Just an hour train ride from Tokyo, this quiet little town serves as a popular day trip from Tokyo. It is famous for its sight of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kotoku-in, the second largest bronze Buddha in Japan. There are also many temples and Shinto shrine around this town to be visited one by one and therefore, a whole day trip would be required. In comparison to the cities mentioned above, Kamakura is quiet and peaceful and would be a welcome respite after a few days hustling in the cities.
If you have the time, Kamakura is worth more than just a day trip. There are many hidden treasures that most day trippers would not be able to experience. One of the overlook attraction near Kamakura is the Enoshima Island. Enoshima Island is a little island off the coast of Kamakura and serves as a great addition to a trip to Kamakura as it has interesting landscapes and nature to offer.
Top Must See Tourist Attractions
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. At the point of creation, the entire body of Daibutsu was covered in gold foiled and was housed inside a large structure. The structure was later destroyed by earthquakes and tsunami, exposing the Daibutsu as it is now today.
Tsurugoaka Hachimangu Shrine
The shrine in Kamakura is known as a guardian deity for the samurai families. It houses a few historical buildings and if you are lucky, you may see a wedding ceremony being held here.
Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine
Within the shrine’s precincts, there is a face where the holy water gushes out. It is said that it was found by Minamoto no Yoritomo. The belief goes that if a coin is washed in the holy water, the money will increase.
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. Here you can enjoy a cup of green tea in the tea room of Kyukoan.
As you exit the Kamakura train station, head north towards the shrine and you will walk down the famous shopping and eating street. There are many long-established shops and restaurants that will delight you as you get introduced to Kamakura. Local specialty food is the freshly baked rice crackers, fish patties (kamaboko) and doe do not forget to try the famous purple sweet potato ice cream!
Mt Fuji Viewpoint in Enoshima
As you descend down towards the boat Iwaya caves, look out for the magnificent Mount Fuji standing tall in the distance. This is one of the famous view point in Japan for its full view of the famous mountain itself.
Top Things to Do
Walking loop in Kamakura and Tenen Hiking Trail
Many people came to Kamakura only to see the big Buddha, but unknown to many there is actually a beautiful hiking trail to traverse. It is called the 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. Recommended walking loop itinerary:
Kamakura station (East exit) – Tsugurugaoka Hachimangu shrine – Hokokuji temple – Tenen hiking trail – Kenchoji temple – Kamakura station
Take the old train from Kamakura to Hasedera and Enoshima
This old railway runs along the streets of Kamakura along old houses, at some point touching the trees and bushes that line the way, and then onwards with calming sea views. This ride is one of its kind and a delightful one to be had.
Walk across Enoshima from the train station to the boat pier
A slow walk and short climb across Enoshima from the train station to the boat pier is a fascinating one. You start by crossing the bridge with a full view of Enoshima island and then ascend upwards to the shrine, pass the small pretty Samuel cocking garden and then descend downwards to Iwaya caves and the boat pier.
Recommended walking loop itinerary:
Train station – Enoshima Jinja Shrine – Samuel Cocking garden – Away cave – Pleasure boat (Beaten Maru) 10 min ride – train station
Take the pleasure boat back from Enoshima
The pleasure boat (benten maru) will take you back to the mainland in 10 minutes. Although a short ride, it is a welcome respite after the many train rides and walks you had the whole day. A wonderful way to close an end of a fun day out in Kamakura and Enoshima.