Kamakura is a small town just 1 hour by train south west of Tokyo. Kamakura was the ancient capital of Japan from 1185 – 1333. During this time the first Shogun Minamato no Yoritomo ruled all of Japan from Kamakura. At Kamakura you will find loads of beautiful Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples and monuments. There are literally hundreds of shrines and temples around the Kamakura area. Here we show you the most famous and most popular to visit.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Kamakura is the Great Buddha Statue at the Kotoku-in Buddhist Temple. The statue is 13.35 meters tall and was first build in 1252. The state has been rebuilt another of times as was first built from wood which was destroyed by fire. The current statue is built from bronze.
Just down from the Great Buddha Statue is the Hasedera Great Kannon Temple which is a Buddhist Temple built in . Inside the temple is the largest wooden statue in Japan depicting the Kannon, carved with 11 heads showing the various stages of enlightment.
The grounds of the Hasadera Great Kannon Temple are impressive Japanese gardens with ponds and steps that take you to various shrines. At the bottom section of the temple grounds are some caves which the Buddhist monks used for meditation. Inside the caves are various shrines. Both the Great Buddha statue and the Hasadera Great Kannon Temple are located in Hase which is 3 train stations from Kamakura train station.
From the Kamakura train station there are so many shrines and temples walking distance. Around 15 minutes walk from Kamakura station is on of the most impressive Shinto shrines in all of Japan. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is Kamakura’s most important Shinto Shrine.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine was founded in 1063 and then was moved and expanded at it’s currently location in 1180. The shrine is dedicated to Minamoto who was the first shogun of Kamakura and also dedicated to the samurai who protected the Shogun. The Shrine is surrounded by large Japanese gardens and 2 large ponds with beautiful Japanese bridges. The are various smaller temples spotted around the grounds.
Closer towards the Kamakura Train station are a number of temples and shrines close to each other. Myohonji Temple was built as a meditation hall.It is located on the side of a hill surrounded by lush gardens. From April through to August many flowers are in bloom include the cherry blossom, Chinese trumpet creeper and fringed iris. The gardens and temple and quiet and peaceful.
Just a few hundred meters from Myohonji Temple is Yagumojinja Shrine which is a small Shinto Shrine built on the side of the hill.
Getting to Kamakura is easy. From the centre of Tokyo get a train from Platform 1 of Shinjuku Train Station. Hop on a train heading the Zushi and the train ride takes around 1 hour. There are plenty of temples and shrines to see easy walking distance from the train station. To see the Great Buddha Statue and the Hasedera Great Kannon temple you change trains at Kamakura Station to a small suburban train and get off at the 3rd stop, Hase Train Station.
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