Top 26 Things To Do In Kamakura, Japan

things to do in kamakura
Tenissa
Tenissa
Updated

Nestled just south of Japan’s most popular city Tokyo, Kamakura is a coastal town to stop and see. This calm and laid-back city offers plenty of points of interest that attract all kinds of tourists, including nature lovers and surfers. Kamakura is perhaps most well-known for its dozens of shrines, Zen temples and the statues of Buddha. But, the town also boasts plenty of parks, gardens and even beaches that are highly popular as surfing spots. To help you get started with your itinerary, we have compiled a list of the best attractions to visit. Read on to learn more about the top things to do in Kamakura for a vacation you will treasure forever.

1. Visit the millennium-old Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine


With so many shrines spread around Kamakura, it may be hard to decide which shrines are worth visiting. One thing for sure, visiting Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is a must. It is an interesting fact to know that has temple has been in Kamakura since 1180 and was founded in 1063. Considering the existence, this shrine is the most important shrine in Kamakura. Another interesting fact is that this shrine was built as a dedication to Hachiman, the protector of the Minamoto family and the warrior legend samurai. The must-visit area is the main hall that features a museum displaying a large collection of swords, masks, and other artifacts.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

Address: 2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588, Japan

Website: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

Opening hours: 5am - 8:30pm (daily)

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD)

2. Tour the historic women's refuge: Tokeiji Temple

Tour the historic women's refuge of Tokeiji Temple
Source: Naoyuki 金井

When you feel you are satisfied enough with Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, you may want to move on to the next, the Tokeiji Temple. Women and Tokeiji Temple are historically related as the temple served as a shelter for woman refugees who were abused by their husbands and could no longer endure the pain. The founder of Tokeiji Temple is a woman as well, the wife of Hojo Tokimune. Tour this ancient temple and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding.

Tokeiji Temple

Address: 1367 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062, Japan

Website: Tokeiji Temple

Opening hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD)

3. Meditate in the great Zen temple of Kenchō-ji

Meditate in the great Zen temple of Kenchō-ji
Source: Naoyuki 金井

Kamakura is known for its five Zen temples. Among the five Zen temples, the oldest and the most important one is no other than Kenchō-ji. Founded by Hojo Tokiyori back in 1253 during the Kencho period, Kenchō-ji comprises many temples and sub-temples. Make sure to take a look at Bonsho, the temple bell that can be found right after you pass through the Sanmon main gate. Make sure to also stop by the main hall called Hojo. You can meditate here and enjoy a moment of serenity. Before leaving the temple, have a pleasant stroll at the beautiful garden that features lush trees and plants located right behind the Hojo.

Kenchō-ji

Address: 8 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-8525, Japan

Website: Kenchō-ji

Opening hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 500 JPY (5 USD) onwards

4. Take a scenic stroll around Engaku-ji Temple

Have a scenic stroll around Engaku-ji Temple
Source: 渡部 洋一

You have visited Kencho-ji, the most important Zen temple in Kamakura. Now, you should also visit the second most important Zen temple called Engaku-ji Temple. Founded not long after Kencho-ji, in 1282 to be exact, the temple was built as a dedication to the Japanese and Mongolian soldiers who sacrificed their lives and died during the war. The best thing about this temple is the location of where it was built. You are going to pass through slopes and enjoy the stunning forested hills surrounding the temple to get to the main hall. You cannot miss a wooden statue of Shaka Buddha that can be found inside the main hall. In this temple, you can also relax over a cup of tea along with Japanese sweets and sweet sake in a tea house.

Engaku-ji Temple

Address: 409 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062, Japan

Website: Engaku-ji Temple

Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 300 JPY (3 USD)

5. Admire the hydrangea blossoms of Jōchi-ji Temple


Jochi-ji Temple is famous for one thing: hydrangeas. There is no place better than Jochi-ji Temple if you are interested in marveling at the beautiful views of hydrangea blossoms. The best time to enjoy the full bloom of colorful hydrangeas is between June and July during the rainy season. The shades of pink and blue are going to relax your mind and calm your soul. You can enjoy the hydrangeas without having to enter Jochi-ji Temple. But if you are curious about a 700-year-old bell and a belfry housing, you need to visit the temple.

Jōchi-ji Temple

Address: 1402 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062, Japan

Website: Jōchi-ji Temple

Opening hours: 9am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD)

6. Try matcha at the tea house of Jomyoji Temple

Sip matcha in the serene teahouse of Jomyoji Temple
Source: 撮街 夜人

Some of you may not know what matcha is while some of you are fond of it. Matcha is actually green tea in English. If you want to taste how delicious matcha is, you can sip a cup of matcha in the serene tea house of Jomyoji Temple, one of the five great Zen temples ranked at number five. As you are sipping on your matcha, be sure to look around and embrace the views of the garden. Other than the tea house, the temple’s main hall is worth visiting because inside, you can admire a statue of the historical Buddha Shaka Nyorai.

Jomyoji Temple

Address: 3-8-31 Jomyoji, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003, Japan

Opening hours: 9am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 100 JPY (1 USD)

7. Savor fluffy, buttery pancakes at Iwata Coffee Shop

Savour fluffy, buttery pancakes at Iwata Coffee Shop

Pancakes are delicious but fluffy and buttery pancakes are pancakes of another level. While enjoying all the attractions in Kamakura, you need to make a stop at Iwata Coffee Shop, a place where you can savor the fluffy buttery pancakes that look exactly like the one in the picture. Nestled on Komachi Street, the pancakes are 7cm in thickness. As soon as you try the pancake, you can enjoy the crispiness on the outside but the inside tastes so soft and fluffy that you will want to order for another one. This coffee shop is so popular that many public figures had come to enjoy the pancakes, like Yoko Ono and her late husband musician John Lennon.

Iwata Coffee Shop

Address: 1 Chome-5-7 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006, Japan

Website: Iwata Coffee Shop

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10am - 6pm (closed on Tue)

Price: 800 JPY (7 USD)

8. Take a peaceful walk through Hokokuji Temple's bamboo groves

Take a peaceful walk through Hokokuji Temple's bamboo groves
Source: Makiko Ozaki

Hokokuji Temple may be a temple but it is more famous for its bamboo garden that many people prefer to call this temple the Bamboo Temple instead. That is why you need to take a peaceful walk through the bamboo groves behind the main hall. In case you are curious about how many bamboos there are, you can now know the answer: over 2,000 dark green bamboo stalks. Some of the bamboo pathways will lead you to a tea house in which you can indulge in a cup of matcha tea as well.

Hokokuji Temple

Address: 2 Chome-7-4 Jomyoji, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003, Japan

Website: Hokokuji Temple

Opening hours: 9am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD)

9. Soak in the sacred atmosphere of Kamakura's oldest temple Sugimoto-dera


Unlike the other temples that were previously discussed, Sugimoto-dera is a Buddhist temple and the oldest temple in Kamakura. It was the wife of Emperor Shomu Empress Komyo who had the idea to build this temple. As soon as you set foot in Sugimoto-dera you will feel a different aura. Soak in the sacred atmosphere and enjoy the feelings of peace and serenity.

Sugimoto-dera

Address: 903 Nikaido, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0002, Japan

Website: Sugimoto-dera

Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD)

10. Appreciate the beauty of spring flowers at Meigetsuin Temple

Appreciate the beauty of spring flowers at Meigetsuin Temple
Source: 渡部 洋一

Spring is probably the most beautiful seasons of them all. If you come to Kamakura during springtime, you should appreciate the beauty of spring flowers, including the hydrangeas, by making a stop at Meigetsuin Temple. In addition to the colorful spring flowers, you may also want to enjoy the yagura in which monks and samurais were buried. It is interesting to learn that the yagura at Meigetsuin Temple is the biggest in Kamakura.

Meigetsuin Temple

Address: 247-0062 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Yamanouchi, Japan

Opening hours: 9am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 300 JPY (3 USD)

11. Admire the unique fox statues of Sasuke Inari Shrine

Admire the unique fox statues of Sasukeinari Shrine
Source: Naoyuki 金井

Tucked away on Kamakura hills, Sasuke Inari Shrine is also known as the Fox Shrine because there are just so many fox statues. These numerous foxes come in various shapes and sizes and it is so worth it to take pictures with each and every single statue. You may be wondering why fox, not the other animals? According to legend, the first Shogun of Kamakura Minamoto Yoritomo was visited in a dream by a white fox called Inari. This white fox advised Minamoto the best time to attack his enemies. Because of this, Minamoto won the war. The shrine was built as a token of gratitude. In addition to the fox statues, you will also love the colorful front entrance of the shrine.

Sasuke Inari Shrine

Address: 2 Chome-22-12 Sasuke, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0017, Japan

Website: Sasuke Inari Shrine

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

12. Have a laid-back brunch at Bills Shichirigahama

Have a laidback brunch at Bills Shichirigahama
Source: K RINTO

For a fresh start in the morning, a substantial and delectable brunch is necessary. When your stomach is happy, you will be happy too and can enjoy all the places you would like to visit. Indulge in a laid-back brunch at Bills Schichirigahama, an Australian restaurant that is nestled across the beach. The most popular dishes of Bills Shichirigahama include scrambled eggs that are made with organic eggs and fresh ingredients and corn fritters topped with avocado salsa sauce with just a perfect combination of savory and sweet tastes. For the most delightful dining experience, choose to enjoy your food outdoor on the terrace where you can enjoy the ocean breeze and marvel at the stunning beach.

Bills Shichirigahama

Address: 248-0026 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Shichirigahama, Japan

Website: Bills Shichirigahama

Opening hours: Mon: 7am - 5pm; Tue - Sun: 7am - 9pm

Price: 2000 JPY (19 USD)

13. Tour the great Buddha statue of Kōtoku-in

Tour the great Buddha statue of Kōtoku-in
Source: 渡部 洋一

Kotoku-in is famous for its Buddha statue that is the second tallest in Japan. The Buddha statue is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha. The statue used to be placed inside the large hall of the temple. Unfortunately, the temple did not survive the typhoons and tsunami that took place back in the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result, the Buddha has since been sitting in the outdoor area. After you are done admiring the Buddha statue, you can also take a walk in the surrounding area and breathe in the tranquil atmosphere as well as the beautiful hills that surround the temple.

Kōtoku-in

Address: 4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

Website: Kōtoku-in

Opening hours: 8am - 5:30pm (daily)

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD)

14. Shop for adorable souvenirs and Japanese sweets at Dagasiya

Shop for adorable souvenirs and Japanese sweets at Dagasiya
Source: Naoyuki 金井


Visiting Kamakura and going back home without a souvenir or a gift would be a shame. There are plenty of stores and souvenir shops in Kamakura, but to buy the adorable ones or the traditional sweets, you need to make a stop at Dagasiya. Buy some Daibutsu gummies and Shonan gummies that have a shape of the famous Enoden railway train. You should also bring home some Buddha souvenirs that come in many varieties, including superballs and tape.

Dagasiya

Address: 248-0016 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Japan

Website: Dagasiya

Opening hours: Mon -Fri: 3pm - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 6pm

Price: 200 JPY (2 USD) onwards

15. Explore the beautiful rose gardens of the Kamakura Museum of Literature

Explore the beautiful rose gardens of the Kamakura Museum of Literature
Source: 渡部 洋一

Rose is a beautiful flower, if not the most beautiful of all. To admire a full display of around 221 roses that come from 186 varieties, you need to stop by the Kamakura Museum of Literature. Feast your eyes on the beautiful and colorful rose gardens that come into full bloom in the middle of May. Later, you can visit the museum itself to learn more about the literature of Kamakura. The museum features material about local writers and their writings as well as their biography.

Kamakura Museum of Literature

Address: 1 Chome-5-3 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

Website: Kamakura Museum of Literature

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 400 JPY (4 USD)

16. Explore the French-style grandeur of Old Kachonomiya's Mansion

Roam through the French-style grandeur of the Former Kachonomiya's Mansion
Source: Naoyuki 金井

What is this elegant French-style grandeur? This house used to be the residential place of an Imperial prince Marquis Kacho Hironobu back in 1929. Roam through the building and enjoy the garden, which also displays a French style, that is always in full bloom and exhibits lush greenery.

Former Residence of Marquis Kachō Hironobu

Address: 2 Chome-6-37 Jomyoji, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003, Japan

Website: Former Residence of Marquis Kachō Hironobu

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 3pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

Price: Free

17. Experience French-style dining at Kogatei Restaurant

Dine in French style at Kogatei Restaurant
Source: 有馬 亜來

Set in an old manor house that was built about 100 years ago, Kogatei Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Kamakura for you to indulge in a delightful dining experience. After touring the former residence of Marquis Kacho Hironobu, coming to this French restaurant just sounds perfect. For lunch you can indulge in a two-kind appetizer, a delectable main dish consisting of charcoal-grilled Tokushima chicken or cutlassfish and finish it with a dessert of chestnut, roasted green tea, and chocolate.

Kogatei Restaurant

Address: 1 Chome-7-23 Ogigayatsu, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0011, Japan

Website: Kogatei Restaurant

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 11am - 9pm (closed on Tue)

Price: 5000 JPY (46 USD)

18. Wander around Hasedera Temple's lovely gardens and ponds

Wander around Hasedera Temple's lovely gardens and ponds
Source: Naoyuki 金井


There are many interesting things that you can enjoy about Hasedera. First, the wooden statue is claimed to be one of the largest wooden sculpture not just in Hakamura but also across Japan. Second, the temple features the goddess of mercy ‘Kannon’ with eleven heads. Third, there is a museum that displays a collection of the Buddhist statues along with a picture scroll and a temple bell. Finally, the temple is known for its charming gardens and ponds. Wander around them to please your eyes and rejuvenate your soul.

Hasedera Temple

Address: 3 Chome-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan

Website: Hasedera Temple

Opening hours: 8am - 5:30pm (daily)

Price: 400 JPY (4 USD)

19. Enjoy a peaceful swim at the Kamakura Yuigahama Beach

Have a peaceful swim at Kamakura Yuigahama Beach

What do you think of enjoying a peaceful swim in one of the most famous beaches in Kamakura? Relax your muscles and ease your mind by taking a dip here while marveling at the Sagami Bay. You will love the soft waves and soft sands. During summer, you can enjoy an extra attraction, which is an open-air market featuring a number of vendors.

Kamakura Yuigahama Beach

Address: Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0014, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

20. Celebrate azalea season at An'yō-in temple

Celebrate azalea season at Anyo-In Temple
Source: 渡部 洋一

Here is one more temple featuring beautiful flowers in full blossom. If you visit Kamakura in spring, you should visit An'yō-in temple to celebrate azalea season. There is one big azalea tree that celebrates its long life of more than 100 years. Other than the azalea season, An'yō-in is also worth visiting for its tomb of Hojo Masako, the wife of a military leader named Minamoto no Yoritomo.

An'yō-in

Address: 3 Chome-1-22 Omachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0007, Japan

Website: An'yō-in

Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)

Price: 100 JPY (1 USD)

21. Wake up to gorgeous views from Kamakura Prince Hotel

Ocean views are one of the most spectacular views to wake up to. If you stay at Kamakura Prince Hotel, you will be able to marvel at the deep blue right from the comfort of your room. What is more, the hotel offers a bright room that is equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, a spacious seating area, and a flat-screen TV, among others. You can also enjoy a relaxing dip in the seasonal outdoor pool where you can see the ocean even better. Or, you can also admire the ocean while savoring a delicious breakfast buffet at the on-site restaurant that also serves Western cuisine and a selection of wines.


Kamakura Prince Hotel

Address: Shichirigahama-Higashi 1-2-18

22. Bow before the beautiful statue of Ōfuna Kannon

Worship before the beautiful statue of Ōfuna Kannon
Source: 安藤 美紀

The staggering white statue of the Japanese bodhisattva known as Kannon awaits your embrace. The statue is so tall and big that you can get a glimpse of it from a distance. Although the statue looks intimidating, when you take a closer look, you can see that the expression of the woman displays kindness, affection, and compassion. Kannon is believed to have the ability to cure sickness and prevent natural disasters, among others. Bow before the statue of Kannon which reminds you that everyone should be kind to one another.

Ōfuna Kannon

Address: 1 Chome-5-3 Okamoto, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0072, Japan

Website: Ōfuna Kannon

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 300 JPY (3 USD)

23. Stroll along the black sands of Inamuragasaki Beach

Stroll along the black sands of Inamuragasaki Beach
Source: Naoyuki 金井

Unlike the typical beaches with white or brown sands, Inamuragasaki Beach is famous for its black sands. What an awesome feeling it is to stroll along the black sands while enjoying the immensity of the ocean that has no end. You may also be able to swim when the waves are calm, depending on the weather. If you are fortunate, you can also see the majestic Mount Fuji right from this beach.

Inamuragasaki Beach

Address: 248-0023 Kanagawa, Kamakura14, 3 Chome 14-20 Gokurakuji, Japan

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

24. Feast on shirasu specialties at Shirasu Wholesaler Tobiccho Main Store

Feast on shirasu specialties at Shirasu Wholesaler Tobiccho Main Store
Source: 安藤 美紀

One of the most popular shirasu specialties is called shirasudon, a local dish loved by many Japanese. You should try this shirasudon, which is a bowl of cooked rice with sardines as the topping. As soon as you eat it, you will know the most authentic taste of seafood. It is just how seafood should taste like: fresh and salty. The best restaurant to indulge in shirasudon is Shirasu Wholesaler Tobiccho Main Store. Do not be surprised if you see the restaurant is fully packed.

Shirasu Wholesaler Tobiccho Main Store

Address: Kanagawa Pref. Fujisawashi Enoshima 2-1-9

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

25. Marvel at the luminous jellyfish at Enoshima Aquarium

While in Kamakura, you should not forget to spare some time to visit your animal friends that live in the water. Enoshima Aquarium features a diverse marine life and you can see penguins and dolphins, among others. But, the star of this aquarium is the jellyfish that there is a special hall dedicated to it. Marvel at the luminous jellyfish in a big rounded ball.

Enoshima Aquarium

Address: 2 Chome-19-1 Katasekaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-0035, Japan

Website: Enoshima Aquarium

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

Price: 2400 JPY (22 USD)

26. Enjoy magnificent ocean views atop the Enoshima Sea Candle

Enjoy magnificent ocean views atop the Enoshima Sea Candle

Nestled in the small island of Enoshima, Enoshima Sea Candle is an observation deck from which you can enjoy the magnificent ocean views and of course, Mount Fuji. Enoshima Sea Candle features two observation decks: one located indoor and the other one outdoor. The outdoor deck is the best place to turn your head around if you aim for unobstructed views.

Enoshima Sea Candle

Address: 2 Chome-3-28 Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-0036, Japan

Website: Enoshima Sea Candle

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

Price: 300 JPY (3 USD)

Make your vacation in Kamakura one of the most unforgettable ones

Now that you have read the article and know what you need to do and what attractions to visit in Kamakura, all that remains to do is schedule your vacation and book your flight. Make sure you do not miss even a single activity mentioned above to make your vacation in Kamakura one of the most unforgettable ones.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Tenissa is a content writer, translator and editor. She enjoys being a globetrotter and has traveled to many countries around the world. So far, her favourite destination is Switzerland. She looks...Read more

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