Recently, I travelled to Kamakura, which is situated a short distance from Tokyo. From Tokyo it can be reached by the Yokosuka line, and from Shinagawa Station it takes around 50 minutes to reach, costing roughly 920 yen. More travel information can be found on this website!
For those of you who are interested in staying for a longer period of time there, I was recommended that you get one of the day bus/train tickets that are available to purchase. You can travel to Enoshima, located west of Kamakura which is especially beautiful in the summer season.
Some brief information about the various passes:
- Kamakura-Enoshima Pass (adults: 700 yen , children: 350 yen)
The pass allows unlimited rides in the Kamakura/Enoshima area on JR, Enoshima Electric Railway and the Shonan Monorail for one day. They can be purchased at a JR ticket office at Ofuna, Fujisawa, Kamakura or Kita-Kamakura Station. More information can be found here.
Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass (fees dependent on where the ticket is bought. e.g. from Shinjuku, adults: 1,470 yen, children: 740 yen)
The round trip has to be done by Odakyu Railways. Odakyu’s main station in Tokyo is Shinjuku Station. The free pass can also be bought for usage from other Odakyu Railway stations. Valid for one day, it allows you unlimited stopovers within a specified area. You can also receive discounts, even gifts (Hase Temple) at various places including the Kamakura City Kawakita Film Museum, the Enoshima Lighthouse Observation Tower and much much more! More information can be found here.
- Kamakura･Enoshima Afternoon Pass (1000 yen)
This pass can only be used after 13:00. It comes with tickets for Enoshima Samuel･Cocking Botanical Garden and Sea Candle, and some other coupons which you can use in Enoshima. More information can be found here (I’m afraid I could only find this website in Japanese!)
More information about all the passes above can be found here.
Things to consider before going:
- Kamakura may seem small, but there are so many things to see! I would advise you to plan out a route before heading there. This website is particularly useful with recommended model courses! If you happen to get there and don’t have a plan, there are very helpful volunteers outside Kamakura’s main station who can help. When my friend and I visited, they helped us to form a route and provided us with some helpful information packs and a map.
- If you would like to learn more about the culture and true meaning of Kamakura, you can participate in a free guided tour of Kamakura, held by volunteers of the Kamakura welcome Guide Association. There is a regular Friday tour and also those which can be booked. The tour guides speak mainly Japanese and English, but there are a number of other languages that can be spoken. Although they are free, you are expected to pay for food, travel etc. More information can be found on their website.
- If you happen to be vegetarian/vegan, food could be difficult to find, so I would recommend packing some lunch (who doesn’t love a good convenience store onigiri?) However, if you don’t mind planning your route around food (whihc most Japanese people do), here is a list of vegetarian/vegan restaurants there!
- Is it worth lugging your camera all the wa— Yes. Just do it.
- The Great Buddha of Kamakura (鎌倉大仏, Kamakura Daibutsu)
Just reopened from refurbishment on March 10 2016, this is a must-see. It is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, located on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue in Nara’s Todaiji Temple. (Entrance fee: 200 yen)
- Hasedera Temple (長谷寺)
Beautiful in all seasons, this is a traditional temple of the Jodo sect most renowned for the statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Hasedera is located a five minute walk from Hase Station, the third station from Kamakura along the Enoden railway line. (Entrance fee: 300 yen)
- Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮)
As Kamakura’s most important shrine, this is also a must-see. The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the patron god of the Minamoto family and of the samurai in general. It is a short walk from Kamakura’s central station.
- Hokokuji Temple (報国寺)
My personal favourite shrine! Also known as ‘The Bamboo Temple’, Hokokuji Temple has a beautiful bamboo grove which you can enter for a small fee. It has a stone path which guides you through a small forest of roughly 2000 bamboo stalks.There is also a small tea house you can drink matcha tea in for a small price and enjoy the beautiful surrounding views.
I’ll write more of my thoughts in a future post, as this temple was very special to me.
For more information on good places to go, visit this amazing website. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about each of the sights in Kamakura.
I’ll be posting more on some of my favourite places in Kamakura soon. I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you for reading!
All photos taken by me. Nikon D7000.