Things to do - general

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Kamakura flourished under the first bushi government known as the Kamakura bakafu which was administered by samurai.  You can feel the long history of Kamakura by visiting historic sites sprinkled throughout the area. This area is full of nature and surrounded by mountains and the sea.  There are plum trees, cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, and various flowers blooming season to season in this beautiful city. 




The Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) is a railroad company of the Odakyu group.  The Enoden is recommended to use when accessing Kamakura from the Fujisawa area.  The scenery is beautiful on the way.   


The train cars of the Enoden have a retro style and the green color matches the surrounding nature.   Tickets are cheaper if you get the day pass or afternoon pass. 



Great Buddha of Kamakura 




The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a national treasure.  It is a bronze sitting statue of Amiddha and is enshrined at Kotoku-in (Kotoku-in is a Buddhist temple of the Jodo-shu sect in the city of Kamakura).  The height is 11.3 meters and the weight is 121 tons.   


It’s important to Japanese Buddhist arts because it is made in the style of Unkei, a Japanese sculpter of Buddhist sculptures during the Kamakura period, and Chinese Song sculptures.  This Great Buddha combines these two influences.   

Tsuruoka Hachiman-gu Shrine 


This temple was consecrated at Yuigahama by Minamoto no Yoritomo after his journey from Kyoto to Kamakura in 1603.  Afterward, Minamoto no Yoritomo was transferred to Yukinoshita in central Kamakura.  Many tourists from Japan and abroad pray for bushido (code of the samurai) there and it is a base of Japanese spirituality.   


・Hase Dera Temple


Hase Dera temple is called the western paradise of Kamakura and flowers are in bloom there during all seasons.  It is a famous place with beautiful scenery.   The temple has a circuit style garden and you can walk around Myochi pond and Hojo pond.   The temple is known for its “Hase Kannon”; an enshrined nine-meter-tall eleven faced Kannon that is the principal image of Kannon-do Hall.  There are also around 2,500 hydrangeas planted around the walking trail.  You can enjoy the “Hydrangea Lane” during the rainy season.   


Meigetsu-in Temple 


The temple grounds are full of hydrangeas so this temple is called the “Hydrangea Temple” and “Meigetsu-in Blue Temple.  It is crowded with many tourists and a representative temple of Kamakura.   

Tatchu (minor temple on the site of main temple) of Zenko-ji Temple was built by Hojo Tokimune.  Zenkouji Temple was closed during the first year of the Meiji period.   



Power Spot Info

・Engaku-ji Temple 


This temple was founded by zen master Mugaku Sogen.  Hojo Tokimune invited him from Song China in 1282.   


In Shariden there are enshrined teeth of the Buddha called Butsuge-shari Buddha and Ogane (hanging temple bell).  The bell is the biggest in the Kanto region (259.5 cm tall).  Both are designated as national treasures.   


・Kencho-ji Temple 


This temple is the highest ranked of the Kamakura Gozan Temples (five great Rinzai temples of Kamakura) and is the Daihonzan (head temple) of Kamakura.  It is a temple school of the Rinzai sect.   


This temple was established when Hojo Tokiyori asked Lanxi Daolong to build the first zen temple in Japan.  In it is enshrined the Honzon (principle image of Buddha) or seated statue of Jizo Bosatsu in the Honden (main hall).  It is 5 meters tall including the pedestal.  The other highlight is the local Shinto deity of Kencho-ji Temple called “Hanzobo Shrine” which includes the seated statue of Hojo Tokiyori.   


・Hokoku-ji Temple 


The one thousand tree moso bamboo forest and Kencho-ji Temple School of the Rinzai sect is located on the temple grounds.   


This temple was founded by Ashikaga Sadauji who is the grandfather of Ashikaga Takauji. 

The Hondo and enshrined seated statue of Shakanyorai (Buddha) were built in the Nanbokucho period.   


・Zeniarai Benzaiten 


Zeniarai Mizu Spring (money washing water spring) is located here and it is believed that washing money here will increase one’s fortune. 


Visitors can also benefit from the “Minohi” (day of the snake purification ceremony held on the first day of the snake in the third month of the lunar calendar).  There were many disasters during the Heian period in this area which led to the local people becoming destitute.  This temple was founded by Minamoto Yoritomo to help these destitute people.   

Culture and History Info



During the late 12th century until the mid 14th century in what is today central Kamakura-city of Kanagawa Prefecture, the Kamakurabakufu was started by Minamoto Yoritomo, Hojo Tokimasa, and Hojo Tokiyori.  This province faces the sea on the south and mountains surround the other three sides.  It is the best natural defense for a city.  Today Kamakura is a highly developed town where Tsuruokahachiman-gu Shrine enshrines the local Shinto deity of Genji.  Kamakura is called the historic city of Buke (samurai families).   


Values and behavior are based on “Goon and Hoko” (favor and service) and is the basis Japan’s ancient warrior society that is continued today.   


Yuigahama and Shichirigahama are famous tourist spots for swimming in the sea. Inamuragasaki was a battlefield during the Kamakura period that separates these two spots and has a legend associated with it. Inamuragasaki was the battlefield used when Mitta Yoshisada attacked Kamakura.  It is said that he prayed for success to the Ryujin god by throwing a sword into the sea causing the tide to go out.  Hojo’s army of ships was carried out to sea and Nitta’s army succeeded.   


Today Inamuragasaki is regarded as one of the 50 best views in Japan.  You can see Mt. Fuji from there on a sunny day.  The “Kamakura Museum of National Treasures” is in the Tsuruokahachiman temple grounds.  The building itself is registered as a Tangible Cultural Property.  In Kita-kamakura Kominka Museum there are displayed historical Kominka (traditional Japanese home).  The buildings were constructed over 100 years ago.  In the Kamakura Museum of Literature cherished belongings of famous writers such as Kawabata Yasunari, Akutagawa Ryunosuke, and Natsume Soseki.  You can enjoy and learn about the culture of Kamakura at these places.

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