Kamakura - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


Japan's first feudal capital.

About Kamakura
Kamakura is located on the coast, about one hour's journey south of Tokyo. Today, the city has some 175,000 inhabitants and is also called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan. It was formerly a very important city and is still home to many historical treasures.

The great Buddha and relics from the age of the samurai
The start of the samurai era (1185-1333) is called the Kamakura period because this is where the capital was at the time. Today, many historical treasures remain. The city can be explored on foot, but you can also rent bicycles or take the local sightseeing train which runs along the beautiful coastline. The most famous attraction is the large bronze Buddha, which was made in the year 1252 and is 13.5 meters high. It is located in the Kotokuin temple. Originally, the statue stood inside a wooden building, but that was destroyed by a tsunami in the 15th century. The statue survived, and since then it has stood unprotected, weathered by the elements but still impressive. It is considered one of Japan's most important cultural treasures.

Other attractions in Kamakura
The city has a total of 19 Shinto shrines and 65 Buddhist temples, including two of Japan's oldest Zen monasteries. Be sure to drop by the tourist information centre and get a map of walking routes to the temples and shrines hidden in the forest. In several temples and restaurants, you can enjoy traditional Buddhist food, which is completely vegan and consists of many small delicate dishes. If you are interested, you can also take a trip to Ofuna Botanical Garden, which is located outside Kamakura. The garden is full of beautiful flowers and trees, including roses, cherry blossoms and bonsai trees. Another nice excursion is to take the local train to Enoshima, a beautiful peninsula with local temples and food stalls. From the island's lighthouse you get panoramic views of the coast and, on clear days, Mt. Fuji in the background.

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