10 Best Things to do in Kamakura, Japan

Martina Rosado
Written by
Last update:

Shichirigahama Beach

Bordered by Kamakura on its east shore and its love-making cave on its west shore, it is backed by a crescent-shaped plan which makes the beach quite narrow there.

The beach is a favourite resting place of Tanabata, the star-crossed lovers.

When we have seen the lovely shooting star, if we make wishes upon them, they will come true, and if we forget to wish properly for the next year, they will forget us.

As the prime summer vacation spot with its beautiful sandy beach, it is a preferred place to unwind. It attracts many tourists from all over Japan here.

The beach also has a recreational walking course, and there are so many facilities opened, so it is a great place to relax as a day tripper from the outside areas of Tokyo, such as Chiba and commuting to Kamakura.

Komachi Dori

We spend a lot of time traveling. In fact, we have been fortunate enough to visit all continents on this planet. We have found that one of the ways to make the travel more enjoyable is by finding some good places to stay. It’s the sort of “home away from home” that you really want.

We stayed in Kamakura for a week and were fortunate enough to find a lovely B&B there. Kamakura happens to be the third largest city in Japan by population.

One of the things we enjoyed was touring the town of Kamakura. A great feature is the main shopping street known as Komachi Dori that runs through the city.

It’s a very nice area with a river running through the city. The street is lined with shops, restaurants and other facilities that cater to the needs of the tourists visiting the town.

This was also a great place to find souvenirs to take back home with you as well as to pick up some groceries. They could not be more convenient.

The Japanese are known for being very organised and efficient. You can also find information about many of the places that you are looking at. Just look for those signs marked in Japanese both in the street and in the shops.

Engaku-ji Temple

A road trip to Japan is incomplete without a stop in the ancient capital of Kamakura. Here are ten amazing highlights that you may just not be able to miss while passing though.

Of course, Kamakura sits on the banks of the beautiful Inland Sea. However, there are other greater treasures than its delightful coastal view. Engaku-ji Temple

Is a Zen Buddhist temple dating back to 1317 and is one of Kamakura’s most popular attractions offering spectacular Zen garden and stupa views. You are guaranteed to see the most beautiful sunrise coming from the temple that sits on top of the hill.

Kita No Nyoroizuka and Kenrokuen Garden

The legend of Kita no Nyoroizuka is a story about a beautiful young woman called Kita no Itaru who lived in the Kamakura area. Her fortunes did not last long, however, as she was kidnapped and later killed by her kidnapper and samurai master Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu because he believed that Itaru had behaved disrespectfully to him.

The legend has inspired a beautiful renewal project behind the popular Kenrokuen Garden.

Meigetsuin

Meigetsuin Temple is a famous temple in Kamakura, Japan. What makes Meigetsuin famous is both its age and its location.

Meigetsuin is the oldest temple in Kamakura. It also lies two kilometers from the city’s largest sea. For many centuries, it was the center of the Tendai sect of Buddhism.

The building of Meigetsuin was completed in 1338, at a time when the emperor was attempting to restore Buddhism to its place of prominence. Like all structures of the period, it is a wooden walled structure. Because of its age, it is also a designated important national cultural property, which is administered by the Japanese government.

At the temple, the tradition and knowledge of the art of papermaking is passed down from one generation to the next. The paper, which is made from the cells of the kozo plant stems, is as thin as human hair.

While Meigetsuin is no longer home to the Tendai sect, it continues to support the tradition of papermaking. Seeing and understanding the production process for traditional Japanese paper, paint, and ink is a treat for visitors to Japan.

Kencho-ji Temple

Kencho-ji Temple is located in the former capital of Kamakura. Besides its many attractions, one of the most prominent features of the temple is its large bronze doors. They were made in 1243, making them one of the oldest metal doors in the world. This temple is also a great place to view cherry blossoms.

Enoshima Electric Railway

· The nation’s oldest electric train still running was built in 1909. The Enoshima Electric Railway (or Enoden) is a 3.2 kilometer irregularly built mountain railway line which runs between Kamakura Station (near Enoshima) and Fujigakimidake Station in Fujigakimidake, Enoshima, Kanagawa, Japan. The train has been operated since 1906 by the Enoshima Electric Railway Company, which is now owned by East Japan Railway Company (JR East).

· Fujigakimidake Station is a 17-minute, one-way ride on the Fujigakimidake Electric Railway from Fujigakimidake to Enoshima. The Fujigakimidake line is also some of the few places in the world where you can catch a glimpse of a narrow-gauge steam-powered train.

Hokokuji Temple

In Kamakura, there are several famous temples, and the most famous of them is named Hokokuji temple. It is also designated as a World Heritage site.

On the grounds of the temple, there are several Jizo statues, and hence, they are called Jizo-jinja (jinja means a Shinto shrine).

There are more than 500 Jizo statues, representing the 500 Shoguns who ruled Japan from the fifth to the seventeenth centuries, but there are many more Jizo statues than there are Shoguns.

A legend of the temple is that a disciple of the temple, a monk by the name of Jiji, found out that the priest of the temple died. The monk got worried and worried very much that he died and he found that he is a dead person.

The monk found the skeleton of the dead priest, and put the skeleton to sleep just as he did when he was alive. He called the skeleton Jiji, using the name of the monk who died.

The statue of Jiji is standing where the temple used to be, and it gains more life every year thanks to the struggles of the disciples.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

This shrine is often referred to as the “Golden Temple”. The shrine was founded in the 16th century, the worship of the Shinto cult was transferred here from Ise Shrine located not far away at Ise city. The shrine was built on a rock and was “thought to embody the kami of Tsurugaoka Hachiman, a deity worshipped in a nearby area, Kita-Tsurugaoka-Hachiman.” The temple was burned down to the ground during an earthquake and was rebuilt even stronger after it was discovered and rebuilt by the priest of Toyokawa Hachiman shrine. The latest renovation took place in 1990 after the shrine was damaged by a typhoon.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is an excellent place to visit. It has gorgeous architecture and beautiful grounds.

There are many festivals here throughout the year. The shrine has a festival dedicated to children that celebrates toys, dolls, and magazines. There is also another that celebrates water.

The shrine is one of the most popular spots in Kamakura to get married and renew your vows.

Hase-dera Temple

(Temple of the Dancing Waves)

One must go to Kamakura on a day with a good breeze. This is very accessible from Tokyo and the famous Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine.

The road to the temple is lined on both sides with shops selling various goods including traditional Kamakura-style souvenirs as well as products from around Tokyo, so don’t be surprised if you end up without cash.

There are a variety of souvenirs including Hase-dera Kyoto souvenirs, which are categorized according to the region. You can pick up traditional Japanese goods with personalized messages.

A unique item you can purchase around the temple is the “Hase-dera Odori” book. The odori dance is a culturally important event which takes place every year on May 15 at Hase-dera Temple, and this book is a souvenir from that event which is unique to this year.

This event is a traditional dance in which the Odori Chief utters the Buddhist sutra ”Ninno Bunmei,” which is said to be the blue-green mountain. Photographers are also welcome to bring their cameras to take pictures of the event, which is taken by standing on the balcony and waiting for the right moment.

Great Buddha of Kamakura

This is one of the most famous and tallest Buddhist statues. The sitting Buddha was sculpted directly from a rock in Kamakura. It was made in about 1252 and reconstructed by artisans from the 12th century to its present form. Five tales surround the Buddha, and the temple is home to a collection of other Buddhist and Shinto statues and artifacts.

Kamakura Daishi A little further down the road from the Great Buddha, you’ll find the massive statue of Bi-ritsu-bo (Kamakura Buddha), or Daishi, as it is also known. Its massive base and top can be seen from almost everywhere in Kamakura.