What we love about Tokyo, Japan is that there are so many good places to visit that are only one hour away. If you have some extra time in your Tokyo itinerary (or if coming from Yokohama), we recommend that you add a day trip to Kamakura.
Located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura is referred to as “Kyoto of Eastern Japan.” With its rich history as a former political capital along with Nara and Kyoto and also the originator of the first military government (Kamakura Bakufu), it’s a lovely city to explore. We think Kamakura is worthy of a visit for the small-town feel with temples, shrines, and slower-pace ambiance. You can also enjoy the beaches when the weather is nicer.
In this post, we’re sharing our tips on how to spend the day in Kamakura including how to get there, the best things to do there, where to eat, and where to stay. Most people pair this trip with a visit to Enoshima which is the neighboring area, however, we didn’t have time. So, we’re focusing on one day in Kamakura with a snapshot on the top highlights.
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How to Get to Kamakura from Tokyo
We recommend that you take the train to travel to Kamakura. Depending on where you’re staying in Tokyo, the easiest starting point is to leave from the Shinjuku Station (新宿駅) to get to Kamakura Station (鎌倉駅). Allocate at least 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes for the ride. The direct route is to take the Shonan-Shinjuku Line via the JR line and it’ll take 1 hour. Otherwise, you’ll need to transfer at different stops. The one-way cost is 940 yen ($8.40 USD).
Since navigating between the stations can be confusing, we suggest that you use Google Maps on your phone to determine your schedule. Google Maps has up to date information on the train schedule and where to transfer. The train stations have free public Wifi that you can use.
If you plan to travel through Japan and have the Japan Rail (JR) pass, you can use the JR pass for this Kamakura day trip. We used the JR pass during our Japan travels and found it convenient to not have to purchase individual tickets.
You can also consider getting the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass. It’s a one day pass where you receive round trip fare from Shinjuku to Fujisawa Station via the Odakyu line and unlimited rides along the Enoden and Odakyu lines. You’ll receive discounts for shrines, temples, museums, and some shops in the area.
The pass can be purchased at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service in the Shinjuku Station west side area.
The cost is 1520 yen ($13.70 USD) for adults and 770 yen ($7) for children if departing from Shinjuku Station. More information about the pass is here.
How to Get to Kamakura from Yokohama
Kamakura is the perfect day trip from Yokohama as the train passes through Yokohama. From the Yokohama Station (横浜駅) to Kamakura Station (鎌倉駅), you can take either the Yokosuka Line or the Shonan-Shinjuku Line. It’ll only take 25 minutes between the two stations. The one-way cost is 350 yen ($3.10 USD).
How to Travel Around Kamakura
The area is perfect for walking around. Although the sites are a bit spread out, it was doable and a nice walk to travel between the sites. Wear a good pair of walking shoes if you do decide to explore the city on foot.
Another option – Kamakura Free Kankyo Tegata
As we mentioned earlier, you can use the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass to wander around Kamakura and Enoshima (if you decide to go there).
Or, you can buy the one day Kamakura Free Kankyo Tegata. It has similar features as the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass with discounts to local attractions and shops and unlimited rides through the Enoden line. The difference is that with this pass, you can also take five bus and train lines that go through Kamakura and it does not cover round trip fare from Shinjuku Station.
This pass can be purchased at the Kamakura Station Tourist Information Center, Enoden Kamakura Station and Information Center, Shonan Keikyu Bus Information, Kitakamakura Station, and Enoden Hase Station.
The cost is 550 yen ($5 USD) for adults and 280 yen ($2.50) for children. Read more information about the pass here.
Best Things to Do in Kamakura On Your Day Trip
Below are some recommendations on what to do in Kamakura. Please note that many of the temples require an admission fee. If you’re on a budget, you’ll need to decide which places to visit as the temple fees add up.
You can also consider taking guided tours of the city such as:
1. Stop by the Information Center.
Whenever we go to a new destination, we stop by the Information Center (鎌倉市観光総合案内所) at the metro station. It’s the best way to get acquainted with the city and to also get a visitor’s map. At the Kamakura Station, the information center representative gave us some tips on where to go, how to maximize our Kamakura itinerary, and which bus lines to take (although we ended up walking instead.)
Address: 1 Chome-1-1 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0012, Japan (〒248-0012 神奈川県鎌倉市小町１丁目１−1)
Opening Hours: 9:00am to 7:00pm
2. Shop and eat along Komachi-dori Street.
As you exit the Kamakura Station, the first place that you’ll encounter is Komachi-dori Street (鎌倉 小町通り). It’s only a few minutes walk from the station. You’ll pass through a red torii gate which is the starting point of Komachi-dori Street. It’s the perfect way to start your Kamakura day trip since you can shop and also eat! Depending on how you want to schedule your day, you can save this place towards the end of your trip. There are plenty of shops selling souvenirs, green tea soft serve, rice crackers (senbei), and more treats.
Address: Japan, 〒248-0006 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Komachi, 1 Chome−5−6 1 248 0006 (〒248-0006 神奈川県鎌倉市小町１丁目５−6 1 248 0006)
How to Get There: From the Kamakura Station, take the East Exit and turn left. You’ll pass the Tourist Information Center and will see the main walking street in a few minutes.
3. Visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
One of the main attractions in Kamakura is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine (鶴岡八幡宮). The shrine was founded in 1032 by Minamoto Yoriyoshi, the founder and shogun of the Kamakura government. It’s dedicated to Hachiman kami, a deity from the Minamoto family.
The shrine area is quite lovely as there are different levels to explore such as the museum, main shrine area, and ponds in the area. It’s so peaceful as you walk through the various areas. You can also buy good luck fortunes while you’re here or do some praying. It has free admission too.
Address: 2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588, Japan (〒248-8588 神奈川県鎌倉市雪ノ下２丁目１−31)
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 8:30pm
How to Get There: It’s about a 10-12 minute walk from the Komachi-dori Street.
4. Check out the Kotokuin Temple to see the Great Buddha.
Kamakura is well-known for the giant Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at the Kotokuin Temple (鎌倉大仏殿高徳院). It’s 11.31 meters (37 feet high / 44.8 feet high with the base) and weighs 121 tons (242,000 pounds).
This bronze statue of Buddha was created in 1252. Buddha has encountered several repairs with its foundation after a tidal wave hit it in 1498 and an earthquake in 1923. The last repair was from 1960-1961 to strengthen the Buddha’s neck.
While seeing the Buddha is impressive and picturesque with the mountainside in the background, it’s a very small temple with a garden. All you need is about 20 minutes here. You could go inside the Buddha’s head for a different view for a small admission fee.
Address: 4 Chome-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan (〒248-0016 神奈川県鎌倉市長谷４丁目２−28)
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 5:30pm (April to September), 8:00am to 5:00pm (October to March)
Admission Cost: 300 yen ($2.70 USD) for adults, 150 yen ($1.35) for children (ages 6-12), and an additional 20 yen ($.20) to go into Buddha’s head
How to Get There: The Hase Station (長谷駅) is the closest station to the temple and walk 5 minutes or walk 20 minutes from the Kamakura Station.
5. Stop by the Hasedera Temple.
Close to the Kotokuin Temple is the Hasedera Temple (長谷寺). It’s a Buddhist temple known for the largest wooden statues of Kannon, an 11 headed goddess of Mercy. The two Kannon statues were made out of a sacred tree in Hatsuse (now in the Nara Prefecture) and one is housed at the Hasedera Temple in Nara, while the other one is in Kamakura.
It has gorgeous views of the ocean and the mountainside from the observatory deck. Plus it has immaculate gardens, adorable Ryo-en Jizo (three little Jizo statues with smiling faces and holding their hands together), a Kannon museum, and other walking paths.
Address: 3 Chome-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan (〒248-0016 神奈川県鎌倉市長谷３丁目１１−2)
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Admission Cost: 400 yen ($3.60 USD) for adults and 200 yen ($1.80) for children
How to Get There: The Hase Station (長谷駅) is the closest station to the temple and walk 5 minutes or walk 25 minutes from the Kamakura Station.
6. Wander around the city to find other shrines and temples.
Kamakura has many other incredible shrines and temples that deserve a visit. It’s best to walk around at a leisurely pace and see what comes up on your journey. Popular temples include Kenchoji Temple as the first zen temple in Japan (Admission is 500 yen/$4.50 USD) and Hokokuji Temple where you’re surrounded by a tranquil bamboo forest (Admission is 200 yen/$1.80).
We came across the Amanawa Shinmei Shrine (甘縄神明神社) which was in a residential area. This shrine is the oldest Shinto shrine in the city and dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun goddess. It’s a small and unassuming shrine yet so inviting with the colorful lanterns along the walkway up the staircase. Since the shrine is in the mountainside, it’s very peaceful in the forest area. At the top, there is a slight view of the ocean but it’s mostly covered by the foliage.
Address: 1 Chome-12-1 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016, Japan (〒248-0016 神奈川県鎌倉市長谷１丁目１２−1)
How to Get There: It’s a five-minute walk from Yuigahama Station (由比ヶ浜駅).
7. Go on a hike.
As you know, we love our hiking adventures and Kamakura has many hiking trails to choose from! Before you start your journey, check in with the Information Center to see if the trails are open. During our December visit, all the hiking trails were closed as they were damaged from the October 2019 typhoon.
One of the hiking trails that we were interested in going on was Kuzuharaoka/Daibutsu Hiking Trail. The starting point is close to the Great Buddha and you go through the woods area and pass by smaller shrines and temples. Even though the trails were closed, we passed by the hiking entrance. We loved locals created signage to show the hiking trail location.
Other hiking trails include:
- Gionyama Trail starts at the Yagumo Jinja Shrine
- Tenan Trail which you can start nearby the Kakuonji Temple, Zuisenji Temple or the Kenchoji Temple. It’s best to refer to the visitor’s guide to see the exact locations.
8. Hang out at the beaches.
Kamakura is also known as a weekend getaway area during the summertime. From July 1 to August 31, visitors enjoy the beaches. The top three beaches are Zaimokuza Beach (材木座海岸), Yuigahama Beach (由比ガ浜海水浴場), and Koshigoe Beach (腰越海水浴場). Since we visited in December, we couldn’t access the beaches. However, we would love to return during the summertime to see these beaches for ourselves. Updated beach information can be found here.
Opening Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
How to Get There:
Zaimokuza Beach is a 20-minute walk from the Kamakura Station. From Kamakura Station, you can take the Keikyu Bus towards Izu Station via Kotsubo (it’ll take about 8 minutes), get off at Zaimokuza bus station, and walk a couple of minutes.
Yuigahama Beach is a 15 to 20-minute walk from the Kamakura Station. Otherwise, it’s a five-minute walk from the Wadazuka Station (和田塚駅), Yuigahama Station (由比ヶ浜駅), or Hase Station (長谷駅) via the Enoden line.
Koshigoe Beach is the beach furthest from the Kamakura Station. It’s a few minutes of walking from Koshigoe Station (腰越駅) via the Enoden line.
What to Eat in Kamakura
As you walk through Komachi-dori Street, you’ll see plenty of places that offer traditonal Japanese lunch sets, sushi, grilled eel, and more. There are so many good eats to try!
We only had one meal in Kamakura which was lunch and decided to try Rojiura Curry Samurai. With locations in Tokyo and Hokkaido area, this popular curry chain restaurant serves delicious curry and has vegetarian options (yay!) It was one of the most memorable meals that we’ve had in Japan.
You first choose your curry, choice of soup base (regular, mild, coconut, or mild coconut), spicy level (1-10), and rice size.
The curry style is different from other curry shops that you may have eaten. For example, the curry sauce is on the thinner side so it’s more soup-like. The curry with toppings and rice are also on separate bowls versus placing everything into one bowl.
If you’re hungry, order the Samurai Special curry which has a large chicken drumstick, fried chicken, minced pork, braised pork, and 20 types of seasonal vegetables. Vegetarians will love the 20 kinds of vegetable curry. We had winter vegetables in the curry such as kabocha, tubular roots, and potatoes. The broccoli tempura was one of the best tempura that we’ve had with the airy batter. Both of the dishes had a good amount of food so you won’t leave the restaurant starving. We can’t wait to have this curry again when we’re back in Tokyo.
Address: 2 Chome-6-26 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006, Japan (〒248-0006 神奈川県鎌倉市小町２丁目６−26)
Opening Hours: 10:30am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Cost: The dishes are between 1100-1800 yen ($10-$16.25 USD). Credit card is accepted.
How to Get There: From the Kamakura Station, head towards Komachi-dori Shopping Street and walk for 6 minutes.
Where to Stay in Kamakura
Kamakura would be a good option to stay overnight if you plan to visit the beaches and also visit Enoshima the next day. There are various accommodations to choose from. We provided some recommendations based on various budgets.
Budget Option – Kamakura Guest House
Located in a traditional Japanese house, this guest house offers tatami mats sleeping arrangements in male and female dorms or bunk beds. There is a shared kitchen area and bathroom. It’s the perfect place to meet new people and hang out with the host. The cost is $30 per person per night. Reserve a room at the Kamakura Guest House here.
Mid-Range Option – CASA Kamakura Espresso PUB&BED
This place is close to the main Kamakura attractions such as the Great Buddha. Guests can choose to have a room with bunk beds or single beds. Free breakfast is included in the price. The cost is $90-$100. Check out reviews and make a reservation at CASA Kamakura Espresso.
Splurge Option – WeBase Kamakura
It’s a popular choice as you’re only a minute away from Yuigahama Beach. The hotel has daily yoga classes and an on-site restaurant. Free breakfast is included in the price. The cost is between $130-$450 per room per night. Click here to make a reservation for WeBase.
Otherwise, you can head back to Tokyo or Yokohama for your home base.
Hope you consider visiting Kamakura as a side trip from Tokyo. It’s a great way to see beautiful temples, shrines, and also the chance to visit the beaches (weather permitting.) We would love to go back to stay for a long weekend to explore more.
To help with your Japan travel planning, check out our other Japan posts:
What would you like to see during your day in Kamakura? Let us know in the comments below.
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