Try This Recommended Itinerary to Savor Outstanding Food and Soak Up the Japanese Atmosphere in Kamakura
This itinerary starts in the Kamakura area, loved by tourists, and goes on to the Kita-Kamakura area that has a comparatively chic and calm feel. It is a recommended 1-day itinerary that includes all the Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and delicious foods that you don't want to miss.
- 1. The First Stop is Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
- 2. Shopping and Snacking on Komachi Street
- 3. Go to Miyoshi for an Outstanding Lunch of Udon and Tempura!
- 4. Sasuke Inari Shrine with Endless Red Torii Gates
- 5. Boost Your Financial Prospects at Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine
- 6. Go to Meigetsu-in, Where the Hydrangeas are Beautiful
- 7. Go to the Chic Cafes and Shops Near Kita-Kamakura Station
1. The First Stop is Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
This is a Hachimangu (Shinto shrine dedicated to a deity called Hachiman no Kami) with a history of over 800 years that created the basis for the Japanese spirit embodied in Bushido (code of honor and morals of samurai). To enter the shrine grounds, pass through the Nino Torii gate (second photograph below) that is about a five-minute walk from Kamakura Station and step up a level to walk along the main path to the shrine. Climb up the large staircase and pay your respects at the Main Shrine, then turn around to enjoy the panoramic view of the city of Kamakura. There is a beautiful view of the road that leads straight to Yuigahama beach, giving the clear sense that Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is the center of Kamakura.
2. Shopping and Snacking on Komachi Street
Once you've paid your respects at the shrine, walk along Komachi Street toward Kamakura Station. Filled with fun shops that sell sweets, uniquely Japanese food, and souvenirs, Komachi Street is always crowded with tourists. There are many food items to sample, so bring your appetite!
There are regulations restraining littering and eating while walking in Kamakura City, so be sure to enjoy the food by the shop you buy it from and to throw your garbage away properly.
3. Go to Miyoshi for an Outstanding Lunch of Udon and Tempura!
For lunch, why not enjoy udon at a famous restaurant that was featured in the 2015 Michelin Guide? Seating at this restaurant is at the counter only. You can enjoy the wait for your food with a view of the noodles being cooked in a large pot and the tempura being fried. The most popular menu item is the Tenzaru Shirasu-don Gozen (pictured, 1,350 JPY (excl. tax)). The restaurant is located on Komachi Street, about five minutes by foot from Kamakura Station.
4. Sasuke Inari Shrine with Endless Red Torii Gates
This is a Shinto shrine located about 20 minutes on foot from Kamakura Station. It is dedicated to a deity for luck and careers and is considered to be one of the most potent "power spots" (places thought to be overflowing in spiritual energy) in Kamakura. It is located in a residential area and has a row of red torii shrines that lends it a mystic atmosphere. Once you've prayed for your career and luck here, walk eight minutes to Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine.
5. Boost Your Financial Prospects at Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine
This is a Shinto shrine with a well of spiritual water. Money washed with water from this well is said to increase tenfold! Purchase incense and candles at the shrine office and borrow a colander at the same time. Once you've made an offering of the incense and candle, put your money in the colander and us a ladle to pour water from the back of the cave over it. No need to soak the money, just wet it slightly. It is said that it is more effective to use the money that you've "washed" rather than to keep it. Next, go through Jochi-ji Temple and stroll for about 30 minutes to get to Kita-Kamakura.
6. Go to Meigetsu-in, Where the Hydrangeas are Beautiful
Meigetsu-in, otherwise known as The Temple of Hydrangeas, is a temple with approximately 2,500 hydrangea bushes. The hydrangeas are in bloom from late May to early July, with the best time to see them usually being early to late June. At the height of the season, the road from Kita-Kamakura Station, that is about a ten-minute walk to the temple, is packed with people lining up to see the hydrangea flowers that deepen their blue color by the day. The Satori no Mado (Window of Enlightenment) in the Main Shrine, from which a garden that is not open the public can be glimpsed, is a popular spot to take pictures.
7. Go to the Chic Cafes and Shops Near Kita-Kamakura Station
Unlike the busy Kamakura Station area, the area around Kita-Kamakura Station has the feel of a neighborhood with the charm of the ancient capital city of Kamakura. There are cafes in renovated old houses, restaurants that have the sense of being secret hideaways, and stylish shops selling delightful items, including a studio for hand-woven products and hand-dyed thread. Photographed is Kissa Minka, a cafe where almost everything from drinks, such as coffee and ginger ale, to desserts and light dishes is homemade. It is so popular there are often lines out the door!
Kamakura is a city that is crowded with tourists all year around, so try to begin your trip by visiting Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in the morning, when it is still relatively less crowded. You'll be walking for most of your visit, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
*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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