Kanagawa, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 10:52AM
A Day Trip into Old Japan
Recently I went to Kamakura on a day trip from Tokyo to see its famous temples and giant Buddha statue.
Kamakura is a small city in Kanagawa Prefecture, about 50 kilometers south of Tokyo. The combination of its old-style Japan atmosphere, its proximity to Tokyo and Yokohama, and its historic temples make it a popular tourist destination, especially as a day trip from Tokyo.
In terms of access, it’s really easy to get to from central Tokyo. There are trains that go directly from Shinjuku Station, the largest train station in Japan, directly to Kamakura. The journey takes about an hour and costs 920 Japanese yen (less than $8 USD).
When you leave the station, there is a famous shopping street called Komachi-dori. Komachi-dori is a perfect place for “tabe-aruki,” or walking and eating street food. Kamakura has a lot of traditional foods that are served in small enough portions that you can try a lot of different kinds! There are also lots of opportunities to try Japanese soft-serve flavors like green tea, citron, and black sesame to round out your street food experience.
You can also find Japanese souvenirs like chopsticks, traditional fans, Japanese snacks, and other trinkets that are small, lightweight, and easy to bring home.
Next, I went to Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine. This shrine was established about 1000 years ago, and is the cultural center of the city. It has two museums and hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, and is used as a place of worship by many Japanese. The shrine was designed with feng-shui in mind, and both the layout and the location were chosen very carefully at the time of the temple’s founding to bring prosperity to Kamakura.
After my visit to Tsuruoka Hachimangu Shrine, I also went to visit another very beautiful temple that is famous for its many bamboo trees, Houkokuji Temple.
Last, I went to see the Great Buddha Statue in Kamakura, the Kamakura Daibutsu. It can be a little bit of a walk from Houkokuji Temple, but there is a beautiful beach nearby where you can stop on the way if you choose.
After a stop at the beach (which is especially fun in summer, but is also peaceful and quiet in winter), I went to see the Kamakura Daibutsu. You can actually enter inside the Buddha statue for 20 JPY (about $0.15), which is definitely worth doing- it’s really cool to see inside the statue!
After seeing the Kamakura Daibutsu, there is another train close by that you can take to return to Kamakura Station and get back to central Tokyo. The train station is Hase Station on Enoshima Den-Tetsu Line. It’s three stops back to Kamakura Station, where you can change trains there to get back to downtown Tokyo.
There are many other amazing places in Kamakura to check out especially because Kamakura is widely featured in a good deal of Japanese anime in various scenes and landmarks.