Need to get out of the city for awhile? If you don’t mind an hour on the train, one of the best short trips from Tokyo is to the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture. With several temples and shrines, a beautiful beach, and a shopping district specializing in Japanese sweets, you’re sure to find a relaxing way to spend your day.
Directly outside of Kamakura train station is the Komachi Street shopping district. Although there are some big names, most of the stores here are of the mom-and-pop variety. Traditional Japanese candy, handmade umbrellas, toys, and Buddhist iconography make for interesting souvenirs or small gifts to send back home.
One of the greatest things about Komachi is that it is mostly a mom and pop district, with no big chain stores making shopping here superfluous. whether you are looking for interesting souvenirs or just some small gifts to send back home Komachi has you covered. Be it traditional Japanese candy, handmade umbrellas, traditional toys for the kids, or perhaps you are looking for a crystal carving of Buddha you are sure to find it there.
After walking through Komachi Street, you can visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shinto shrine. Founded in 1063, Tsurugaoka Hachimangū has a long political and religious history, which you can learn about by visiting the museum on the grounds of the main shrine. Visitors can learn the details of the assassination of Minamoto no Sanetomo and the 1868 Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order while viewing a variety of historical artifacts.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in the city is the Kamakura Daibutsu, the Buddha of Kamakura. Located on the grounds of the Kotoku-In temple, the 13-meter tall bronze statue of the Amida Buddha is the second biggest statue of the Buddha in Japan. For a 200 yen entrance fee, you can be visit the Kamakura Daibutsu from 8:00 to 17:30 any day of the year.
If you are really interested in seeing everything Kamakura has to offer, do yourself a favor and use a rickshaw. Kamakura is rather large, and having to walk from shrine to shrine is a daunting task, so why not let someone else do the walking for you? Rickshaw are easy to find on Komachi St.–just keep your eye out for a man in a straw hat and bicycle shorts. A rickshaw can take you anyplace you want to go, and all of the drivers know the best spots to go see.
And finally there is Kamakura Beach, a nice little patch of sand on the coast. The beach itself is worth the trip, as it is a popular getaway from the cities and is a popular destination for windsurfing. Or you can go for a walk along the beach at sunset to cap off a perfect day’s getaway from the busy city.
Kamakura Day Trip Information
Nearest Station: Kamakura Station
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