura, there is a good tourist loop bus that you can catch to go for all the tourist attractions.
By Train / tram
The old tram in Kamakura is a fun one to ride, especially if you use it to head to Enoshima island. You will pass by impossibly narrow streets of houses and then be greeted by the beautiful sea view along the way.

Where to go nearby

Enoshima Island – one of the best kept secrets of Kamakura and Tokyo, for the amazing hike, landscape, nature and the famous Mount Fuji view.

Tokyo – an hour train ride back to Tokyo, Japan’s main city.

Hakone – the hot springs mecca surrounded by magnificent volcanic mountains is just 1 hour and 25 minutes train away and a 2 hours ride back to Tokyo.

Travel Tips

Get there early in the morning to skip the crowd to Daibutsu. Also, you would need a lot more time to fully explore the place along with Enoshima island.

Related articles:
Top 10 Must See and Things to do in Kamakura and Enoshima Island



Author: Rachel

Japan, as one of her very first trip far away from home, Rachel found it to be eye-opening and awe-inspiring. She got so fascinated by the distinction of Japan, especially the people and how such country so unique from the rest can exist in this chaotic world, that she went back twice to further her endless discovery of it. With that said, there is still much to explore in Japan! Google+