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A day in Kamakura

  • Kamakura, Kanto, Japan

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 20 April, 2024

From 1185 to 1333, the small seaside city of Kamakura, an hour south of Tokyo, was the political centre of Japan. Nowadays, it’s a popular sightseeing area, dotted with historic temples and shrines that has had it likened to a mini-Kyoto.

Most famously that includes Kotoku-in Temple, home to an iconic 11.4-metre bronze statue of Buddha that’s been wooing onlookers since 1252.

Getting to Kotoku-in Temple for the giant Buddha means taking the charmingly retro Enoden Line a few short stops from Kamakura to Hase – worth it for the rickety ride alone.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Bamboo Grove at Hokoku-ji Temple

  • Kamakura, Kanto, Japan

Bamboo Grove at Hokoku-ji Temple

Experience

Not as famous or big as the bamboo grove in Kyoto, the towering bamboo at Hokoku-ji Temple is nevertheless just as attractive, and you can enjoy it without Kyoto’s crowds.

Adult price: 3

Good for age: 4+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

Kotoku-in Temple

  • Kamakura, Kanto, Japan

The Kamakura Daibutsu( Great Buddha of Kamakura ) located on the grounds of the Kotoku-in Temple. The great Buddha of Kamakura is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the ground

Experience

Established in the 13th century, this temple is home to Kamakura’s most famous sight, a giant 13th-century statue of Buddha. The temple attracts visitors from around the world to admire the monumental bronze statue, towering at 13.35 meters tall and weighing around 121 tons.

Adult price: 2

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

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Reitaisai Festival

  • Kamakura, Kanto, Japan

Men dressed as samurai taking part in the procession of 1000 people at the Grand Spring Festival ('Shunki Reitaisai') at Toshogu shrine in Nikko, Japan.

Experience

Held at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine from September 14 to 16 every year, the standout events of this festival are the displays of horseback archery by riders in full samurai attire.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 3 days

When: 14th-16th Sept

Freq: annually

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

  • Kamakura, Kanto, Japan

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

Experience

Kamakura’s biggest and most revered shrine, established 1,000 years ago. Enter via several giant torii, gateways to an elaborately decorated dancing stage, at the foot of steps leading to the colourful main hall.

Adult price: 3

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2-3 hours

When: March, May and Sept

Freq: annually

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: annually
When: March, May and Sept
Duration: 2-3 hours

Getting there & doing it

Kamakura is relatively easy to visit independently. From Tokyo Station the JR Yokusuka Line goes direct to Kamakura Station in just under an hour.

The temples are all spread out, mostly north of the station, while the beach is south of the station. The Enoden tram runs along the coast to Hase Station, where the giant buddha is, but otherwise you can just walk or use the bus network to visit almost all of the sites.

Organised tours run daily from Tokyo. Led by expert guides, they’ll take you to the main sights and organise all logistics.

When to do it

Spring and autumn, like elsewhere in and around Tokyo, are the best seasons for comfortably exploring Kamakura.

Or time a visit for the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine’s Reitaisai Festival in mid-September, to see history in action, with events including demonstrations of horseback archery by riders in samurai armour.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Kamakura 8 hr Private Walking Tour with Licensed Guide from Tokyo

  • Tokyo

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, join one of our guides on an 8 hour day trip to Kamakura! On this trip, take a breath of fresh sea air and see Kamakura’s temples and shrines’ beautiful gardens. View the ocean from the highest point of Hasedera temple and write your wish on an oyster shell. The over 11 meters tall Great Buddha is an icon of the area residing in Kotokuin Temple. Stop by the old Komachi shopping street and try some Hatosabure, dove shaped biscuits. Each trip is customizable and private. Once you place a reservation, your personal guide will be in touch with you to tailor your trip to you. You can view 3 to 4 sights on this trip. If you wish to extend your time to see more, please contact us directly for extensions (5,000 yen per hour with guide). Transportation time is included in the 8 hours. We hope to guide you soon!

Price ¥28,000

Min age 0

Rating 4.80 / 5 [67 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Kamakura 6hr Private Walking Tour with Government-Licensed Guide

  • Yokohama

Just south of Tokyo, lays the beautiful and historical Kamakura. Kamakura’s temples and shrines are home to gardens that are beautiful in any season. You can view the ocean from the highest point of Hasedera temple and write your wish on an oyster shell. The over 11 meters tall Great Buddha is an icon of the area residing in Kotokuin Temple. Stop by the old Komachi shopping street and try some Hatosabure, dove shaped biscuits. Each tour is customizable and private. Once you place a reservation, your personal guide will be in touch with you to tailor your trip to you. You can view 3 to 4 sights on this trip. If you wish to extend your time to see more, please contact us directly for extensions (5,000 yen per hour with guide). Transportation time is included in the 6 hours. We hope to guide you soon! This is a walking/public transport tour.

Price ¥21,000

Min age 0

Rating 5 / 5 [11 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Kamakura Day Trip from Tokyo with a Local: Private & Personalized

  • Tokyo

Discover the coastal town of Kamakura, which lies just an hour away from busy Tokyo, with one of our friendly hosts. Take in the surrounding temples and shrines tucked away in the leafy green forest and see the famous Great Buddha statue. There are also scenic hiking trails, sunrise meditation sessions, surf shacks to enjoy a beer at and beaches on which to laze the day away. Whatever your speed, your host will make it happen. After booking, you'll receive a short questionnaire about your personality and interests. Based on your responses, you'll be assigned a like-minded host who will plan an itinerary based on your interests and requests. Ready for a bespoke adventure to Kamakura?

Price £300

Min age 0

Rating 5 / 5 [7 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
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