Top things to do

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Kenchō-ji

Established in 1253, Japan's oldest Zen monastery is still active today. The central Butsuden (Buddha Hall) was brought piece by piece from Tokyo in 1647. Its Jizō Bosatsu statue, unusual for a Zen temple, reflects …
Top Choice Monument in Kamakura

Daibutsu

Kamakura's most iconic sight, an 11.4m bronze statue of Amida Buddha (amitābha in Sanskrit), is in Kōtoku-in, a Jōdo sect temple. Completed in 1252, it's said to have been inspired by Yoritomo's visit to Nara (where…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū

Kamakura's most important shrine is, naturally, dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war. Minamoto no Yoritomo himself ordered its construction in 1191 and designed the pine-flanked central promenade that leads from th…
Top Choice Noodles in Kamakura

Matsubara-an

Dinner reservations are recommended for this upscale soba restaurant in a lovely old house. Try the goma seiro soba (al dente noodles served cold with sesame dipping sauce). Dine alfresco or indoors where you can wa…
Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Kamakura

Zeniarai-benten

One of Kamakura's most alluring Shintō shrines, which you can enter via tunnel or a trail above; it's located along the Daibutsu hiking trail. Washing money in the water here supposedly brings back three times the w…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Engaku-ji

One of Kamakura's five major Rinzai Zen temples, Engaku-ji was founded in 1282 as a place where Zen monks might pray for soldiers who lost their lives defending Japan against Kublai Khan. All of the temple structure…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Hase-dera

The focal point of this Jōdo sect temple, one of the most popular in the Kantō region, is a 9m-high carved wooden jūichimen (11-faced) Kannon statue. Kannon (avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit) is the Bodhisattva of infini…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Zuisen-ji

The grounds of this hillside Zen temple make for a blissful stroll in fine weather and include lovingly tended gardens laid out by Musō Soseki, the temple's esteemed founder. To get here, take the bus from stop 4 at…
Soba in Kamakura

Bonzō

Popular with Japanese celebrities, this rustic little restaurant specialises in handmade ju-wari (100% soba), including kamo seiro (cold soba in hot broth) with wild duck imported from France. Opening hours can be e…
Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Jōmyō-ji

This Tokasan temple of the Rinzaishu Kenchō-ji sect was originally a tantric Buddhist temple and converted to a Zen temple. The main reason to visit is for its atmospheric rock garden and teahouse where you can sip …