This small relaxed town was, for 150 years, the capital of Japan and is just 50 km and one hour from Tokyo Station. Today it draws thousands of tourists and pilgrims to its many shrines and temples.
Many suggested itineraries are available online, I have visited Kamakura about 10 times, generally with students in tow. Here is an abbreviated itinerary that is a little different.
Train to Kita Kamakura. As you leave the station stay on the left-hand side of the tracks. About one minute to Engakuji Zen Temple (allow about one hour). Be sure to visit the Bell (1301) and adjacent tea room (about 140 steps - look for sign) to the right of entrance. Next walk 250 metres south to the Jochiji Temple (on right). Small and quirky, allow 30 minutes.
Now look for the sign to the Hiking Trail to the Great Buddha (Kamakura Daibutsu) at Hase. This takes about 90-120 minutes, the trail is, at times, a little rugged and needs good hiking shoes.
After visiting the Great Buddha (30 minutes) walk to the Hase rail station and take the small, single track train to Kamakura. Now you have time to explore the shops and sites from the station along Komachi Shopping Street to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Make your way back to the station for your return to Tokyo. You have experienced a little bit of the real Japan.
If you run out of time there is a youth hostel in Hase - Tel: 81-467-243390, Fax: 81-467-243390, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information see the official tourist site:
Get the very detailed Hakone & Kamakura information sheet (PG-307) from your local Japan National Tourist Organisation.
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