Top 10 Photogenic Spots That Will Make You Fall In Love With Kamakura

Top 10 Photogenic Spots That Will Make You Fall In Love With Kamakura
| 5 min read

Located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura is a small coastal city less than an hour south of Tokyo by train. As Kamakura is known for its awe-inspiring shrines, temples and irresistible beaches, it is a wonderful place to get away and escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. The city’s rich historical and cultural landscape is a great playground for photography enthusiasts! Here are the top 10 photogenic spots that will make you want to fly to the charming Kamakura now!

1. The Great Buddha of Kamakura


Standing on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple, the Great Buddha of Kamakura (鎌倉大仏, Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha. This 13.35-meter (48 feet) tall Buddha statue is the second-tallest in Japan, and also the most famous icon in Kamakura. Originally housed inside a large temple hall, it has been standing in the open since 1495 due to multiple destructions by typhoons and tidal waves of the temple building. Its current position puts it in an ideal location for great shots, surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful flowers, with the blue sky as your limit!

The Great Buddha (鎌倉大仏)

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

Price: 200 JPY / 2 USD

Opening Hours: please refer to official website

Access: 7-minute walk from Hase station

Contact: +81 467-22-0703

The Great Buddha, 鎌倉大仏

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2. Hase-dera Temple

Hase-dera Temple (鎌倉長谷寺), a short walk from Hase train station, is famous for its eleven-headed statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Built along the slope of a wooded hill, the main buildings of the temple on the terrace halfway up the slope allow for stunning views of the coastal town of Kamakura. Other than this lovely spot for great photos, you should also head to the temple garden with a pond, surrounded by large trees and pretty flowers that look marvellous in autumn.

Hase-dera Temple (鎌倉長谷寺)

Address: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: 300 JPY / 3 USD per adult, 100 JPY / 1 USD per child

Opening Hours: please refer to official website

Access: 5-minute walk from Hase station

Contact: +81 467-22-6300

Hase-dera Temple, 鎌倉長谷寺

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3. Hokokuji Temple

Peeking Sun
Source: Photo by user Reginald Pentinio used under CC BY 2.0

Hokokuji Temple is a small temple set in the hills of Eastern Kamakura. The entrance and path to the temple looks unassuming, with a modest gate through a little garden to the main hall. However, if you go beyond the main hall, you will discover the beauty of this ancient temple. There are over 2000 dark green bamboo stalks forming a beautiful bamboo forest behind the main hall. No wonder it is also called the Take-dera, which means Bamboo Temple in Japanese. Walk through the forest along a few narrow pathways to get to the traditional Japanese tea house, where you can sip your aromatic cup of Japanese green tea, while soaking in the tranquil views of the bamboo forest. Don’t forget to capture these mesmerizing shots before you leave!

Hokokuji Temple (報国寺)

Address: 2-7−4, Jomyo-ji, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: 200 JPY / 2 USD

Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm daily

Access: 15-minute Keikyu bus ride from Kamakura station to Jomyoji Temple, followed by a 3-minute walk from Jomyo-ji

Contact: +81 467-22-0762

Hokokuji Temple, 報国寺

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4. Shishimai Valley

The Shishimai Valley (獅子舞谷) is filled with peculiarly shaped rocks that resemble the form of a crouching lion and is known as one of the great spots for viewing wonderful autumn foliage. In autumn, go for a rejuvenating hike on the Tenen Hiking Course in the northern hills of Kamakura, where the Shishimai Valley will form part of the trail. You will see the entire valley turn red by the awesome maple leaves of the thick forest filled with gingko trees. Immerse in the romantic feel of the autumn foliage falling all around you as you capture these mesmerizing moments into permanent memories on your camera.

Shishimai Valley (獅子舞谷)

Address: part of the Tenen Hiking Course in the northern hills of Kamakura

Price: free

Opening Hours: always open, but explore only during dry weather and with good walking shoes.

Duration: around 90 minutes.

Access: via the Tenen Hiking Course from Kenchoji Temple through to Zuisenji Temple

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5. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

Founded in 1603, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most important shrine in Kamakura, located in the geographical and cultural centre of the city. This is the place where you can admire the beauty of traditional Japanese architecture and nature. The shrine is studded with peonies and cherry blossoms in spring, autumn foliage in autumn, and in winter, the crystalline white snow makes the bright red torii gates shine in stark contrast. No matter when you visit the shrine, you will be able to find photogenic moments worth that capture.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine (鶴岡八幡宮)

Address: 2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: free entry (200 JPY / 2 USD to the Shrine Museum)

Opening Hours: please refer to official website

Access: 10 to 15-minute walk from Kamakura station

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, 鶴岡八幡宮

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6. Meigetsuin Temple

明月院 Meigetsuin Temple(北鎌倉)6月
Source: Photo by user Ryosuke Yagi used under CC BY 2.0

Meigetsuin Temple (明月院) is a temple of the Rinzai Zen Sect founded in 1160 in Kamakura. But it is perhaps better known as Ajisaidera because of the sea of hydrangea on the temple grounds. These pretty blue flowers bloom during the rainy season around June, so if you want to catch the lovely sight of blue all across the temple, that will be the best time to capture photogenic shots of these beautiful flowers. In any case, fret not if you can’t visit around this time, because there are other varieties of flowers being planted in the temple grounds too. At the inner garden, you can find the pretty iris blooming in June, and watch the leaves turn red during autumn in late November to early December. Definitely an awesome photo spot you can’t miss in Kamakura!

Meigetsuin Temple (明月院)

Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: 300 JPY / 3 USD (regular fee), additional 500 JPY / 5 USD to enter the Iris Garden in June

Opening Hours: 9am to 4pm (8:30am to 5pm in June) daily

Access: 10-minute walk from Kita-Kamakura station

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7. Zuisenji Temple

Located in the far east of Kamakura, Zuisenji Temple (瑞泉寺) is a beautiful Zen temple surrounded by wooded hills in the back of a narrow alley. There is a pure Zen rock garden behind the temple’s main hall, designed by the founder Muso Kokushi, one of Japan’s most reputable garden designers. In other parts of the temple grounds, there are also many flowers and plum trees. No wonder Zuisenji is the most well-known flower temple in the city!

Zuisenji Temple (瑞泉寺)

Address: 710 Nikaido, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: 200 JPY / 2 USD

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm (entry until 16:30) daily

Access: 10 to 15-minute walk from Kamakura-gu Shrine bus stop

Zuisenji Temple, 瑞泉寺

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8. Kakuonji Temple

Said to be the best spot for viewing autumn foliage, Kakuonji Temple (覚園寺) is a representative Buddhist temple built by Hojo Yoshitoki. Feel as if you have travelled back in time to the bygone Kamakura period the moment you step onto the Kakuonji temple grounds. From late November to early December, witness the temple being painted in golden red as you move around in Kamakura’s most enchanting autumn foliage viewing spot.

Kakuonji Temple (覚園寺)

Address: 421 Nikaido, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: 300 JPY / 3 USD

Opening Hours: 10am to 3pm daily except from August 1 to 31 and from December 20 to January 7

Duration: 50-minute temple guided tour at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Access: 8-minute walk from Ootounomiya (大塔宮) bus stop.

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9. Kamakurakoko-Mae station

Kamakurakōkōmae Station (鎌倉高校前駅) is a small seaside railway station on the Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden) located in Kamakura. Named after a high school in the vicinity, this railway station and its railroad crossing to the beautiful beach have become a popular tourist spot after it was featured in the popular Japanese manga - “Slam Dunk”. People from all over Japan as well as foreign visitors, travel all the way here to imagine themselves as the “Slam Dunk” characters, as well as enjoy the open view of the Pacific Ocean and Mount Fuji from the station platform. Have fun reenacting the “Slam Dunk” scenes with the lovely beach as your perfect backdrop! Read more about Enoden in here

Kamakurakoko-Mae station (鎌倉高校前駅)

Address: on the Enoshima Electric Railway line in Kamakura, in between Koshigoe and Shichirigahama stations

Price: depends on where you board the train

Opening Hours: please refer to official website

Enoshima Electric Railway

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10. Yuigahama beach

Sea sparkle at Kamakura Yuigahama Beach, Japan on March 2017
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Doricono used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Yuigahama is one of the most popular beaches in Kamakura that is a short convenient walk from Yuigahama station. Other than being a quick beach getaway to escape from the busy cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, many visit the well-liked beach for its gorgeous sunset. Yuigahama is worth a visit to engage in not just healthy sea sports in a convenient location, but also a great playground for your camera devices.

Yuigahama beach (由比ヶ浜海岸)

Address: 4 Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture

Price: free

Opening Hours: always open

Access: 5-minute walk from Yuigahama station

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Bring your photography skills to the next level at Kamakura

Enhance your photography skills in the ancient city of Kamakura, where you can find traditional architecture alongside lush greenery and seaside landscape all together. Don’t hesitate anymore. Book your flight and accommodation, pack your camera into your luggage and fly to Kamakura to capture all these photogenic spots now!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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