Kamakura is a coastal city about an hour away from Tokyo – perfect for a day trip! Lonely Planet introduces Kamakura:
The glory days of Japan’s first feudal capital (from 1185 to 1333) coincided with the spread of populist Buddhism in Japan. This legacy is reflected in the area’s proliferation of stunning temples. Kamakura also has a laid-back, earthy vibe complete with organic restaurants, summer beach shacks and surfers – which can be added to sunrise meditation and hillside hikes as reasons to visit.
We started our visit by walking 20 minutes to Kōtoku-in, a Buddhist temple renowned for its Daibutsu, or The Great Buddha of Kamakura dating from 1252. Along the way we encountered many Japanese children on school trips, all yelling “Hello!” at us and stopping to take our photos, ask questions, and have us sign things. Conversations were limited due to their English expertise, but very amusing!
After visiting Kōtoku-in, we walked to the city center for lunch. We did a bit of research beforehand and knew that Kamakua is famous for shirasu, or baby sardines. It was no problem finding restaurants that serve shirasu – it was everywhere! After lunch I enjoyed some sweet potato ice cream!
After lunch, we headed to Hōkoku-ji, also known as the Bamboo Temple. Koen and I both were excited to see our first bamboo garden – plus there is a teahouse in the garden!
After Hōkoku-ji we wanted to walk to take a walk along the beach. We had perfect timing and arrived at sunset. Such beautiful colors and scenery!