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Top 5 Momiji Spots in Kamakura, Kanagawa With Stunning Changing Leaves

Kamakura is a city in Kanagawa Prefecture that was formed and developed by samurai warriors. It is filled with charming sights and famous tourist spots, but when you come for a visit during fall, one thing you must not miss is the momiji (leaves changing colors). Below are five handpicked spots in Kamakura that are specially recommended for viewing autumn leaves.

1. Meigetsu-in

Meigetsu-in is a famous temple that belongs to the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. Its grounds are filled with ajisai (hydrangea) flowers that are so beautiful that people have also come to call this temple Ajisai-dera (temple of hydrangeas). However, when fall season sets in, it transforms into a popular destination for viewing the changing colors of leaves. The highlight of this temple is the magnificent view that can be seen from the circular window inside the Hondo (main temple hall). It’s as if you actually cut a view of autumn foliage and set it in a frame like a painting. It meshes together with the subtle red colors in the room to create a fascinating and charming view. The trees with leaves that have turned into autumn colors also make the temple grounds look more vibrant, treating visitors to a charming view.

Best time for viewing: Mid-November to early December

1. Meigetsu-in

189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

2. Kenchoji

Kenchoji is a temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism that was built in 1253. The leaves on the trees planted on the temple grounds turn into splendid colors during fall. Topping the list of must-see spots in this temple during fall includes the Hansobo road that leads to Hansobo (Shinto deity that is enshrined halfway up the mountain at the back of the temple) and the area near the approximately 200-step stone staircase in the middle of the road. You can enjoy beautiful autumn foliage that will make you feel a sense of rustic beauty. From Hansobo at the top of the stairs, you will also get to see the waters of Kamakura beyond the historical Kenchoji Temple.

Best time for viewing: Mid-November to late December
Entrance fee: (High school students and older) 500 JPY
(Elementary and junior high school students) 200 JPY

2. Kenchoji

8 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

3. Engakuji

Built in 1282, Engakuji is a temple that belongs to the Rinzai school of Buddhism that has been designated as a National Historic Site of Japan. Its grounds measure approximately 60,000sq.m. At this temple, the Somon (main gate), Sanmon (main temple gate), Butsuden (hall of Buddha) and other temple buildings stand in a straight line, dotted by 18 sub-temples (small temples and priest halls inside the grounds of the main temple) such as Kigen-in. These various spots in the vast temple precinct are filled with trees that change colors in fall, creating wonderful views that will make for a beautiful painting or photo anywhere you look.

Best time for viewing: Mid-November to early December
Entrance fee: 300 JPY

3. Engakuji

409 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

4. Tokeiji

Tokeiji is the only surviving temple among the five convents that existed in Kamakura. A temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, it was built in 1285 by Kakusanni, the wife of the famous military commander Hojo Tokimune. It is also known as the place that rescued women through the Enkiridera-ho (law) which stipulated that “a wife can divorce her husband if she seeks refuge in a temple and then lives there for three years”. It became a temple for male priests in 1902.
During fall, the leaves on the trees inside the temple grounds turn vivid colors, but the most recommended spots you have to check out are the autumn foliage in front of the Hondo (main hall) and the ginkgo trees by the Hozo (treasure storehouse). This temple is visited by a lot of worshippers during this season, which is when it is enveloped in this magnificent scenery.

Best time for viewing: Late November to late December
Entrance fee: (Adults) 200 JPY
(Elementary and junior high school students) 100 JPY

4. Tokeiji

1367 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

5. Jochiji

Last on this list is Jochiji, a famous temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. With grounds covered in lush nature, it has been designated as a National Historic Site of Japan. Here, you can enjoy the autumn view that draws huge crowds for its simple, completely natural charms. There is also a hiking trail called Genjiyama inside the temple precinct, so you can also take a stroll along this route to better enjoy the autumn foliage.

Best time for viewing: Late November to mid-December

5. Jochiji

1402 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa

Kamakura is a place with easy access to and from many major cities, as it is just about 60 minutes from Tokyo via the JR Yokosuka Line and around 30 minutes from Yokohama. Make sure to visit Kamakura during fall to catch a glimpse of its breathtaking autumn foliage.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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