My Kamakura Day Trip

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

I decide today to make the most of the nice weather, with a day trip out of Tokyo. My destination is a little over two hours away by train. The city of Kamakura.

Outside Kamakura Station, I am harassed by some badly dressed Japanese man that speaks in English with an American accent. He is banging on about Buddhism, or something. When I tell him that I have things to do, he looks a little disappointed, before wandering off and talking to some new people, fresh off the train.

I start wandering in the direction of Kōtoku-in Temple, and I spot a strange machine covered in stickers. The 'Happy Capsule' machine costs ¥100, and each capsule contains at least three prizes. I try to resist, but as if possessed by some demon from another world, I find that I have already inserted a coin.

My Kamakura Day Trip

My capsule contains a small glass fish statue with fried eggs randomly painted on each side, a colourful ankle bracelet that has a small relic in the shape of an ice cream, and a teddy bear with the word 'Love' written on it. I also get a 'Lucky Sticker', which I am free to add to all of the other lucky stickers that litter the machine. I note the sign for 'No Garbage', take another look at my happy prizes, and stand for a moment enjoying the irony.

I wander through the city, its streets lined with souvenir shops, gift shops, and shops selling souvenirs and gifts. At this point I realise I haven't really done much, so decide to wander up to the first temple I see.

 

My Kamakura Day Trip

Shū Genji Temple offers very little happiness. It is the former home of Shijo Kingo, a famous Nichiren Buddhist skilled in medicine. After the death of Nichiren, Shijo Kingo attended the funeral, before choosing to end his own life to prove his faith to the religion.

A little further from the temple, I eventually I arrive at the place I came here to visit, Kōtoku-in Temple. This temple is the location of a giant Buddha, the same Buddha that was featured in 'The Five Nations' poem by Rudyard Kipling.

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

My Kamakura Day Trip

I pay ¥ 200 to enter the grounds of the temple, and stand for a while in awe. The Great Buddha of Kamakura was three times housed within a wooden temple. Destroyed by strong winds twice, but rebuilt on both occasions. Eventually, in 1498, it was destroyed for a third time by a tsunami, and never rebuilt. Buddha survived, and now sits outside in the blistering heat of summer, waiting for the seasons to change.

As I walk around the statue, I notice that there are two windows located in its back. There is a sign in Japanese about showing deep respect when you walk around inside the Great Buddha. A man sits half asleep at a small booth, and a sign above displays a price of ¥ 20. For such a low price, I would be a fool not to enter. I squeeze my way into a small hole in Buddha's side, and take the steps up into his massive belly.

My Kamakura Day Trip

Inside the Great Buddha of Kamakura, the acoustics are fantastic. I speak softly to myself, and find that my words are thrown around by the bronze interior, echoing off into infinity. A little bit of graffiti inside spoils the experience slightly. A complete lack of reverence by some.

I exit the Buddha and leave the temple. On the way out, I spot a sign telling me to watch out for a particular type of bird in the area that likes to steal food from tourists. I start heading back toward the train station, stopping off at a small food shop to enjoy a sweet potato croquette, all the while, keeping my eye out for the hungry birds. The birds don't materialise, which is a shame.

I decide to take a different route for variety, and eventually I spot some steps that sweep up a mountain. Intrigued, I take a little detour to see where they might lead.

My Kamakura Day Trip

I find myself standing in front of Amanawa Shinmei Shrine. The place is deserted, looks untouched for years. It is very different to the other places I have seen in Kamakura. The shrine is the oldest Shinto shrine in the city, and was founded in 710 A.D. It is dedicated to Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun and the universe.

The view from the shrine is stunning, and offers a different perspective of the area. In the distance are mountains, old houses, and multiple temples and shrines. From the top of the steps I can see the sea. As I am about to leave, I spot a small path carved into the side of the mountain above, and with nobody else around, I decide to investigate.

My Kamakura Day Trip

As I climb, the path is relatively easy to follow, before twisting around the mountain and becoming less obvious. I have to brush away cobwebs from my face as I follow the steep approach. With every step I am careful not to lose my footing as the mud gets wetter and the path becomes steeper. After about five minutes of climbing, the overgrowth is too much and I can't continue. I stop and take a look around, take in my surroundings, and realise that this was probably not a good idea.

I struggle to get back down, having to crawl a little to ease my way back down from the path that has clearly not been used for years. I use my hands on the rocks as I work my way back to safety. I am slightly disappointed that I couldn't find where it lead, perhaps to the sun goddess, or maybe merely an escape route lost over time. Nothing for me to see though, and eventually I am back at the shrine, taking the steps back toward the main road, and returning to Kamakura Station; all the while, wishing I had planned my day trip using a professional guide.

Guidebook from Planetyze about Kamakura
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Kamakura
- Tours of Kamakura from Triplelights
Tours of Kamakura from Planetyze

 

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Excellent Day with Akira. ”

Excellent
10 hours ago Traveler: Hailey -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

Akira took us on the less touristy portions of Tokyo and took some very quaint Japanese places. Would definitely recommend again.
read more

“ Kaori 1st day ”

Excellent
22 hours ago Traveler: Sulina -   Tour Guide: Kaori

First day with Kaori was super good even though we just met, it was like we were best friends. We talked anything and she brought me to a shopping haven which was not in the itinerary for the first day and i was very grateful that she brought me there the "Nintendo shop" that was recently opened last Nov. 2019.
read more

“ perfect english! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Linda -   Tour Guide: Koji

koji speaks better english than we do! he’s very knowledgeable abt tokyo area. very accomodatg t my gluten free needs and foot issues. great for my son—found lots of fun activities! wonderful guide!
read more

“ The BEST tour guide!! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Anna -   Tour Guide: KAHOKO

Kahoko speaks English fluently. Kahoko is very patient and caring with my disabled husband. She is well prepared for the tour. I highly recommend Kahoko.
read more

“ Fabulous tour with Yoko! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: CHERYL -   Tour Guide: Yoko

Yoko was an excellent tour guide. She devised a tour with our interests as well as “must sees” as a newbie to Japan. Yoko is extremely organized and knowledgeable. Our time with her was well spent. We learned a lot and would definitely recommend Yoko for an enjoyable tour of Tokyo.
read more

“ Amazing Mayumi ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Kristy -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

Thank you so much Mayumi we had the most amazing 3 days. You organised everything for us when we arrived pasmo, exchanging jr passes, booking Shinkansen nothing was too much trouble. The days you planned were a perfect mix of keeping parents and 2 children very happy and engaged. So many hi-lights I wouldn’t know where to start however recommend everyone eat the tuna wow just wow! Thank yo...
read more

“ Great day in Tokyo with a large family group ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Kristina -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

We spent a fabulous day with T-Chan! She was organised, knowledgeable, polite, expert and caring. She took us to the places we were interested in but enhanced our itinerary further with other suggestions and places. We fit a lot in the day but didn’t feel overly rushed. Our relatively young children also enjoyed the day very much which can be challenging. T-Chan even provided us with summary not...
read more

“ A wonderful ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Somsri -   Tour Guide: MICHIKO

Michiko is a heart warming person. She is very attentive , kind and generous. She took us to all the places we requested. She is fun and knowledgeable. We were happy to have her as our guide.
read more

“ Highlights of Tokyo ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Ian -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

I could tell just by listening to Tomoko's video that she was the person for us. She had a lovely personality and after only being with her for an hour or so, you felt that you had known her for a long time. She took us to some amazing places that no one on their first visit to Tokyo would ever know about. The metro system is very confusing and her knowledge of that was brilliant. I had asked for...
read more

“ Wonderful time in Tokyo with kind and attentive Akira ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Hina -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

We visited Tokyo in Nov. 2019 from US, with our 2 young children (3 and 6 year-old). We were so relieved and pleased to choose Akira to guide us through Tokyo. He was so attentive and easygoing that he felt like our family member. We really appreciated his style of guiding us and steering us subtly, without making us feel rushed. He was also extremely kind in taking our spontaneous family pictures...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started