Kamakura is one of the most popular destinations 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 to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
How to get there
Fly into Tokyo Narita or Haneda airport and then train to Kamakura.
Then take the Yokosuka Line from Tokyo main station to Kamakura station.
There are frequent buses between Tokyo and Kamakura.
It will take only an hour drive from Tokyo to Kamakura.
How to get around
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.
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.
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.
From Tokyo: Full-Day Tour to Kamakura *
Top 10 Must See and Things to do in Kamakura and Enoshima Island