There’s plenty to see and do here, from Shinto shrines to Buddhist temples, storied shopping streets, and places to eat galore. If you’ve never been here before, lucky you – you get to explore all its delights for the first time.
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How to get from Tokyo to Kamakura
Train – There are several ways to get to Kamakura from Tokyo. One of the most common, especially if you’re based around the Shinjuku area, is to take the Shonan Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station. Alternatively, you could take the Yokosuka Line from the bustling Tokyo Station, which will have you arriving at Kamakura Station in 58 minutes. Either way, both routes make it easy to embark on a Kamakura day trip. The Yokosuka Line and Shonan Shinjuku Line are JR lines, which means the cost-effective JR Pass covers them.
Car – Hiring a car in Tokyo and driving to Kamakura can be a convenient and flexible way to explore this popular destination in Japan. While public transportation is generally efficient and well-connected, having a car allows you to control your itinerary and visit less accessible or remote areas around Kamakura.
The travel time from Tokyo to Kamakura varies depending on the mode of transportation and the route taken:
1. By car: The distance between Tokyo and Kamakura is approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles). The journey can take around 1 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions. The time can increase significantly during peak hours, particularly on weekends or holidays. The other option is a private transfer, which you can book here.
2. By train: Taking the train is usually the fastest and most convenient way to travel between Tokyo and Kamakura. If you take the JR Yokosuka Line, the journey will take approximately 55 minutes. The frequency of trains is high, with departures every 10-20 minutes. However, it is vital to check the schedule beforehand as some trains may require transfers or have limited stops.
3. By bus: Buses are another option to consider. The travel time can range from 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic. However, bus schedules and routes may change, so it is advisable to check the latest information before planning your trip.
It’s worth noting that the estimated travel times mentioned above are for regular conditions and may vary due to factors such as traffic congestion, weather conditions, or transportation disruptions. Therefore, it is advisable to plan your journey in advance and keep up to date with current information to ensure a smooth and efficient trip to Kamakura from Tokyo.
Kamakura 1 day itinerary
Komachi Dori (Komachi Street)
As soon as you step off the train at Kamakura, you can immerse yourself in the bustling shopping street of Komachi Dori. Head to Komachi Street, this long row of shops, cafes, and restaurants offers the chance to buy souvenirs and fill up on snacks. Eat your way along this lively street with everybody else (it’s usually pretty busy!).
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Walking north along Komachi Dori shopping street, you’ll soon reach Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the principal Shinto shrine in Kamakura. It’s dedicated to the Shinto deity of victory, Hachiman. Set on a hill overlooking the rest of the town, it’s a great place to come for views of the gigantic torii shrine gates that are located along the main road. But it has a lot of history of its own and was originally constructed in 1063.
If you’ve just got one day to spend in Kamakura, and you’re visiting for the first time, chances are you will need more time for a full-on temple walking tour. There are various Zen temples situated around the city, many of them on the outskirts near Kita-Kamakura Station, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see some of the best temples the city has to offer. One of these is Hasedera Temple.
To get there, head back to Kamakura Station. From there, you can catch the charming Enoden, the affectionate nickname for the Enoshima Dentetsu Line. This electric railway trundles through narrow gaps between houses and across streams, making for an exciting activity.
Get off at Hase Station. A short walk from the station is Hasedera Temple. A temple for the Jodo sect of Buddhism, it’s famed for its 9-metre-tall wooden statue of Kannon, Buddhist deity of mercy. Since the temple is on a hill, you can also admire some beautiful views of Kamakura from the terrace here.
Not too far by foot along a street populated with cafes and souvenir shops, you’ll find the Daibutsu, Giant Buddha. Situated among the grounds of Kotoku-in Temple, this is the main attraction of Kamakura.
This giant bronze statue of Buddha is over 13 metres tall and weighs 121 tonnes. Incredibly, this feat of craftsmanship was made back in 1252 and has survived storms, tsunamis, and earthquakes throughout its centuries of existence. It costs 200 yen to enter. You can also pay an extra 20 yen to enter the Daibutsu itself! A very different way to see the ancient landmark.
Finish up your day trip to Kamakura with a visit to Enoshima. Walk back to Hase Station and jump on the Enoden again. It’s about a 20-minute ride on the Enoden to Enoshima Station, where you get off and walk another 20 minutes or so to Enoshima.
This island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. From the bridge, if you’re lucky and visiting on a clear day, you can get a spectacular view of Mount Fuji looming in the distance.
Once you’re on Enoshima itself, it’s time to explore. There are several cafes and restaurants situated around the island that make for good lunch or snack spots. You’ll also find plenty of attractions, from the lush Samuel Cocking Garden to the Enoshima Sea Candle, an observation tower (think incredible coastal views). As well as caves, a shrine to the deity Benten and Enoshima Daishi, and a Buddhist temple, it’s the perfect way to round up your day in Kamakura.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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