Japan · Travel

How To Enjoy Kamakura in 4 Hours

If you’re up for some temple and historical wandering without the need to fly, make your way to Kamakura, the ancient city of bushi or samurai (warriors). This is one of the cities in Japan where you can get that old Japan feels. Based on experience, it’s pretty fascinating. Don’t have all the time in the world but still itching to take some time off your office life? At my suggestion, here’s how you can make the most of your 4 hours (roughly) in the city of shrines.

I suggest you get to the city around 11 am by train. It’s about an hour or so from Tokyo. Now, let’s get right to it!

  1. Visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
tsurugaoka hachimangu shrine kamakura
Crowd taking the steps up to the main ground of the shrine

Known as the main shrine and the heart of Kamakura, most people come here to pray and make their wishes for the new year. This photo was taken on the 6th of January this year and as you can see, it was still this crowded. It caught me off guard but kudos to the caretakers of the shrine for handling the situation very well. My friend and I came out alive! I don’t know about you but I always find it enthralling to see Japanese people do their thing in places like this despite me being a Christian. I love to observe people and learning their culture. Thus being in shrines like this makes me happy. Do you feel me?

TIP 1:
If you refuse to be among the crowd, don’t go there on public holidays and weekends.
How To Get There
Just a 10-minute walk from Kamakura Station East Exit.
Open from 6am to 8:30pm
Free Admission

2. Lunch at Dankozura Kosuzu

kamakura soba

the regular handmade soba of Dankozura Kosuzu

Originally popular for their warabi mochi but the soba I had was good as well. Despite its busy location, this restaurant has the ambiance of a traditional calm food haven. Along with this dish was a tasty and soothing tea poured from a dainty teapot.

warabi mochi kamakura
the famous warabi mochi 

My friend didn’t disappoint me when she told me that their warabi mochi is a must-try. I must approve! It was probably the tastiest and softest one that I’ve ever had! Don’t miss it! And the top of the cherry is that the prices are affordable.

How To Get There
A 7-minute walk from Kamakura Station (refer to Google Maps)

3. See Daibutsu

Great Buddha of Kamakura

The one and only statue of Buddha in Kamakura that’s appointed as a national treasure. It’s located at Kotokuin temple surrounded with the beauty and serenity of nature.

also known for its handsome face

Unlike before when the statue was housed in a great hall which was eventually wrecked by typhoons and a giant tsunami, people can now take a good look of the enormous statue in the open air. After learning about its history, I couldn’t stop myself from being more awed.

entrance to the interior of the statue

For 20 yen, you can see the interior of the statue and be impressed with its intricate casting technology implemented in its making. Be warned that navigating the area needs a lot of patience and mindfulness as its quite cramped.

How To Get There
– Transfer to Hase Station (a 10-minute from here) from Kamakura Station
– From JR Kamakura Station East Exit: At Terminal No.1 or 6 take a bus bound for or via “Daibutsu-mae”, get off at “Daibutsu-mae”, and A 1-minute walk
– A 30-minute walk from JR Kamakura Station West Exit
Admission Fee:
– Adult (older than middle school students) – ¥200
– Elementary school students – ¥150
* Group discount (over 30 people):
– Adult – ¥170 
– Middle/High school students – ¥150 
– Elementary school students – ¥100
* Free for people with disabilities and elderly citizens (identification cards required)
Opening Hours:
April – September (8:00 – 17:30)
October – March (8:00 – 17:00)
Admission to the interior of the Daibutsu (8:00 – 16:30)

4. Enjoy the panoramic view of Kamakura from Hasedera Temple

After meeting the Great Buddha, walk your way to this beautifully located temple.

by the entrance

The temple is most famed for its eleven-faced Buddha called Kannon. You should see it for yourself. Another thing to love about this is its gardens that gives you that comfort upon looking at them.

by winter

I’d love to visit again for the flowers in spring! Wouldn’t it be more colorful?

What a sight to behold!

You don’t want to miss this coastal view of the city from the lookout platform. This was I think my favorite part of this quick visit. My friend and I spent the rest of our time here taking pleasure in the moment and talking about anything under the sun.

How To Get There
A 5-minute walk from Enoshima Railways – Hase Station
Admission Fee:
– Adult (middle school students and up) – 300 yen
– Elementary School students – 100 yen
* Group discount (over 30 people):
– Adult (middle school students and up) – 250 yen
– Elementary school students – 50 yen
* Free for people with disabilities and elderly citizens (identification cards required)
Opening Hours:
March – September: 8:00 – 17:00 (Area closes at 17:30)
October – February: 8:00 – 16:30 (Area closes at 17:00)

5. Don’t forget the souvenirs!

pumpkin kintsuba and sweet potato kintsuba

Kintsuba is a traditional confection that was first made in Kyoto and conventionally made by wrapping red bean paste. However, a shop that we chanced upon makes kintsuba with pumpkin, sweet potato, and the like. As you walk back to Hase Station from Hasedera Temple, you’ll come across this shop named Kamakura Itoko. I highly recommend these two flavors. The thought of them is making my mouth water now.

hato sable

The famous shortbread of the city is this thing called hato sable. This palm-sized butter cookie may be simple to the sight but I’m telling you its taste will blow you away. Another good reason to try this is that it contains no artificial flavors or preservatives. You can buy them from the famous store, Toshimaya which is recognizable by their official paper bag. It’s yellow with an image of a pigeon in the middle.

In just 4 hours or less, you’ll be able to experience the city of history and culture and you might want to go back for more.

Show me some love! A cup of coffee will definitely brighten up someone’s day! Thanks a lot in advance! All the best!

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6 thoughts on “How To Enjoy Kamakura in 4 Hours

  1. Good article. And good advice to also visit Hasedera while you’re there. A lot of visitors miss it. And there are some unique and interesting cultural aspects to the temple, particularly associated with women. As you discovered, it’s also a nice place to just relax and take a break. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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