Kamakura is the most popular day trip destination from Tokyo! It is located in the southern part of Kanagawa prefecture, just an hour away from Tokyo. If you don’t have time to visit Kyoto, Kamakura is a great place to feel the ancient part of Japan.
There are many amazing spots to explore in Kamakura, but this itinerary will guide you through some of the most famous spots you don’t want to miss! Here is everything you need to know, including things to do, how to access, where to eat, and where to stay in Kamakura.
If you want to check more about day trip destinations from Tokyo, check out 15 BEST day trips from Tokyo in spring.
Things to Do in Kamakura
Kamakura offers lots of interesting places to see. What I love about Kamakura is it provides different activities and scenery, depending on different season you visit. There are numerous historical temples and shrines, and you will never get bored of exploring! Here are the 10 best spots for day trip in Kamakura.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most historical and important shrine in Kamakura. It was founded over 800 years ago. Since it is located just a 15 minute walk from Kamakura Station, it is one of the most popular shrines in Kamakura. One of the best seasons to visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is in the spring. There are approximately 300 cherry blossom trees around the shrine, and it creates such a gorgeous atmosphere.
The easiest way to access to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is to go to Kamakura Station. If you want to go to Kamakura from Tokyo, take JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station. It is a direct train to Kamakura Station, and it will take an hour to get there. The price is 920 yen per way. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is just a 15 minute walk away from Kamakura Station, so it’s a perfect day trip destination in Kamakura.
Hokokuji Temple is famous for its garden with over 2,000 dark green bamboo stalks. Since there are many bamboos in the garden, Hokokuji is also known as Bamboo Temple. A few narrow paths allow you to go to a small Japanese style cafe where you can enjoy the fresh matcha tea and the view of bamboo. It is a perfect day trip destination to relax and refresh yourself in such a zen atmosphere in Kamakura. The entrance fee to Hokokuji is 300 yen, and matcha tea is 600 yen each. It’s open from 9am to 4pm everyday except Dec 29th – Jan 3rd.
Meigetsu-in was founded over 850 years ago. Another name of Meigetsu-in is “Hydrangea Temple” since abundant hydrangeas start blooming in the temple’s garden during June. The best time to visit Meigetsu-in is during June or the autumn, when you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the temple.
I also recommend you visit the Main Hall to see a circular window, which frames the scenery of the beautiful garden. The entrance fee to Meigetsu-in is normally 300 yen, but the price goes up to 500 yen during June (Hydrangeas season). It’s open from 9am to 4pm.
The best way to visit Meigetsu-in is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station. Once you are at Kita-Kamakura Station, walk about 10 minutes following the signs.
Komachi-dori is just a one minute walk away from Kamakura Station. Komachi dori is famous for a major shopping street in Kamakura, filled with lots of restaurants and souvenir shops. Since there are lots of great snacks and sweets vendors on the street, one of the main activities at Komachi-dori is to walk around with food in hand! They offer sweets such as crepes, ice cream, rice crackers, takoyaki, etc.
If you are a Ghibli fan, Komachi-dori is also popular for the Ghibli store. You will be welcomed by Totoro at the entrance. At the end of the street, it will lead you to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, so it is a perfect day trip spot to stroll around after visiting the shrine in Kamakura!
Great Buddha at Kōtoku-in
A historical Great Buddha is located in Kōtoku-in. The buddha is 11.4 meters high and recognized as the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. You will be amazed by the size, but there is one more surprise! There is a staircase inside the Budda, which takes visitors up to shoulder height.
Kōtoku-in Temple is open from 8am to 5:30pm during April and September. Between October and March, it closes at 5pm. The entrance fee is 200 yen, but it costs additional 20 yen to enter the statue.
The easiest way to go to Kōtoku-in is to take a train “Enoden railway” from Kamakura Station and get off at Hase Station. Once you are at Hase Station, Great Buddha is just 5-10 minute walk away!
Kenchō-ji is one of the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura. The main attraction of the temple is its beautiful garden, which was designed by Zen master Muso Kokushi. Another attraction are the breathtaking views from the top of the hills. You will follow the path for about 20 minutes, and there is an observation deck where you can see Mount Fuji on a clear day. The admission is 300 yen and its open between 8:30am and 4:30pm.
The easiest way to go to Kenchō-ji is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station, which is one station before Kamakura Station when coming from Tokyo. From Kita-Kamakura Station, Kenchō-ji is a 15-20 minute walk away. Kita-Kamakura area is a perfect day trip destination from Kamakura Station.
Engaku-ji is the 2nd most important temple in Kamakura. There are 18 temples on the site, and one of the most popular ones is “Sanmon”, the two-storied main gate.
When you are in Engaku-ji, you should definitely visit the teahouse where you can enjoy a cup of matcha tea, sweet sake, and Japanese sweets in a beautiful atmosphere. Engaku-ji is also famous for gorgeous autumn colors. Since the temple entrance is surrounded by many maple trees, it is a perfect spot for photographers. The entrance fee is 300 yen, and it is open from 8am to 5pm.
The easiest way to go to Engaku-ji is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kita-Kamakura Station. Engaku-ji is located just 5 minute away by walk.
Ōfuna Kannon Temple
Ofuna Kannon Temple was founded in 1960. When you go into the the temple, you will encounter a gigantic robed woman in white. The outstanding feature of the temple is the 25 meters gigantic statue of the bodhisattva. Japanese people believe the bodhisattva prevent natural disasters, cure the sick, and assist women in childbirth. A lot of Japanese people come to pray to her when they feel sick, lonely, or homesick.
The easiest way to go to Ōfuna Kannon Temple is to take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Ōfuna Station. The entrance fee is 300 yen.
Hasedera is built along the slope of a wooded hill. You will be welcomed by a pretty garden with ponds. One of the highlights of Hasedera is an amazing view from the slope on a terrace. Visitors can see breathtaking views of the coastal city of Kamakrua.
Hasedera is also famous for housing a massive wooden statue of Kannon and hundreds of small Jizō statues. It is estimated that some 50,000 Jizō statues have been placed at Hasedera since World War II. Hasedera is open from 8am to 5pm. The entrance fee is 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for children (Age 6 – 11).
The easiest way to go to Hasedera is to take “Enoden” at Kamakura Station and get off at Hase Station. Hasedera is located 5 minute walk away from Hase Station, so it’s another great day trip destination in Kamakura.
Although Jufuku-ji is not open to the public, the pathway that leads towards the temple is worth seeing it. If you like photographies, it’s an amazing spot to take historical sight of Japan. After reaching the gate, you get to see a beautiful view of the temple itself. It is a perfect spot to just walk around and relax listening to the sounds of nature.
The easiest way to access to Jufuku-ji is to walk north of Kamakura Station. It is about a 10 minute walk from Kamakura Station.
How to go to kamakura
I am listing ways to access to Kamakura from both Tokyo and Osaka. It is a bit complicated to go to Kamakura from Osaka, so I recommend visiting Kamakura when you are in Tokyo.
The easiest way to access to Kamakura is to take JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station. It is a direct train to Kamakura Station, and it will take an hour to get there. The price is 920 yen per way.
Kamakura is a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo!
You have to change trains 3 times in order to access Kamakura from Osaka. First, you will take a bullet train from Shin-Osaka to Shin-Yokohama. Then you will take Yokohama City Subway Blue Line to go to Yokohama Station. Once you are at Yokohama Station take JR Yokosuka Line and get off at Kamakura Station. It is a bit complicated to go to Kamakura from Osaka, so I recommend visiting Kamakura when you are in Tokyo.
Where to eat in Kamakura
There are many great restaurants and stylish cafes in Kamakura. Here are some of the most popular restaurants and cafes in Kamakura!
Pacific Ocean Sea Table
It is a Hawaiian style restaurant with an amazing ocean view. It is a perfect spot to have breakfast or lunch looking over the beautiful blue ocean. The atmosphere is definitely the highlight of the restaurant, but their food is also incredible! One of the menus items you can’t miss is the BBQ beef with rice. Since it gets very crowded at lunch time I recommend you try their breakfast, especially if you want to enjoy an outside seat.
Kaikoan at Hasedera
Kaikoan is located in Hasedera Temple, and it is famous for the vegetarian menus. The highlight of Kaikoan is its beautiful interior with a scenic view of the ocean and the city of Kamakura. There are English menus so you will feel comfortable even if you don’t speak Japanese.
Café Sakanoshita is famous for amazing selections of pancakes. Their pancakes are fluffy and delicious, and the atmosphere is super comfortable! I recommend you a terrace seat, especially if it’s nice outside. The pancake price is usually 1300 – 1500 yen including a drink. One of my favorite pancakes is their matcha pancake!
Special Events in Kamakura
There are several fun festivals you cannot miss! Although my personal recommendation is Bonbori matsuri, I listed top 3 events in Kamakura.
Bonbori Matsuri is popular for its lantern festival at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. In early August, bonbori lanterns are lit in the sacred shrine every year. There are approximately 400 lanterns with hand-drawn pictures, calligraphy, and poems with a delicate candle during the festival. Those lanterns are lined up beautifully along the raised cherry tree pathway. The candle lights shining on the stone paths in the night is such a romantic scene of summer in Japan.
There is Kamakura Firework festival in summer every year. The show lasts for about an hour and sets off 4,000 fireworks in total. The firework festival occurs at Yuigahama beach, and it is such an attractive spot to watch fireworks while relaxing at the beach.
Reitaisai is held every September. The highlight is to witness the rare art of yabusame and horseback archery. It is also a great occasion to try a variety of Japanese street food while watching traditional Japanese performances.
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