20 Things To Do In Kamakura

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A beautiful seaside town that’s just less than an hour south of Tokyo, Kamakura was once the political capital of Japan, and it is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is well known for its temples, bamboo groves and museums. Kamakura looks out across to Sagami Bay, so you’ll even be able to enjoy a beach style vacation when you visit Kamakura. It’s a welcome break from the big city vibes of Tokyo and if you are looking to learn more about Japanese culture, Kamakura is an excellent place to visit.

Kamakura, Japan

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20 Things To Do In Kamakura

1- Marvel At The Great Buddha At Kotoku-in Temple

The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) On The Grounds Of Kotokuin Temple
Marvelling at the Great Buddha At Kotoku-in Temple is one of the things to do in the Kamakura you simply cannot miss.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura at Kotoku-in Temple is as mighty as the name suggests.

This bronze statue stands at 11.4 metres (37 ft) and was for a long time the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan.

The silver boss on the statue’s forehead that shines in the sun weighs a mighty 13.6kg.

The Great Buddha dates to 1252 when it was first cast and in the original temple hall.

Today, however, owing to two tsunamis in the 14th and 15th centuries the Buddha was destroyed.


It was rebuilt again in the late 15th century and has been standing outdoors ever since.

As well as seeing the famous Buddha you can wander around the other parts of the temple.

It’s a super peaceful place for reflection and tranquillity.

Kotoku-in Temple is at 4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016.

If you don’t have time for a longer stay, here are three tours you can take from Tokyo:

2- Relax At Yuigahama Beach

Yuigahama Coast Of Shonan At Sunset
Relaxing at Yuigahama Beach is one of the 10 things to do in Kamakura.

If you visit Kamakura, then you must put aside time to go to the beach.

Kamakura looks out onto Sagami Bay and Yuigahama Beach is an excellent spot to take in the views.

The official beach season is between July and August, though you can visit at other times of the year.

Yuigahama Beach is conveniently within walking distance of other attractions and has good facilities.

As Kamakura is so close to Tokyo, this beach does become a popular place for weekend vacationers and day trippers during the summer.

Yuigahama Beach and the other beach Zaimokuza cover around 1 km (0.62 mi) of coastline in total.

There are beach huts during the summer season, changing rooms and showers as well as concession stands.

It’s a fun place to visit with family, especially if you have kids or just want to unwind on your vacation.

Yuigahama Beach is at 4 Chome Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0014.

3- Travel To Enoshima Island

Enoshima Beach In Kamakura City
Visiting Enoshima Island is one of the fun things to do from Kamakura.

Enoshima Island sits in Sagami Bay and is attached to the mainland by the Enoshima-ohashi Bridge.

You can access the island by train, via the Odakyu Enoshima line to Katase-Enoshima Station.

From the station you can walk to the traditional shopping street where you will find an array of food and dessert shops as well as many traditional joints that have been around for a long time.

There are several things to do on the island, including: Enoshima Shrine, Samuel Cocking Garden, the Iawaya Caves, and explore the jagged cliffs of the southern coast of the island.

Enoshima Island is at Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-0036.

4- Walk Around Inamuragasaki Park

If you are into anime or Japanese TV dramas, then you might already know about Inamuragasaki Park.

The term seichi junrei in Japanese means sightseeing places that have been featured in films and TV.

Inamuragasaki Park has most famously been featured in Our Little Sister, and in the anime Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club and Your Lie in April.

If you visit Inamuragasaki Park on a clear day you might be lucky to spot Mount Fuji in the distance.

The park offers wonderful views across the bay and out towards Enoshima Island.

Inamuragasaki Park is a beautiful place to watch the sunset.

Just find a spot on the rocks and watch the sun go down and listen to the waves.

Inamuragasaki Park is at 1 Chome-19 Inamuragasaki, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0024.

5- Experience The Mystery Of The Historical Zeniarai Benten Shrine

Officially known as Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Jinja, Zeniarai Benten Shrine is built into the rocky hillside.

From Kamakura Station you will need to walk for around 25 to 30 minutes to reach the shrine.

The word Zeniarai means “coin washing”, which refers to the tradition where people come to the shrine to wash their money because they believe it will double it in the shrine’s spring.

This shrine is a fascinating blend of Buddhism and Shinto culture.

During the time of the Meiji government many shrines were stripped of their Buddhist connections to emancipate Shinto from Buddhism.

So, this shared shrine is a bit of a rarity in Japan.

Zeniarai Benten Shrine is at 2 Chome-25-16 Sasuke, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0017.

6- Pedal Your Way Around Kamakura

Cycling is quite a popular activity in Kamakura and it’s a great way to explore the city.

If you start at Kamakura Station, you will find a couple of bikes to rent.

There are signs on the wall advertising bike rentals.

Rent a classic push bicycle with a basket on the front or they also have battery-assisted bikes for a bit of a quicker tour of the city.

Renting a bike is a wonderful way to explore the city allowing you to see many things you wouldn’t ordinarily see.

7- Look For A Bargain On Komachi Street

Komachi Street is one of the most famous and best shopping streets in Kamakura.

It is another popular spot for seichi junrei and you can shop for pretty much anything along Komachi Street.

Purchase a kimono, or some traditional Japanese knives or ceramics or chopsticks and of course, there is an array of food you can try.

There are local snack shops as well as sit down restaurants serving local delicacies like shirasudon and whitebait on rice. This tour will help you explore like a local.

8- Explore The Kamakura Museum Of National Treasures

The Kamakura Museum is within the grounds of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and was founded in 1928 with the aim of preserving the region’s cultural treasures.

The museum’s collection has around 4,800 objects from Kamakura and the surrounding areas, including paintings, sculptures and Buddhist art pieces.

Most of the artifacts on display are from the Muromachi and Kamakura periods.

There are some works that were imported from China, but most were made with traditional local Buddhist practices.

Five of the most famous pieces at the museum are considered national treasures of Japan and a further 73 items are considered “important cultural property”.

The Kamakura Museum Of National Treasures is at 2 Chome-1-1 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0005.

9- Eat Shirasu The Local Delicacy

Japanese Breakfast
Eating “shirasu” is one of the top things to do in Kamakura.

One of Kamakura’s delicacies you must try is Shirasu.

As Kamakura sits on the south coast of Japan facing Sagami Bay, there is no better place than to try Shirasu, the region’s seafood delicacy.

Shirasu (also called whitebait in English) is a healthy fish that is translucent and around 2cm in length.

From Kagoshima in the south to Miyagi in the north, Shirasu are fished right along the Pacific Ocean.

Shirasu in Japan is cooked in four different ways: raw and served in donburi (a rice bowl dish), boiled or boiled and partially dried.

Raw and boiled Shirasu is the most popular way to eat this fish.

10- Check Out The Bamboo Grove At Hokoku-ji Temple

Sun Looking From Bamboo Forest
Checking out the bamboo grove At Hokoku-ji Temple is one of the things to do in Kamakura.

In the hills of eastern Kamakura, you will find Hokoku-ji Temple, which is a small temple of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism dating back to the Muromachi Period (1333-1573).

Hokoku-ji was originally the family temple of the Ashikaga Clan and later was used by the Uesugi Clan.

In the hall of the temple there is a historic Buddha (Shaka Nyorai), this is the temple’s main point of worship.

There is also a unique bell tower.

Though the original temple was burnt down many of the reconstructed main features feel authentic to the day.

Hokoku-ji Temple is at 2 Chome-7-4 Jomyoji, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003.

11- Sip On Tea At A Traditional Tea Ceremony

Japanese Clothes And Matcha
Sipping tea at a traditional tea ceremony is one of the top things to do in Kamakura.

Tea ceremonies are an important part of Japanese culture and are steeped in history.

Traditionally these ceremonies will serve green tea and will be held in an authentic tearoom with a tatami floor.

Aside from the process of getting tea, the tea ceremony’s main purpose is to experience the hospitality of the Japanese people.

The tea ceremonies are meant to feel a world away from the busy urban life outside the tearoom.

Experiencing a tea ceremony while visiting Japan is a must do activity.

12- Discover Meigetsu-in Temple

Discovering Meigetsu-in Temple is one of the top things to do in Kamakura.

Meigetsu-in Temple was founded in 1160 and is part of the Rinzai Zen Sect.

You might also hear this temple being referred to by its other name Ajisaidera (Hydrangea Temple).

The hydrangeas bloom all around the temple during the rainy period in June.

95% of the hydrangeas here are Princess Hydrangeas of a beautiful violet blue colour.

The temple was built by a son who lost his father during a power struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the Heian Period (794 – 1185).

As the temple became part of the larger temple complex it was abolished during 1868 when an anti-Buddhist movement swept the country.

Today only Meigetsu itself remains as an individual temple and whether you are interested in culture, history or want to see the beautiful flowers, Meigetsu-in Temple is a beautiful place to visit.

Meigetsu-in Temple is at 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0062.

13- Admire The Seasonal Foliage At Ofuna Kannon Temple

Ofuna Kannon Temple is just a five-minute walk from Ofuna Station.

The 25 metre (82 ft) high “goddess of mercy of the white robe” sculpture is the temple’s biggest draw.

The sculpture was completed in 1960, though construction first began in 1929.

You can go inside the Kannon as well as visit the small museum and shrine.

Inside the temple are impressive thousand Buddha carvings, where there are quite literally thousands of intricately carved wooden Buddha sitting in contemplation.

Another fantastic reason to visit Ofuna Kannon Temple is because of the fall foliage.

The surrounding forest really bursts into life.

Ofuna Kannon Temple is at 1 Chome-5-3 Okamoto, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0072.

14- Uncover Serenity At Jufuki-Ji Temple

Red Lantern In Front Of Temple Kamakura
Uncovering serenity at Jufuki-Ji Temple is one of the tranquil things to do in Kamakura Japan.

Another of Kamakura’s temples is Jufuki-ji, a branch of the Rinzai sect’s Kenchoji school.

Minamoto no Yoritomo’s wife ordered the construction of this temple after her husband passed away.

The founding priest at the temple was Eisai who was the person who introduced Japan to Zen Buddhism.

This temple is not often open to the public, but you can visit the front arch that leads into the temple.

The temple is just a 10-minute walk from Kamakura Station.

Jufuki-Ji Temple is at 〒248-0011 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Ōgigayatsu, 1-chōme−17−7.

15- Stroll Among Cherry Blossom At Dankazura Avenue

Cherry Tunnel In Full Bloom
Strolling among cherry blossom is one of the best things to do in Kamakura.

Dankazura is a 450-metre pedestrian pathway between shrines and is well-known in the town as an excellent cherry blossom spot.

Cherry blossoms usually bloom from late March to mid-April and the azaleas during late spring.

The construction of Dankazura was started by Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1182, who ordered that a paved road be built from the shrine to the sea.

The project was meant to pray for the safe delivery of an heir from his wife Hojo Masako who was pregnant at the time.

Dankazura Avenue is at 2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588.

16- Head To Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

Image Of Tsuruoka Hachimangu
Visiting Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is one of the interesting things to do in Kamakura.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is Kamakura’s most prestigious and important shrine.

The shrine was founded in 1063 by Minamoto Yoriyoshi (the founder of the first shogun of the Kamakura government).

Later, it was extended and moved to its current location.

The shrine itself is a dedication to Hachiman, a patron god of the Minamoto family and the samurai.

Leading from Kamakura’s waterfront you can reach the shrine via a long pathway approach which is lined with torii gates.

When visiting the temple, you can check out the museum that displays local treasures like masks, documents, and swords.

This shrine is a popular place for seasonal festivals and during the new year holiday period, the shrine receives around two million visitors!

If you visit during mid-April and mid-September you might be lucky enough to see horseback archery, otherwise known as yabusame.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is at 2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588.

Recommended tours:

17- Learn More About History At The Kamakura Museum Of History And Culture

Visit this museum if you want to learn more about the culture, history of Kamakura.

The museum displays artifacts from Kamakura from prehistoric and ancient times right up to the modern era.

If you are visiting Kamakura with children, then spending time at this museum is a good thing to do with kids as the content inside the museum is designed with both adults and children in mind.

Kamakura Museum of History and Culture is at 1 Chome-5-1 Ogigayatsu, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0011. You may also like this Private History and Heritage Tour by Rickshaw.

18- Eat Kamakura’s Sweet Treats – Hato Sabure

When visiting Kamakura, you must try hato sabure, a popular cookie from Kamakura.

These cookies resemble a butter cookie and are usually dove shaped.

Teshimaya (豊島屋) is one of the best places to try this sweet treat.

They have been passing down recipes and selling cookies since the Meiji period (1868).

The biscuit has western origins.

When western goods started to make their way to Japan, the first owner of Teshimaya, Kyujiro Kubota got hold of these biscuits and tried to make some for himself.

Teshimaya is at 2 Chome-11-19 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006.

19- Embark On A Transformative Trip At Kencho-Ji Temple

Cherry Blossoms Of Julinaki Temple And Full Bloom
Embarking on a transformative trip At Kencho-Ji Temple is one of the things to do in Kamakura prefecture.

The final temple on this list of things to do in Kamakura is Kencho-ji Temple, which is one of the most important of Kamakura’s five Zen temples.

It is also the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura having been founded by the ruling regent Hojo Tokiyori in 1253.

The first head priest of this temple was from China, not Japan.

There are plenty of interesting elements to see once you step inside the grounds of the temple.

There’s the Buddha Hall (Butsuden) where you can see a Jizo Bodhisattva (an important saint of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition) statue.

There’s also the Dharma Hall (Hatto) which is considered the largest wooden temple building in eastern Japan.

The temple’s gates alone are reason enough to visit, looking more like impressive buildings than merely an entrance.

Kencho-Ji Temple is at 8 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-8525.

20- Stroll Around Genjiyama Park

Genjiyama Park is another excellent spot to see cherry blossoms.

There are dozens of trees to photograph during the peak blossom season which will be beautifully pink.

Visit in autumn and the fall foliage is equally impressive.

You can also visit the statue of the first Shogun of Japan.

The park is surrounded by nature and it’s a peaceful place to take a stroll.

There’s just something about Japanese parks that seems to emit peace and tranquillity.

Genjiyama Park is at 4 Chome-649-1 Ogigayatsu, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0011.

For more about Japan, read:

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Harriet Comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!