Top 25 Things to Do in Kamakura, Japan

Top 25 things to do in Kamakura (Japan)

Kamakura is one of the best excursions from Tokyo.

This city full of history and temples is located just 50km south of the Japanese capital. You will not lack things to do in Kamakura: from being impressed by its incredible Buddha to appreciating Fuji from its beautiful beaches.

In this post we tell you 25 things to do in Kamakura .

We have marked all the attractions to see in Kamakura on this map so you can plan your visit.

1. Visit the Kōtoku-in Temple and the Great Buddha of Kamakura

Kamakura’s most photographed monument is the great bronze Amida Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple.

It is estimated that it was built around 1250 inside a wooden temple that was destroyed by various typhoons in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Since then, the enormous statue of more than 13 meters high has been left in the open air.

With its size it is the second largest monumental Buddha in the country, after the one in the Todai-ji temple in Nara.

Access to the venue costs ¥200 (€1.50).

The interior is hollow, so you can access the entrails of the Buddha for just 20¥ (€0.15) additional.

things to do in Kamakura
The Great Buddha, the most popular visit to do in Kamakura

2. Do one of the Hiking Routes

All the attractions of Kamakura can be visited on foot, since there are many paths that connect the various temples and shrines, the must-sees to do in Kamakura.

All of them are perfectly indicated and a high level of fitness is not required to do them.

Of course, they are still paths through the mountains, so we recommend you wear suitable footwear and do them only in good weather.

The most popular path is the one that connects the Kamakura Buddha with the Jochiji temple.

Halfway through, you will pass Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine and Genjiyama Park.

The entire tour takes just over an hour.

things to do in Kamakura

3. Hase-Dera Temple, One of the Best Things to Do in Kamakura

In addition to spectacular gardens at all times of the year, the Hase-Dera temple has several sculptures of interest.

The temple is on top of a hill from where you have very good views of the coastal area of ​​Kamakura.

Next to the stairs to reach the temple there are hundreds of small stone sculptures that represent offerings to the souls of children who have passed away.

Once inside the temple you will see a large wooden statue of Kannon, the goddess of compassion.

Visiting this temple was one of our favorite things to do in Kamakura.

The entrance to the gardens and the temple costs ¥300 (€2.30).

If you want to enter the Kannon museum, where there are the treasures of the temple, more Buddhist statuses and some paintings, you have to pay 300¥ more (€2.30).

things to do in Kamakura
The hundreds of statues in memory of deceased children

4. Visit the Gokuraku-ji Temple, one of the Most Beautiful to See in Kamakura

After all the people you will find in the Hase-Dera temple, you will surely want to visit a quieter place.

Gokuraku-ji Temple, which means “paradise”, is one of the most serene corners of Kamakura.

Surrounded by extensive, well-kept gardens, it is a small, charming 13th-century temple.

It is right next to Gokurakuji Station on the Enoden Line and admission is free.

We fell in love with its environment.

things to do in Kamakura

5. Walk Under the Red Torii at Sasuke Inari Shrine

It is not one of the most visited shrines in Kamakura, but it is worth deviating from the typical circuit.

It has a very nice atmosphere.

To start, you will have to go through dozens of sacred gates ( toriis ) that go up until you reach the sanctuary.

A peculiarity of the place is that there are hundreds of statues of foxes, an animal considered sacred by Shinto.

It is said that young girls looking for a partner often go to this shrine to get married, a pressure that is very present in Japanese society.

The entrance to the sanctuary is free.

things to do in Kamakura

6. Launder Money in Search of Luck in the Zeniarai Benzaiten sanctuary

This curious sanctuary cannot be seen from the outside, since it is accessed through a tunnel.

The shrine was founded in the 12th century and is one of the few in all of Japan where you can see the fusion of Buddhism and Shinto, which was very common before the Meiji Restoration.

Legend says that all the money that is washed inside a small cave in the sanctuary will be multiplied by two.

The truth is that all the people there took money laundering very seriously.

It is one of the most popular things to do in Kamakura, both for locals and tourists.

Admission is free, but if you want to use a bowl to wash a few yen you will have to pay a token amount of ¥100.

things to do in Kamakura
If you want to double the yen, entering this cave is something you have to do in Kamakura

7. Ring the Bell of the Engaku-ji temple

This is one of the most important Zen temples in Japan.

It was built in 1282, after the second invasion attempt by the Mongols.

The purpose of the temple was to pay homage to the fallen fighters on both sides.

It has a nice teahouse with a big bell next to it that you can ring to make a wish.

Admission costs ¥300 (€2.30).

things to do in Kamakura

8. Discover the Sad History of Tōkei-ji temple

A few meters from the previous temple is this other one, which is part of the same complex.

It was for centuries a refuge for women who suffered abuse from their husbands or simply wanted to get a divorce but couldn’t.

After spending three years in the temple, the divorce became effective.

Admission costs ¥200 (€1.50).

things to do in Kamakura

9. Trinity of Buddhism at Jōchi-ji Temple

It is another of the five main zen temples to visit in Kamakura and is also very close to the last two.

It was founded in the 13th century by the Hojo family, who ruled then, as a dedication to a son who had just died.

Currently, the main attraction of the temple is the Buddhist trinity of Amida, Shaka and Miroku Buddhas.

But beyond the spiritual, it is surrounded by a garden with some caves.

Admission costs ¥200 (€1.50).

things to do in Kamakura

10. Kencho-ji temple, an Essential Thing to Do in Kamakura

Visiting the Kencho-ji temple is an essential thing to do in Kamakura.

It is the oldest Zen temple in the city, founded in 1253. Its main door is really spectacular, but the views from its viewpoint are even more so.

They say that on clear days you can see Fuji.

We weren’t that lucky, but the scenery was still beautiful.

In addition, the main pavilion has a very cool large zen garden.

Admission costs ¥300 (€2.30).

things to do in Kamakura

11. Count Hydrangeas at Meigetsu-in temple

Founded in 1160, this temple is famous for the number of hydrangeas that decorate it.

In fact, it has the nickname of “temple of the hydrangeas “.

During the flowering season, in June, there are usually quite a few people, but it is worth visiting because the bluish colors of the flowers are beautiful.

It also has an iris garden, which is only open in June and during the fall.

The entrance costs ¥300 ( €2.30), except in June when it goes up to ¥500 (€3.80).

You also have to pay an additional ¥500 to visit his garden.

things to do in Kamakura

12. Danzakura Pedestrian Path

It is the largest pedestrian street in the city that connects the main sanctuary with the beaches.

Along the path, three sacred arches are lined up that serve as entrances to the Shinto shrines.

In addition, the path is surrounded by beautiful cherry trees.

things to do in Kamakura
An essential thing to do in Kamakura is to go under the torii on the main street

13. Stroll Through the Fairytale Gardens of the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū

This is a must-see in Kamakura, as it is the most important shrine in the city.

It was founded in 1063, but it has been in its current location a century later.

The beautiful construction that is reached by stairs is dedicated to Hachiman, the god of the samurai.

Access is free.


14. Kamakura Museum of National Treasures

Inside the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the National Treasure Museum.

There you will be able to see more than 4,000 objects from the Kamakura region : paintings, sculptures, swords, masks, documents… Admission costs ¥200 (€1.50).

things to do in Kamakura

15. Photograph the Gempei Pond, a beautiful place to see in Kamakura

To get to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine you will have to cross two ponds.

The Gempei is the larger of the two and has several traditional bridges spanning it.

We found it to be a beautiful place and, despite the fact that there were quite a few people, very peaceful.

We recommend you take a walk around it.

things to do in Kamakura

16. Visit the Grave of Minamoto Yoritomo

Another thing to do in the grounds of the main sanctuary of the city.

Now you understand why it is the most important, right? If you are a lover of Japanese history, you can visit the tomb of the founder of the Kamakura shogunate.

The tomb itself is somewhat symbolic in the form of a five-story stone pagoda.

17. Buy a Souvenir on Komachi Street

Before heading back to the station, take a walk down Kamakura’s main shopping street.

It has nothing special other than dozens of shops and restaurants, but it is a very busy place of passage that contrasts with the tranquility of the temples.

things to do in Kamakura

18. Discover the Sugimoto-dera Temple

This small temple was founded in 734, making it one of the oldest.

It has a lot of guardian statues and three statues of the goddess Kannon.

There is a flight of photogenic moss-covered stairs to get to the top, though they are locked for safety.

Admission costs ¥200 (€1.50).

things to do in Kamakura

19. Get Lost among the Bamboos of Hōkoku-ji Temple

This was the family temple of the Ashikaga clan and the Uesugi when they shared power in Kamakura.

The small building was devastated by an earthquake and a reconstruction can now be seen.

But the most peculiar thing about the space is its bamboo garden.

It is quite small, but we found it very nice and cosy.

Admission costs ¥200 (€1.50).

It also has a teahouse behind the bamboo forest, where for ¥500 you can have delicious tea with sweets.

A visit to do in Kamakura that is well worth it.

things to do in Kamakura
The bamboo forest, a curious visit to do in Kamakura | Edomura no Tokuzo

20. Visit the Kamakura-gu Shrine

This shrine was built more recently, in 1869, during the Meiji period.

It was made in honor of Prince Morinaga, who fought against the Kamakura shogunate but was imprisoned and executed.

Now, you can see a small dungeon inside a cave where it represents that he was confined.

Admission is free.

things to do in Kamakura

21. Get on a Rickshaw and Get to Know the City on Wheels

very popular form of transportation in tourist places in Japan is the rickshaw.

It is a cart with two large wheels pushed by one person.

It is very common to see girls dressed in traditional attire on a rickshaw.

They are not cheap, but you can try the experience to go around Kamakura.

things to do in Kamakura

22. Relax on the City’s Beaches

If you visit Kamakura in summer you can enjoy a good refreshing swim on its beaches.

To get to the beaches, it is best to get off at Hase station if you are traveling with the Enoden train.

Otherwise, it’s about a half-hour walk from the city center.

things to do in Kamakura

23. See Fuji from Zaimokuza beach, one of the most interesting things to do in Kamakura

One of our failed things to do in Kamakura was to see the proper Fuji from Zaimokuza beach.

On clear days it is a great viewpoint to see the most characteristic mountain in the country from afar.

Unfortunately, when we went it was quite blurred by the fog.

things to do in Kamakura
If it’s a good day, don’t think about it and go to the beach

24. Be amazed by the Enoden Train Route

Although it is not the fastest way to get to Kamakura, the Enoden train is quite an attraction in itself.

Take a scenic drive along the coast.

But he also gets inside the town and goes on to play in the houses.

We don’t know if the neighbors should be very happy, but the route is very curious and beautiful.

things to do in Kamakura

25. Complete the Excursion by Visiting Enoshima

Just with the Enoden you can get to Enoshima very easily.

It is a very popular island among tourists visiting Kamakura.

There is a temple complex worth visiting, a botanical garden with a gazebo, caves filled with Buddhist statues, and even a spa.

things to do in Kamakura

Steve Batides

I am passionate about travel, writing and music. I like writing books, landing in an unknown country, brassens, beer, cats, jazz and shells. I put a point of honor to seek for you the best information to sublimate your travels. A question about a destination, a visit, a good plan? I'll answer in the comments.

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