Day Trip to Kamakura

Kamakura Travel Blog

 › entry 26 of 41 › view all entries
Lightpost - I want one of these outside my house

On Sunday, Larry and I took a day trip to Kamakura. We had read about Kamakura in our guide book. By the way – 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, “...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 Japan’s most important historical sites, Kamakura served as Japan’s first feudal capital when the ruling shogun set up military headquarters here in 1192.

Larry in front of Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine
” The guide book walked us through a day’s itinerary in the town of Kamakura, which was perfect, though Larry and I veered off a bit to try to get lost in the town and discover new things.

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.

At the Hachimangu shrine washing our hands before entering
When we showed him our tickets, he tried to ask us for additional tickets. He said we needed two tickets. Larry looked over at me, and I tried to explain to the officer the station assistant had told us all we needed was what we were showing him. Obviously, we did not understand each other, as I kept repeating myself, and he kept repeating himself. I understood he was asking us for a green ticket. Larry later told me the funniest part of his day was the fact that I just kept repeating the same thing to him like he was going to understand it the fifth time I said it in English. Anyway, I asked him if we could buy whatever we needed at that point, and he motioned for us to follow him. I thought we were going to get kicked off the train. Larry caught on that he was moving us to “economy” or unreserved seats. Ahhhh! Finally, I understood. We were seated in wagons where you had to purchase a reserved seat.
Musicians playing at the wedding
However, the first two wagons were like regular trains, where you sit on a first-come, first-serve basis, otherwise you stand up. We had purchased tickets for those wagons. No big deal. We moved to our new wagon and continued on our way.

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.

The wedding site

To get to the shrine, we walked down Komachi Dori, which is Kamakura’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 I’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.

A Japanese wedding
The bride was beautiful! We took lots of pictures, looked around at the souvenirs they were selling and admired the shrine. From there we veered off the guide book and walked around for an additional two hours or so, just visiting all the other temples and shrines along the way. We visited Yoritomo’s Grave (he was Japan’s first shogun), and Kamakuragu and Egaratenjinsha temples and shrines. We got lost along the way, but it was neat to see all the residences along the way. Some of the houses were so pretty. Larry and I kept picking out our favorites and pointing out the houses we would live in if we lived in this town (not that I want to move here or anything, but it was fun to imagine). We walked down Wakamiya Oji passing the many torii gates until we arrived hours later at Hase Kannon Temple, a Buddhist temple. From there we walked to Daibutsu to see the Great Buddha, which is Kamakura’s top attraction.
The Great Buddha is 36 feet high and is said to weigh 93 tons. It is said to have been cast in 1252.

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 didn’t see any cabs or anything along the way, so we just kept walking). Then I told Larry, “This Buddha better be big… all this walking I’m doing, I better see a big Buddha!”

Well, guess what…. 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.

A local, carrying what we think are fortunes
It was so big! I was so happy to see it. It felt like a prize after all that walking.

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 entrée, 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 Tokyo’s. We got to see a different side of Japan. Larry and I were both very happy we were able to visit Kamakura.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Lightpost - I want one of these ou…
Lightpost - I want one of these o…
Larry in front of Tsurugaoka Hachi…
Larry in front of Tsurugaoka Hach…
At the Hachimangu shrine washing o…
At the Hachimangu shrine washing …
Musicians playing at the wedding
Musicians playing at the wedding
The wedding site
The wedding site
A Japanese wedding
A Japanese wedding
A local, carrying what we think ar…
A local, carrying what we think a…
Me with the Cherry Blossoms
Me with the Cherry Blossoms
Another light post
Another light post
The mailbox
The mailbox
A pretty house
A pretty house
A house we liked
A house we liked
Larry walking through Kamakura
Larry walking through Kamakura
Another house we liked
Another house we liked
Another lightpost
Another lightpost
At one of the shrines
At one of the shrines
Standing in front of the torii
Standing in front of the torii
Another torii - these were everywh…
Another torii - these were everyw…
With the Great Buddha
With the Great Buddha
Kamakura Daibutsu - this is a bron…
Kamakura Daibutsu - this is a bro…
Larry with the Buddha
Larry with the Buddha
Larry and his signature pose
Larry and his signature pose
I like this side profile of the Bu…
I like this side profile of the B…
Kamakura
photo by: poison_dee