Day Trip to Kamakura
Kamakura Travel Blog› entry 26 of 41 › view all entries
On Sunday, Larry and I took a day trip to Kamakura. We had read about Kamakura in our guide book. By the way â€“ this book is so awesome! Everything that anyone has told us to do (for example, friends that had been or lived in Japan) was also in the guide book, so we knew for sure to do the things recommended in the book.
Our guide book states, â€ś...visitors with limited time in Japan and confined to the Tokyo area should consider a day trip to the nearby town of Kamakura, located an hour south of Tokyo by train. One of Japanâ€™s most important historical sites, Kamakura served as Japanâ€™s first feudal capital when the ruling shogun set up military headquarters here in 1192.
We got up early, and grabbed quick stuff to eat at the local mini mart. Then we headed to the train station to try to figure out what train to catch to get there. Our book helped us a lot, though we still verified with the station assistant. He confirmed the ticket we needed, though the price was different from that stated in the book. Nonetheless, we got on the train and were on our way.
While on the train, Larry and I found seats that were very comfortable. When seated, an officer came by our wagon asking everyone for their tickets.
We got to the station without any delays. It took exactly about an hour as the guide book had indicated.
What an adorable little town with so much personality!
The train station was full of people. There were people everywhere, and a tourist information desk right near the station. So we walked right in there, asked for a map and headed towards the first recommended shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
To get to the shrine, we walked down Komachi Dori, which is Kamakuraâ€™s main shopping street. It was packed with tourists walking up and down the street, shopping and snacking at the street vendor shops. This is a pedestrian lane lined with shops of clothing, accessories, souvenirs, shoes, and everything else you can image. What a fun and energetic atmosphere it was. Larry and I stopped along the way at all the shops and the 10-minute walk to the shrine really became an hour long walk with all the stopping along the way. I even managed to find a pair of boots I bought (that Iâ€™ll have to figure out how to carry back home).
At the end of the street we found the shrine. There was a wedding going on at the temple right there too.
Before we got to the Great Buddha, Larry and I had walked so much. I was getting tired and it was getting late and I was losing motivation. Plus I was getting hungry. We kept seeing signs that counted down how many more kilometers before we got to the Great Buddha. I looked at Larry at one point and told him I was getting tired of walking (but we didnâ€™t see any cabs or anything along the way, so we just kept walking). Then I told Larry, â€śThis Buddha better be bigâ€¦ all this walking Iâ€™m doing, I better see a big Buddha!â€ť
Well, guess whatâ€¦. BIG IT WAS! It was grand. It was well worth the walk. We admired it, went inside the Buddha, took more pictures (even got to finally use my tripod) and people-watched near the Buddha.
From there we walked back to the Kamakura train station, and stopped at a restaurant near the station for dinner. We ordered noodles, and seafood dishes that came as part of a fixed menu. So we each picked an entrĂ©e, a drink and a dessert. The dessert was the best part! We each got an ice cream sundae that was delicious. We both noted that it appears desserts are important to the Japanese, as there are many pastry and dessert shops. Iced coffee is also a big thing here in Japan, it seems.
We found our way back on the right train and got to the hotel late in the evening. We were tired from all our walking in Kamakura. Seeing such an adorable town was well worth the trip. I would greatly recommend to anyone visiting Tokyo, to spend an extra day visiting this town. The shopping was fantastic, the food was yummy, the sight-seeing was extraordinary and the town itself had a very different personality than that of Tokyoâ€™s. We got to see a different side of Japan. Larry and I were both very happy we were able to visit Kamakura.