Tokyo to Kamakura Day Trip Itinerary: What to Do and Eat in Kamakura in a Day
Are you doing a day trip from Tokyo to Kamakura and wondering what’s there to do and eat? This Tokyo day trip blog shows you the best things to see in Kamakura in one day.
Kamakura is a small and cute seaside town located about an hour south of Tokyo.
Kamakura is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo due to its rich history, access to the beach, delicious food and beautiful shrines and temples. Most notably, Kamakura is the home of a giant Buddha statue, one of the most visited places in Kamakura.
If you want to spend a day exploring the different shrines in Kamakura, see a bamboo forest, visit the beach, try its local food, chill in a cafe or buy trinkets from its colorful stores then you would enjoy the day trip to Kamakura or even want to stay there for 2 days to fully explore the area.
In this post I will provide you with all the information you need on Kamakura including how to get to Kamakura from Tokyo, how to get around Kamakura, what to see and eat in Kamakura and other things you can do in the area.
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Where is Kamakura in Japan?
Kamakura is a small city located in Kanagawa Prefecture along the coast of Sagami Bay.
It is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Tokyo and it takes about an hour to reach Kamakura by car and about an hour to an hour and a half by train.
From Yokohama it takes about 30 minutes to reach Kamakura by train.
Tokyo to Kamakura: How to Get There?
There are 2 train options you can take from Tokyo to Kamakura, depending on where you are in Tokyo:
- JR Yokosuka Line
- Shonan-Shinjuku Line
Tokyo Station to Kamakura
If you are traveling from Tokyo Station to Kamakura, the fastest and easiest way to get to Kamakura is on the Yokosuka Line, which is a JR Train (so you can use your JR Pass if you have one).
You will take the Yokosuka Line towards Zushi and get off at Kamakura.
The entire route takes about 56 minutes with no transfers and it costs 950 yen one way (945 Yen with an IC card).
Shinjuku to Kamakura
If you are traveling from Shibuya or Shinjuku to Kamakura, the fastest way is to take the Shonan-Shinjuku Line, another JR train.
You will take the Shonan-Shinjuku Line towards Zushi and get off at Kamakura Station.
This route takes 54 minutes and costs 950 Yen one way (945 Yen with an IC Card).
How to Get Around Kamakura?
Kamakura is a small city but most people do not walk to all the temples (unless you really want to walk and hike).
You will most likely utilize the train and buses and some walking to explore Kamakura and see the main highlights during your day trip.
Enoden Line is operated by the Enoshima Electric Railway and it runs from Kamakura Station westwards towards the beach and finally to Fujisawa.
There are plenty of buses you can take to get around Kamakura to temple hop. Google Maps can help you decide which bus to take.
You can pay for the train ticket and bus ticket with your IC card. When you ride the buses in Kamakura you can scan your IC card upon entry through the back of the bus and scan the card again when you get off.
Kamakura Tourist Map
For your convenience I bookmarked all the popular sites and some places to eat on this Kamakura tourist map.
Purple pins: Things I did in one day in Kamakura
Black pins: Additional things you can do in Kamakura if you have more time
Orange pins: places to eat in Kamakura
Is One Day Enough in Kamakura?
One day is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of Kamakura.
With one day in Kamakura, you get to visit some of the most important and beautiful temples and you have a chance to explore the lively pedestrian street in the center of Kamakura.
If you have more time however, I would also recommend spending 2 days in Kamakura to fully explore, hike, and even visit Enoshima Island. But one day is a good starting point to explore Kamakura from Tokyo.
What to see in Kamakura in one day?
There are a lot of things you can do in Kamakura in one day. In fact there are so many that you need to pick and choose what works for you since one day is pretty short to spend in Kamakura.
Most people that go to Kamakura as a day trip opt to stay near town and visit 4 to 5 temples, grab food and drinks and shop around the main street of Kamakura.
However you also have the option to go to the beach, relax in a hot spring spa, or even venture out to Enoshima, a small island off the coast of Kamakura.
Below is a sample Kamakura itinerary based on what we did when we visited. I will also add things that you can consider doing if you have additional time.
Opening Time: 8am – 5:40pm daily
Ticket Cost: 300 yen to visit; additional 50 yen to go inside the Buddha
Time needed: 30 minutes
How to reach: 7 minute walk from Hase Station (on the Enoden Line)
Kamakura Daibutsu is the giant Buddha and perhaps the most famous attraction in Kamakura. The Buddha is located in Kotoku-In, a Buddhist temple of the Jodo sect.
The Buddha itself is a bronze statue of Amitabha and it is about 44 feet tall including the base and weighs about 100 tons. It was originally completed in 1243 using wood but after it got destroyed during a typhoon, the bronze Buddha was then constructed in 1252.
The inside of the Buddha is hollow so you can pay more to go inside.
The temple itself is mostly known for the Buddha and there isn’t too much else to do there.
Opening Time: 8am – 5pm daily from July to March; 8am – 5:30pm daily from April to June
Ticket Cost: 400 yen to visit
Time needed: 1 hour
How to reach: 5 minute walk from Hase Station (on the Enoden Line)
Hasedera Temple is one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Kamakura.
Legend has it that back in 721 AD, 2 sculptors carved 2 Kannon statues out of one sacred tree. One of the statues was thrown into the ocean and later reappeared in Kamakura. That statue was then enshrined here at Hasedera Temple. The unique feature of this statue is that it has 11 faces on its head.
You cannot take photos of the statue inside the temple!
As you explore the temple, on the left of the main keep are small food stalls, benches, vending machines.
Since the temple is located on top of a hill, you can also get a fantastic panoramic view of Kamakura and Sagami Bay. You actually can have a nice sit-down meal at the restaurant with this ocean view.
At Hasedera, you will also find rows of small Jizo statues. As you walk downstairs and follow the route, you will find the Benten-Kutsu Cave with a Buddhist statue inside.
To the right of Benten-Kutsu Cave is a small rock garden. Hasedera Temple is also known for its beautiful garden that changes through the year.
After visiting two temples, you can take the train back to Kamakura station or take the bus to access Komachi Dori.
Komachi Dori is a bustling pedestrian street in the center of Kamakura between the JR Kamakura station and the famous Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine.
You will recognize the street by the iconic large red torii gate as well as signs above the street.
This popular and crowded pedestrian street has everything you would need: souvenir shopping, street food, cafes and restaurants, and boutique shops.
One of the most popular local things to eat there is whitebait (shirasu), a type of young fish, as well as rice crackers and sweet potato treats.
Opening Time: 6am – 9pm October to March; 5am – 9pm April to September. The Tsurugaoka Museum is closed on Mondays; most buildings are open from 9am instead of 6am.
Ticket Cost: 200 yen to visit
Time needed: 1 hour
How to reach: 10 min walk from the east exit of JR Kamakura Station via Komachi Dori; 10 min walk from Enoden Kamakura Station
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is a famous shinto shrine in Kamakura.
It was founded by Minamoto Yoritomo back in 1063 and dedicated to Hachiman, the god of samurai. It is said that there are 3 deified spirits of ancient emperors and the empress being enshrined at this shrine.
As you walk along Komachi Dori to reach the red torii gate at the base of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, you will need to climb up the stairs to the main hall, which includes a museum.
You will see a small set of red torii gates to the left of the main hall and it leads to the small fox shrine. There are also small bridges that lead to the ponds as you explore the shrine area.
Locals love to visit during the New Year’s period as it is a tradition to hold a lucky arrow that can ward off evil.
This shrine also hosts various annual festivals throughout the year with religious rituals and performances (like the horseback archery ritual in September, lantern festival in August, Spring Harvest Festival in February, Tanabata Festival in July).
Opening Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm daily
Ticket Cost: 300 yen
Time needed: 1 hour
How to reach: 30 minute walk from Kamakura station or take the bus no.2 and get off at Kenchoji
Kenchoji Temple is located about a 15 minute walk from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. It is one of the most famous zen temples in Kamakura.
Built in 1253 by Hojo Tokiyori, who was the ruling regent at the time, Kencho-ji is one of the 5 great Zen temples in Kamakura and also the oldest zen training monastery in Japan.
There are several buildings at Kenchoji Temple, with the most well known as the Sanmon main gate, the Buddha Hall where the statue of Jizo Bodhisattva is displayed, the garden behind the main hall, and a couple of observation decks as you climb uphill.
Opening Time: 9am – 4pm daily except Dec 29 to Jan 3rd
Ticket Cost: 300 yen to visit bamboo garden; 900 yen includes matcha for the bamboo forest room
Time needed: 30 minutes
How to reach: Take bus no.5 from JR Kamakura Station for Jomyoji and get off there then walk 2 minutes
Hokokuji Temple is a small Buddhist temple in the eastern part of Kamakura. You will need to take a bus from Kamakura station to Hokokuji Temple.
The entrance fee is mainly for the bamboo grove and within the bamboo grove there is a small tea house where you can pay extra to have a cup of Japanese matcha tea while enjoying the tranquility of the bamboo forest.
There is also a small rock garden after you walk past the gate.
Opening Time: 9am – 4:30pm daily
Ticket Cost: 100 yen
Time needed: 30 minutes
How to reach: 2 minute walk from Hokokuji Temple
A few minutes walk from the Hokokuji Temple is another zen temple, Jomyo-ji Temple.
This small temple used to have a lot more buildings and pagodas before they were destroyed. The current temple has a small rock garden, a large cemetery, and a quiet teahouse where you can pay more to get matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweets similar to what you will find at Hokokuji Temple.
Since most temples close between 4-5 in the afternoon, you will need to get to Kamakura pretty early in the morning to see all of the temples above like what we did.
Another consideration is that it does take time to go from temple to temple, especially if you venture to eastern Kamakura to see Hokokuji Temple and Jomyoji Temple, so plan your day accordingly.
What to See in Kamakura If You Have More Than One Day
Most visitors take the day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo and depart for Tokyo around 5pm since temples are closed around that time.
However if you do want to do something different or if you want to stay overnight in Kamakura, then you can consider venturing out to the beach area.
Inamuragasaki Onsen Spa
If you are looking for the ultimate relaxing experience then definitely check out this Onsen Spa.
You will be able to enjoy a day spa (without staying overnight) while staring out to sea. On a clear day you can even see Mt. Fuji and Enoshima.
Women and men are separated for the hot spring spa and it costs 1,500 yen ($10 USD) to enter. Children under 13 are not allowed and it’s only available for 2 adults or more.
Inamuragasaki Park is a popular seaside park along the beach in Kamakura.
It is popular for its beautiful scenery of the water and on a clear day you can see Mount Fuji and Enoshima Island.
This is not a beach where you can swim since there is no shower or lifeguard, but there are a couple of bars and restaurants across the street. Since this park is not known for swimming, you can expect less people here as well.
The most popular time to visit is during sunset but you probably will see other photographers there waiting to take that perfect sunset photo over Mt. Fuji.
Enoshima Island probably deserves its own day trip from Kamakura.
Located in Fujisawa (next door to Kamakura), Enoshima is a popular day trip destination known for its coastal views, shrines, beaches, Iwaya Caves, Sea Candle observation deck and of course its seafood.
I didn’t get to go to Enoshima but if you have 2 days in Kamakura you can certainly venture out to check it out.
What to Eat in Kamakura?
Kamakura has some famous local specialities that you cannot get anywhere else. You can also expect local ingredients from Kamakura when you eat there, whether from street food vendors or in a restaurant.
Raw whitebait bowl
Whitebait is a small fish (sardine family) that is local to Kamakura. The best time to eat whitebait is during spring and fall as you won’t be able to get this in the winter.
The local way of eating whitebait is to eat it raw, which is served with vinegar rice and dipped in soy sauce. Different restaurants do prepare this differently, so you may see different toppings on it.
Kamakama Honten and Wasai Yakura are restaurants on Komachi Dori that serve whitebait bowls. We ate at Wasai Yakura and it was pretty good.
Baked Rice Cracker
Kamakura Ichibanya is a popular shop where visitors go and get freshly baked rice crackers.
They have more than 50 types of rice crackers in the shop so you will be able to try different flavors.
If you are looking for crepes then you have to go to Crepe Shop Coquelicot on Komachi Dori. They have both dessert crepe and savory crepes to choose from.
Best Tour to See Kamakura
If you are intimidated by the thought of traveling to Kamakura and taking the train by yourself, don’t worry, there are some really great tours you can take from Tokyo to visit Kamakura.
Since you have a bus and a guide with you, you won’t have to worry about finding your own transportation between the temples and finding the train to Enoshima. You will also get to learn about the history and cultural significance between each temple.
Is Kamakura Worth Visiting?
With all the history and cultural significance, Kamakura is definitely worth visiting as a day trip from Tokyo.
Even if you do not want to see temples, you will most likely be interested in seeing the giant Buddha of Kamakura, eat some local specialties and fresh seafood, enjoy the beach of Kamakura and explore Enoshima.
There are so many things you can do and eat in Kamakura that makes Kamakura worthy of a visit.
Other Japan Travel Resources
If you are visiting Japan and want to see what else you can do, be sure to check out my other Japan travel guides!
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