Located less than one hour south of Tokyo by train, Kamakura is an ancient city that is beautiful in all seasons. Kamakura’s strategic geographical location in Kanagawa Prefecture, surrounded by mountains on three sides and the beach in the south, makes it an ideal spot since Kamakura shogunate Period, even now for nature and beach lovers. Alongside the scenic nature are dozens of traditional Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines, where you can seek spiritual solace and appreciate the beauty of Japanese architecture. With a myriad of things to see and do in this old samurai city all year round, exhilarating events await you in all four lovely seasons. Here are 7 great reasons why you must make a trip to Kamakura real soon!
1. Explore a mini Kyoto so close to Tokyo on a budget
Getting to the city of Kamakura from Tokyo is quick and affordable. A one-way train ticket from Shibuya Station costs only 610 JPY (5.20 USD). You only need to transfer once at Ofuna Station on the Shonan-Shinjuku Line to change to the Yokosuka Line to Kamakura Station. The entire journey takes only about one hour. On the other hand, a one-way train ticket to Kyoto costs about 13,500 JPY (114.80 USD) and takes about 160 minutes.
Instead of spending so much time and money to travel all the way to Kyoto, Kamakura is a good alternative. Similar to Kyoto, there are many traditional Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines in the ancient city of Kamakura. In fact, Kamakura evokes a mini Kyoto feel, but without the tourist crowds. Use the time saved in travelling to immerse fully in the beauty of the tranquil surroundings. You will also be able to enjoy the historical city more comfortably without so many other tourists vying for space with you! Find the perfect itinerary in “Day Trip Ultimate Itinerary In Kamakura”
2. Immerse in the surreal beauty of ancient temples
Kamakura’s rich historical and cultural landscape makes it a fascinating place for breathtaking photos. Not only are the awe-inspiring power spots wonderful places where you can seek spiritual enlightenment, the beauty of these ancient temples is a sight to behold. Besides iconic landmarks such as the Kotokuin Temple, Great Buddha of Kamakura and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hokokuji Temple and Meigetsuin Temple are also awesome traditional architecture not to miss. The city is filled with plenty of beautiful ancient temples waiting for you to discover! Find more in these articles:
3. Quick access to beautiful sandy beaches
Tokyo may not be the first on people’s minds when they think of beautiful islands and cool beaches. But if you want to get a quick beach getaway near Tokyo, Kamakura is the perfect choice for its proximity to Japan’s capital. The coastal city is home to several lovely beaches, such as Yuigahama Beach and Zaimokuza Beach, where you can seek respite for great sand and turf. Yuigahama Beach is just a short train ride from the main Kamakura Station. Engage in fun sea sports within an hour from Tokyo!
4. Seek respite and unwind from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo
Kamakura is a relatively small city that can be easily explored entirely on foot or by the network of city buses. In this old political centre of medieval Japan, you can take your time to relax in the laid-back atmosphere, which is a stark contrast with buzzing Tokyo. Do not rush through the city within a day. Instead, book a unique stay in a traditional Japanese house near lovely sightseeing spots. Slow down your pace of travelling, so that you can fully enjoy the scenic nature and traditional culture Kamakura has to offer. Read more on Feel Spiritually Enlightened In Kamakura and also for those are interested in finding out the accommodations in Kamakura, find best Airbnb from “10 Best Airbnb Near Must See Sights In Kamakura!
5. Lots of delicious food you can eat to your heart’s content in the city
Kamakura is not just a destination for history, culture, nature and beach lovers. It is also a wonderful place for foodies. Along the popular Komachi-dori near Kamakura Station, there are already over 250 restaurants, fancy cafes and Japanese-style sweet cafes lined up on both sides of the street to tantalise your taste buds. Take your pick from local street snacks such as sweet potato croquette and takoyaki filled with dried shirasu (Japanese anchovy) to staples such as tempura rice bowl, inari sushi and so on. As you explore the city at a leisurely pace, fuel yourself up with these great foods and chomp your way through! Find more details from Kamakura Komachi Street Top 10 Food Guide and Top Places to Eat and Shop in Kamakura Komachi Street
6. A lovely holiday destination suitable for the whole family
Sometimes, it is not easy to find a holiday destination where the whole family can enjoy. In Kamakura, there is something for everyone of all ages. Let your little ones have an enriching time at the large Enoshima Aquarium where they can learn more about the fascinating marine life in the Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean. After that, it’s time to enjoy relaxing hot spring baths by the coast overlooking the majestic Mount Fuji at Enoshima Island Spa.
Regardless of age, food is always what brings people together, so take a stroll down Komachi-dori to enjoy the mouth-watering eats in the city, as well as shop around the numerous local boutiques and souvenir shops. Of course, you should also take lots of memorable family shots against the beautiful backdrop of famous temples and beaches in Kamakura. The list of things to do in Kamakura with your family just does not seem to end!
7. Travel through astonishing sceneries with a retro train ride
Besides the exquisite blend of beach and traditional culture you can find in Kamakura, you should also get on the Enoden train for a unique train ride that makes you feel as if you have travelled through time! The local Enoden train system has a history of 100 years, warranting it as a historical attraction on its own.
While the entire distance of the Enoden train ride is only 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), you will come up close with interesting sights along the way. At some areas, the local houses are so close to the train running on really narrow tracks, that it feels like you can touch and feel them easily. On the contrary, the sea-facing areas will leave you in awe with amazing panoramic views of Sagami Bay.
Furthermore, you will also be able to pass by ancient temples, as well as modern landscapes, all on this short 30-minute retro train ride. There is also the popular Kamakurakōkōmae Station by the seaside to look out for, brought to fame because of the well-known Japanese manga, or comic, “Slam Dunk”. Indeed, riding on the Enoden train is such a pleasure that many treat it as their top must-do in Kamakura.
How do you enjoy the retro train ride? Read more on How To Travel From Enoshima To Kamakura With A Local Train Enoden.
Can’t wait to head to Kamakura soon?
Now that you have read the top 7 reasons why Kamakura is a must-visit destination for your next Japan holiday, are you already making plans for when to go? Regardless of the season you visit, this samurai city is a gem waiting for you to uncover. Do not procrastinate anymore. Book your trip to Kamakura soon to enjoy all that the laid-back city has to offer, before everyone else visits!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.