WIT agent Pam recently flew into Tokyo to explore the Land of the Rising Sun. Last Monday we followed her on one of her stops–Yokohama. Now let’s take a quick peek to another city just outside the capital–Kamakura.
Kamakura is on the coast just 50 km south of Tokyo, easily reached via train. It makes a great day trip, and is extremely popular with tourists, due to its high number of temples, shrines, and other historical monuments. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse a traditional wedding while you’re there. The most famous of sights is the Great Buddha statue, a bronze sculpture cast in 1252, located in central Kamakura and measuring about 13.35 meters.
In the Western part of the city, you can find the Zeniari Benten shrine, dedicated to the God Benzaiten. The gardens of the temple offer extraordinary views of the city, and is a popular place to view cherry blossoms in the springtime.
In North Kamakura you’ll find two of the cities’ five zen temples. Engakuji temple commemorates soldiers who fought against the Mongol invasion of 1283. Another, Kenchoji temple, is one of the oldest in the country.
The temples of East Kamakura are less well-known but no less beautiful. Sugimotodera is a quiet temple that has see an eleven-faced statue of the goddess Kannon. Built in 734, it is the oldest temple in Kamakura.
If you’re not too worn with sightseeing, Kamakura offers a number of great hiking trials and beaches for visitors. The Daibutsu trail will take you away from the tourist crowds and to some of the smaller shrines you may have missed. In the summer, many people pitch a sun umbrella on Yugihama beach and swim or watch the fireworks during festivals.
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