If Tokyo is known as a busy modern capital, Kamakura – a city of Kanagawa Prefecture, is famous for its spectacular temples, pagodas, and beaches. Located 50 km away from Tokyo, Kamakura is a tourist attraction that you cannot miss! When you come to this city, you can enjoy the ancient beauty with many historical sites and delicious foods. Let’s take a look at the specialties in this city!
1. Explore Kamakura – a beautiful city of beaches and temples close to Tokyo
- Kōtokuin Temple
Kamakura is famous for its temples and pagodas, so many tourists visit this city to have an opportunity to visit these temples. One of the most famous temples is Kōtokuin Temple. This temple has a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which is called Kamakura Daibutsu (鎌倉大仏). With a height of approximately 11.4 meters and a weight of around 121 tons, it is the second tallest Buddha statue in Japan (the tallest one is in Todaiji Temple in Nara). It was built in 1252 inside the temple; however, due to many natural disasters in the 14th and 15th centuries, the temple was destroyed. Now the statue stands alone outside.
*How to get to the temple
– From Hase Station: 10 minutes walk
– From Kamakura Station: 13 minutes by bus
– Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:30
– Entrance fee: 200 yen
- Kencho-Ji Temple
Established by Hojo Tokiyori – a Japanese military dictator in 1253, the Kencho Era, Kencho-Ji, held the highest rank among the Zen Temples in Kamakura. When you visit Kencho-Ji, you will be able to see many temples buildings as well as sub-temples. Starting at Sanmon – the main gate which was rebuilt in 1775 and known as a national and cultural treasure, you can see Bonsho (Bell Temple), Butsuden (Buddha Hall), Hatto (Dharma Hall), Hojo – the main hall of Kencho-Ji, and many other buildings. Behind the main hall of Kencho-Ji, there is a beautiful Zen Garden – a place that you should not miss, designed by Muso Kokushi – a Zen Master.
*How to get to the temple
– From JR Kita-Kamakura Station: 15 minutes walking
– From Kamakura Station: 10 minutes by bus
– Opening hours: 08:30 – 16:30
– Entrance Fee: 500 yen
- Enoshima Island
Enoshima Island is a small island in the neighbouring area of Kamakura. You can take a one-day trip to visit both Kamakura and Enoshima Island. There is a sloping path that leads to many tourist attractions in Enoshima Island like Enoshima-jinja Shrine, Iwaya Caves, Enoshima Samuel Cocking Garden, Enoshima Sea Candle, and many other beautiful attractions.
Enoshima Sea Candle is one of the attractions that attract most tourists in this area. Tourists can quickly go up by taking the elevator. There is the observation deck of the lighthouse where you can see the whole beautiful scenery below from the height of 60 meters. On bright days, you may even see the Fuji Mount.
Also, Enoshima Aquarium is a place that is well worth visiting for both adults and children. When going to Enoshima Aquarium, you will get a chance to see a variety of exhibitions like Jellyfish Fantasy Hall, Sagami Bay Zone, Pacific Ocean, Sea Turtle Beach, etc.
Moreover, there are touch pools where you can touch many creatures living on the Enoshima beaches. For more information about the aquarium, please click here.
In summer, there are a large number of tourists visiting Kamakura to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere at the beaches. There are many beaches in Kamakura like Shichirigahama Beach, Zushi Beach, Morito Beach, Yuigahama Beach, and more. But, not all of them allow you to swim (e.g., Shichirigahama Beach). If you want to swim, I recommend you to go to Katase Higashihama and Koshigoe Beach. For other beaches, instead of swimming, you can surf or sit on the coast and enjoy the fresh air.
2. Kamakura Food
When talking about Kamakura’s food, it is impossible not to mention shirasu. Shirasu is baby sardines, herring, and sand lances. The most popular way to eat them is Shirasu-don – a bowl of rice with raw, boiled, or fried shirasu placed on the top. You can try Wasai Yakura Restaurant, which is a famous restaurant serving shirasu-don.
Because Kamakura has many beaches, it is easy to enjoy fresh seafood. You can try local food stalls that serve many different types of seafood, like scallop, squid, or clams!
- Ice cream
Japan is usually famous for matcha (green tea) and has many tasty matcha drinks and desserts. But, when you go to Kamakura City, the Guidable team strongly recommends you try coffee flavoured ice cream. This flavour is not too sweet, the taste of coffee is rich and delicious, and the cone is crispy, be prepared to LOVE it!
- Tako Senbei
Tako Senbei is an octopus cracker. Unlike other ordinary crackers, the octopus in tako senbei in this area are real and fresh. What is surprising here is that tako senbei are super thin crackers, but they are still have real octopus inside. When you eat it, you can feel the fresh and chewy taste of grilled octopus.
Here is some useful information about what to do and what to eat when you travel to Kamakura. Enjoy your trip!