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Kamakura

KamakuraKamakura mapKamakura is a city located about 15 km south-southwest of Yokohama and at the east end of Shonan Coast facing Sagami Bay.
From the late 12th century (generally 1192) to 1333, the government had been placed here.

The founder of the government was Yoritomo Minamoto, the Shogun.
After his administration, Hojo family had held real power, then they built many Zen temples in Kamakura.

In the early 14th century, Emperor Godaigo in Kyoto planned to overthrow the government to regain the government by Emperor.
But the plan was exposed, then he had been exiled to an island.
After that, his sympathiers destroyed Hojo family in 1333, then it lead to the end of Kamakura Period.

Until the middle of the 15th century, Kamakura was the central city in east Japan.
But some wars had often occured in this area, then Kamakura had declined.
Instead, Kamakura has become a tourist city.

The central area in Kamakura is surrounded on three sides by low but steep mountains and on the south side by Sagami Bay.
Therefore here was a natural stronghold.
When you tour around the city on foot, probably you must pass several slopes.

Kamakura is a historic city, but has no historic cityscape.
Many temples and historic spots are dotted in the city, and they are decorated with surrounding small mountains and forests.

Kamakura INFO

Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine /1/

Tsurugaoka Hachiman ShrineIn Japanese, we say "Tsurugaoka Hachimanguu".
It is a Shinto shrine and is located about 1 km northeast of JR Kamakura station, and is at the northen end of central Kamakura.

It was founded in 1063, and since Yoritomo Minamoto, the founder of Kamakura government, came here in 1180, he had built many governmental facilities around this shrine.
And in the 17th century (Edo Period), many buildings of Buddhist temple had been built, then here became a great Shinto shrine mixed with Buddhism.
But in 1870, Meiji government forced all Shinto shrine to abandon Buddhism, so most of the buildings about Buddhism in this shrine had been destroyed.

Now many structures of this shrine are designated as a nationally important cultural properties.

Wakamiya-oji street /2/

Wakamiya-ojiIt is a the main approach of Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine.
It runs through central Kamakura area from north to south, and the south end is located near Yuigahama beach facing Sagami Bay.
The length is about 1.8 km, and there are 3 Torii gates on this street.
And along this street, many cherry trees are planted, so here is one of the major cherry blossom-viewing spots.

The section from near Kamakura station to the shrine (about 0.5 km) is unique.
The approach for pedestrian is constructed a little higher than the roadways along both sides. It is called "Dankazura".

Komachi-doori street /3/

Komachi-dooriIt is a shopping street running about 100 meters west of Wakamiya-oji.
There are many souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.
It is one of most popular spots in Kamakura, so it is always crowded with visitors.

Great Buddha of Kamakura (Koutokuin temple) /4/

Great Buddha of KamakuraKoutokuin temple is located about 1.3 km west of Kamakura station.
It is said that the temple was founded in the 12th century. But it is not known why this Great Buddha, the principal image of Koutokuin, was built.
In Japanese, Great Buddha is called "Daibutsu".

It is said that this Buddha was first built of wood in 1243 and began to rebuild of bronze in 1252.
And originally it had been placed in a building, but it is said that the building was destroyed by the typhoon in 1369 and the great earthquake in 1498. Since that, this has been sitting here.

The height is about 11 meters, and the height including the seat is about 13.4 meters.
We can enter the inside of the Buddha for a fee.

Hase temple (Hase-dera) /5/

Hase templeIt is a Buddhist temple located about 0.5 km south of the Great Buddha.
This temple has the wooden statue of the Goddess of Kannon with 11 faces. It is one of the biggest wooden statues in Japan, and is 9.18 meters high.

In 721, two Kannon statues were created from a big tree.
One was enshrined in Hase temple in Nara Prefecture. And the other was floated in the sea.
The statue was washed up on the shore near Kamakura 15 years later.
It is said that this temple was founded for the statue in 736.

Northweat area of Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine

A route runs to northwest from Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine.
Between the shrine and JR Kita-Kamakura station, there are several popular temples along the route for about 2 km.

  • Kenchoji temple /11/ : It is the first Zen temple in Japan, and was founded in 1253.
    There are many buildings in the large precincts, and we can see the Japanese garden.
    The temple bell created in 1255 is designated as a national treasure.
  • Meigetsuin temple /12/ : It is a temple founded in the late 14th century.
    It is famous for its hydrangea. In June, many visitors come to see them.
  • Engakuji temple /13/ : It is a temple built in 1282 for war dead of Mongol invasion attempts against Japan (in 1274 and 1281).
    There are many buildings in the large precincts, and we can see the Japanese garden.
    Shariden built in the 15th century and the temple bell created in 1301 is designated as a national treasure. It is enshrined the tooth of Buddha.
  • Tokeiji temple /14/ : It is a Zen temple.
    Originally it was built as a nunnery in 1285. So this temple had been a shelter for battered women.
    Now this temple is known for various flowers of each season.

West area of Kamakura station

  • Jufukuji temple /21/ : It is a Zen temple, founded in 1200 by Masako Hojo, the wife of Yoritomo Minamoto. It is said that Yoritomo wanted to build the building of the government.
  • Zeniarai-Benten /22/ : The name means nearly "shrine to wash money". The formal name is "Ugafuku Shrine".
    It is believed that your money will be doubled by washing them with the water springing in the shrine.

East area of Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine

  • Kakuonji temple /31/ : It is a temple of Shingon Buddhism founded in 1218.
    It is located in a valley, and the surrounding nature has been preserved.
  • Zuisenji temple /32/ : It is a temple of Rinzai Zen sect. It was founded in 1327.
    This temple is also known as "flower temple", then we can see various flowers of each season. Especially narcissus is famous.
  • Jomyoji temple /33/ : It is a temple of Rinzai Zen sect. It was founded in 1188.
    This temple is also known for flowers.
  • Hokokuji temple /34/ : It is a temple of Tendai Zen sect. It was founded in 1334.
    This temple is known for the beautiful garden of bamboo.

South area of Kamakura station

  • Myohoji temple /41/ : It is a temple of Nichiren Buddhism, founded in 1253.
    It has mossy stone steps. So this temple is called "moss temple".
  • Komyoji temple /42/ : It is the large temple of Pure Land Buddhism, and was founded in 1240.
    There are many buildings in the precincts, and the main hall is the largest building of all temples in Kamakura.

Coast area of Kamakura

  • Zaimokuza beach /51/ : It is a beach located just south of central Kamakura. Here is a bathing beach in summer.
  • Yuigahama beach /52/ : It is the beach to the west of Zaimokuza. Here is also a bathing beach in summer, and is popular for surfers.
    In Kamakura Period, some battle were waged here.
  • Shichirigahama beach /53/ : It is the beach to the west of Yuigahama, and the length is about 3 km.
    We cannot swim here, but many surfers come here.
    The scenery is nice, so there are several resort villas and sanatoriums along this beach.
    And we can see Enoshima island and Mount Fuji from here.
    Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) runs along this beach, so we can enjoy the scenery on th train.
    Enoden official website

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad

By JR Yokosuka Line, to Kamakura station, about 52-58 minutes from Tokyo, about 24-28 minutes from Yokohama.
Kita-Kamakura is next to Kamakura station. Between both stations, it takes about 3 minutes.

To using Enoden

The terminal stations are Kamakura and JR Fujisawa on Tokaido Line.
The train runs from Kamakura, through Shichirigahama and Enoshima, to Fujisawa.
It takes 34 minutes from Kamakura to Fujisawa.




Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine
Wakamiya-oji street
Wakamiya-oji in spring
Komachi-doori street
Great Buddha of Kamakura
Inside of Great Buddha
Hase-dera
Japanese garden in Hase-dera
Buddhist sanctum of Kanchoji temple
Temple bell of Kenchoji (National treasure)
Main hall of meigetsuin temple
Round window of main hall in Meigetsuin temple
Hydrangea in Meigetsuin temple Buddhist sanctum of Engakuji temple
Shariden of Engakuji Buddist sanctum of Tokeiji temple
Buddhist sanctum of Jufukuji Entrance of Zeniarai-Benten
Main shrine of Zeniarai-Benten Washing money in Zeniarai-Benten
Kakuonji temple Main hall of Zuisenji temple
Main hall of Jomyoji temple Hokokuji temple
Bamboo garden in Hokokuji temple Myohoji temple
Sanmon gate of Komyoji temple Enoden in Kamakura city
Yuigahama beach Mt.Fuji from Shichirigahama beach

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