Feel the rich history of the city of samurais
15 tourism audio guides of the Kamakura area
The Kamakura area
Kamakura prospered as a political hub during the Kamakura period. Kamakura has many famous shrines and temples, such as the historic landmark Kamakura Great Buddha of Kotoku-in Temple, and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine which has been connected to Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder and the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate. Kencho-ji Temple and Enkaku-ji Temple are a part of the five famous temples of Kamakura, Hase-dera Temple houses the Hase-Kannon statue, and temples such as Tokei-ji Temple and Hokoku-ji temple were rated three-stars by Michelin Green Guide Japon.
In addition, you can enjoy flowers such as hydrangea, roses, plums, and cherry blossoms every season of the year. It is a vibrant destination for many tourists around the world. There are many traditional Japanese patisseries and fancy cafes that you can walk around and explore, which is another attraction of this city. Even on rainy days, the trees, plants, and cobblestones create a serene scenery, making Kamakura a famous and picturesque ancient city.
A Hase-dera Temple
B Myouhon-ji Temple
C Kamakura-gu Shrine
D Kenchou-ji Temple
E Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine
Hase-dera Temple is an old temple that opened in the year 736 before the Kamakura period. It is commonly referred to as “Hase Kannon”. The principal object of worship is the eleven-face Kannon, which is said to have been carved from one camphor tree. It is more than 9 meters tall, which makes it Japan's largest wooden Buddha. Hase-dera Temple is also famous for the flowers that can be enjoyed each season. They gained the name “Hydrangea Trail” for having more than 40 different breeds and 2,500 bulbs of hydrangea flowers in the temple.
Myohon-ji Temple is the oldest temple of the Nichiren-shu sect located in an area called Hikigayatsu. The temple’s roots date back to the year 1203 when the youngest child and the only survivor of the Hiki clan, Yoshimoto, built a memorial for his family members who were attacked and killed by the armies of Hojo Masako’s father, Tokimasa.
It is a temple with many attractions such as the mountain gate, two Deva King guardian statues, main temple hall, and Yakusido hall of the Medicine Buddha. The temple is full of nature despite being located near downtown Kamakura, and visitors can enjoy a beautiful scenery every season. In spring the temple becomes full of flowers including cherry blossoms and crabapple. Fireflies can be seen in early summer, and autumn leaves and ginkgo can be enjoyed in fall.
Kamakura-gu Shrine was built by Emperor Meiji in 1869 in the early Meiji era, and he also named the shrine himself. It is also known as "Ootou no Miya ", and the worshiped deity is Prince Morinaga, son of the Emperor Godaigo. The prince devoted great efforts to attacking the Kamakura shogunate, and he made a remarkable achievement so that the emperor could seize political influence. However, at the beginning of the Muromachi period, he was put into confinement by the opposing Ashikaga Takauji at the Toko-ji Temple, and was later executed. Emperor Meiji is said to have built this shrine in this location where Toko-ji Temple used to be in order to pass on the prince’s will to future generations. The cell in which the prince was confined still remains behind the shrine’s main hall and available for visitors to see. Kamakura-gu Shrine is also known to repel misfortune. It is said that visitors can get rid of their misfortunes with "yaku wari ishi", which is a custom where the visitors blow on a circular cup to transfer their misfortune at which a rock is thrown, and if the cup shatters the misfortune is removed.
Kencho-ji Temple is the head temple of the Kencho-ji Temple sect of the Rinzai-shu school of thought in Buddhism, which is located in North Kamakura. It is said to be the first Zen temple in Japan built by high priest Lanxi Daolong who was invited from the Song dynasty by Hojo Tokiyori in the year 1253. Kencho-ji Temple was designated as the “first rank of Kamakura’s Five Temples”, the highest status among Kamakura Zen temples based on the "five-mountain system" established at the time of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu during the Muromachi period. The 730 year-old juniper tree in front of the Buddha hall is a symbol of this temple’s long history. Seasonal plants and flowers such as cherry blossoms in front of the Sanmon gate, hydrangea and autumn leaves are also notable, and the temple becomes crowded with many tourists during the blooming season. There is a statue of the Hansobo guardian and 12 large and small Tengu at the back of the temple, and because the view is nice, you can see Mt. Fuji from there on a clear day.
Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine
Ugafuku jinja is a shrine that Minamoto no Yoritomo built in the Kamakura period. Following a divine message that he saw in a dream that “promised world peace if deities and Buddhas were commemorated with holy water”, he found a spiritual water springing on a bedrock and constructed the shrine nearby. The shrine is also commonly known as “Zeniarai benten” or “Money rinsing shrine” due to visitors who rinse their money for good luck following the tale of Hojo Tokiyori rinsing his money to pray for the "prosperity of his family". Modern day belief is that money rinsed at the shrine will come back in multiples, and you can see many visitors washing their money. The shrine has many bamboo baskets in which to do so, and the proper method is to purify and rinse your money with three scoops of water.