Three of the Best Kamakura Shrines

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

If you are looking to see some of the best shrines in Japan, then you should take a day trip from Tokyo to Kamakura. The area boasts some of the most famous and prestigious shrines in all of Japan, and we have selected the best three for you to visit:

Zeniarai Benten Shrine

Three of the Best Kamakura Shrines

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Zeniarai has the meaning of “washing money”. The popular shrine has the legend that if you wash your money in the spring water there, then it will multiply. Pray at that spring inside the mysterious cave. The dreams of people who are concerned about money haven’t changed then and haven’t changed now. Zeniarai Benten Ugafuku Shrine, one of Kamakura’s famous sites, is a lucky place in which if money is washed in its spring water, then it will increase by many times.

The shrine is located 25 minutes away on foot from Kamakura Station. Since the area was long known as an isolated village, it is filled with a spiritual atmosphere within its cave surrounded by cliffs. It is in that cave that a spring exists where money is placed into a zaru (bamboo basket) and washed in its waters to bring fortune.

This legend began with the institution of a warrior regime at the end of the 12th century, when the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate, Yoritomo Minamoto experienced a spiritual dream. One night in April 1185, an old man appeared at Minamoto’s bedside and identified himself as Ugafuku-no-Kami who lived in a hidden valley to the west. The shogun was told to travel to that area and worship at the spring there upon which the world will be at peace. As commanded, Minamoto worshiped at the water and prayed for Ugafuku-no-Kami, and soon after an unstable nation settled down into peace. The area was enshrined as a shrine of good fortune. The episode of its good fortune with money began during the 13th century. Tokiyori Hojo who was the ruler at the time washed his money in the spring water and prayed for the prosperity of his entire family which started the legend.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Zeniarai Benten Shrine
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Zeniarai Benten Shrine
Tours of Zeniarai Benten Shrine

Hachiman-gu Shrine

Three of the Best Kamakura Shrines

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Tsuruoka Hachiman-gu is a shrine located next door to Tokyo in the city of Kamakura. It was established in 1063 by Yoritomo Minamoto, the first shogun of the Kamakura Era. It is the most famous shrine even among 80,000 shrines.

Even among the numerous Hachiman shrines, Tsuruoka Hachiman-gu is a famous shrine that is one of the three great shrines of its type in Japan. Entering the shrine grounds, there is a large and impressive stone stairway. The Senior Shrine at the top of the stairs has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property. Within the grounds, there are various structures but in the back of the main shrine, there is the shrine repository. There, the National Treasures of the sword and sacred clothing along with the Important Cultural Properties of the Bodhisattva mask and the bugaku dancer’s mask are able to be viewed. In addition, structures such as the Maruyama Inari Shrine and the large torii gates on the grounds are also Important Cultural Properties. Another reason for the many visitors to the shrine is the variety of festivals that take place throughout the year such as the Setsubun, Shobu and Tanabata Festivals. It is also popular among young people and families as a place to pray for safe childbirth and romantic success. At Hata-age Benzaiten Shrine, there is a stone which is said to bless children and safe childbirth, and it is visited by many people to pray for these things.

Tsuruoka Hachiman-gu is famous for the beauty of its surrounding nature with flowers blooming throughout the four seasons. The spring cherry blossoms, azaleas and peonies, the summer lotus and the fall foliage can all be enjoyed. Wakamiya-oji Street which stretches from the train station to Tsuruoka Hachiman-gu is famous for its cherry trees. It is said that the street was built in prayer for the safe childbirth by Masako Hojo, the wife of Yoritomo Minamoto. The raised pathway of Dankazura is also flanked by cherry trees. In spring, it transforms into a tunnel of cherry blossoms.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hachiman-gu Shrine
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hachiman-gu Shrine
Tours of Hachiman-gu Shrine

Sasuke-Inari Shrine

Three of the Best Kamakura Shrines

(image by flickr.com)

There’s a rising tunnel of over 100 red torii gates. Sasuke-Inari Shrine is a branch shrine of the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto. If you are lucky, you may even encounter a squirrel.

After destroying his archenemy, the Heike clan, the first shogun of the Kamakura Era, Yoritomo Minamoto established Sasuke-Inari Shrine in gratitude. Following Yoritomo’s success, the shrine was said to have been beneficial for prosperous business, good luck in work and academic achievement. The Inari god became known in olden times to bring results for the harvest.

Climbing the stone steps of the brilliant red torii gates, there are statues of foxes everywhere on the shrine grounds. At the conferment place, you can purchase a statue of a fox which you place anywhere on the grounds. To the left of the haiden front shrine is an old collection consisting of a countless number of inari foxes of varying sizes that are crowded together as if they are celebrating a festival which makes for a wondrous sight. To the right is a cave known as the Reikosen where a fountain is located. Taking a look into the cave, cool air hits the visitor’s face and there is a divine feeling. Squirrels can often be seen within the shrine grounds, and they are so accustomed to people that they can come close enough to pet. The path to the haiden and honden main shrine is on a slope, and the mountain road going past the honden becomes very steep. That road is the Daibutsu hiking course, and since it continues on to Zeniarai-Benten Shrine, it’s good to see the two shrines together. The path up is somewhat steep so for those with the physical strength, it’s best to start from Sasuke-Inari while for others, it’s best to start going down from Zeniarai-Benten.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Sasuke-Inari Shrine
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Sasuke-Inari Shrine
Tours of Sasuke-Inari Shrine

Did you like my article?

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

“ City Tour in Tokyo. ”

Very Good
7 hours ago Traveler: Julie -   Tour Guide: Eddy

We booked a city tour with Eddy in Tokyo a few months ago. Eddy was very responsive when we contacted him. He was punctual, flexible, and helpful. He gave us background information on Japanese culture, history, and language. He was very patient waiting for us to shop for souvenirs and was also very accommodating when we asked to deviate a little bit from our general tour plan. He answered all o...
read more

“ Fabulous!!! ”

Excellent
22 hours ago Traveler: Christine -   Tour Guide: SHUICHI

Highly recommended tour and tour guide. We loved every minute of our tour with Shuichi. His tour was informative and interesting. He went above and beyond to ensure we had a fantastic day and was so great with the kids. Nothing was too much trouble and and we had a fabulous day. The kids keep asking where Shu is today... They were hoping he was going to be with us every day of our holiday in ...
read more

“ Wonderful full-day tour of Tokyo for our family ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Des -   Tour Guide: YUKIKO

Our full-day tour of Tokyo with Yukiko was amazing. She is punctual, charming, knowledgeable, incredibly well-organised and her English is excellent. She had informative folders for each location and it was a pleasure to hear her talk about each landmark or area we were visiting. I had prompt and frequent contact with Yukiko immediately after inquiring about her services, and she was very flexibl...
read more

“ Excellent day! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Jennifer -   Tour Guide: Yoshi

We had a great time with Yoshi. We subwayed and walked all over (30k steps) Tokyo. We saw so many things that we never would’ve even known to see or, if we had known, wouldn’t have known how to get to efficiently. We also learned a lot about the history of Tokyo, ate excellent sushi, and left with a plan that worked perfectly for the next day. Thank you, Yoshi!
read more

“ An amazing day! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Carmen -   Tour Guide: Chiaki

We had a blast and learned a lot about Tokyo and the japanese culture in such a lovely way. We enjoyed the time with Chiaki, every single minute! She was very helpful with recommendations on museums and interesting spots. Arigato gosaimasu, Chiaki-san!
read more

“ Walking Tour ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Paul -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

We had a large group of people but Tomoko very skillfully managed to keep us all togther as we made our way around to the various sites using the train system. Tomoko was a mountain of knowledge and we all enjoyed our day with Tomoko very much.
read more

“ Amazing experience! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Marge -   Tour Guide: Eiko

High reviews for our day with Eiko! From meeting us in our hotel lobby to sending us on our way at the end, Eiko provided us with a tailored experience. She’s knowledgeable, flexible and made our first experience with Tokyo pleasurable and fun. Thank you Eiki!!
read more

“ Kyoto be Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Andrew -   Tour Guide: Yuki

An awesome day in Kyoto followed by some Tokyo highlights .. Yuki was an awesome guide - very knowledgeable, knew the best restaurants, public transport system, Japanese history and culture .. we enjoyed an awesome 2 days with him :) Thanks !
read more

“ Amazing way to learn the city and history ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Audrey -   Tour Guide: Hiroki

We couldn't have asked for a better first day in Tokyo! Hiroki-san was gracious, funny, and was able to help us navigate the most confusing subway system we've ever seen! As first timers to Japan, it was very overwhelming trying to find what to do and how to travel there. By doing this tour, we not only traversed the city, but learned so many different things in the process! Hiroki-san was even a...
read more

“ Great day and great guide ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Colin -   Tour Guide: Dai

Dai was a great guide. Lost of communication before our visit. On the day Dai was there 20 mins before time and before we started ensured we were all still happy with our plans. We got though all we wanted to and Dai guided us expertly through the subway. Dai had a great knowledge of places/ areas of Tokyo and his English was great. He showed us things we would have never known about. Tor...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

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