Kamakura (鎌倉) is sometimes referred to as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura is a popular day-trip region located 50 kilometers south of Tokyo. It is great historical significance to Japan: it was the base of the country’s first shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo, and the Kamakura period (1185-1333) is associated with the rise of the samurai warrior class, the propagation of Buddhism, and the country’s gradual descent into civil war.

The legacy of this history is the region’s many temples which range considerably in size and stature. They are fairly spread out so if you don’t have your own transportation you will need to be prepared to do a bit of walking or rely on the local bus and train services (the tourist office near the East Exit of Kamakura Station has guides and timetables in English). There are also several hiking trails which connect the temples and provide superb views over the Kamakura area. Entrance fee to the temples range from ¥200 to ¥500.

If you want to make a full day of Kamakura you will need to get there early. One way to see the area is to alight at Kita-Kamakura Station, one stop north of Kamakura Station, and make your way back south visiting Engakuji and Kenchoji along the way. The latter in particular is unmissable, and the viewpoint on the hill behind the temple provides one of the best views of the wider Kamakura area.

If possible, try and visit on a weekday as the area is popular and can become crowded on the weekends and during holidays. This is especially true when the leaves turn red in mid-November.

Kamakura, Kanagawa
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Getting there
From Tokyo or Shinagawa the Yokosuka Line will take you directly to Kamakura Station. From Shinjuku or Shibuya, take the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, changing at Musashi-Kosugi to the JR Yokosuka Line. It takes about one hour to get to Kamakura Station.
Key Attractions

Inamuragasaki Onsen

Natural onsen on the coast near Kamakura that offers views of the waterfront as well as a distant Mount Fuji from the bathtub.
9:00-21:00 (reception closes at 20:00)
¥1,500. Entrance fee does not include a towel. Under 13s are not allowed

Engakuji Temple

700 year old temple built on the sloping hillsides of Kamakura which is today one of the most important Zen temples in Japan.
8:00-16:30 (until 16:00 between December and February)
Adults ¥300

Hasedera Temple

Buddhist temple with an eleven-headed statue of Kannon single trunk of a camphor tree.
8:00-17:00 March-September; 8:00-16:30 October-February
Adults ¥300

Hokokuji Temple

Temple established in 1334 famous for its bamboo forest containing over 2,000 moso trees and Japanese tea house.
9:00-16:00 (matcha served until 15:30)
¥200 (entrance including matcha at the tea house is an extra ¥300)

Kotokuin Temple

Temple is home to a 121-ton stone Buddha (“The Great Buddha”) which has stood since the mid-13th century and is a designated National Treasure. It took 10 years to complete, the cost of construction borne by the priests and members of the community.
8:00-17:30 April-September; 8:00-17:00 October-March
Adults ¥200

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Kamakura’s most famous shrine. It enshrines the spirit of Hachiman, the divine protector of Japan, its people, and of the Minamoto clan, which established the country’s first shogunate in Kamakura in 1185.
5:00-20:30 April-September; 6:00-20:30 October to March

Kenchoji Temple

Important Zen Buddhist temple completed in 1273 with a viewpoint that over looks the Kamakura area.

Komachi Dori

250-meter shopping street running northeast from Kamakura Station. Pick up some souvenirs or get a bowl of the region famous shirasu dish.

Tokasan Jomyoji Temple

Quiet temple near Hokokuji with a tea house and Japanese rock garden.
Admission. ¥100 (matcha at the tea house is ¥500)
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