An Afternoon in Mystical Kamakura

One random day during the Japan Golden Week 2021, I decided to meet up with friends in Kamakura, Kanagawa. The sole purpose was just to meet up with them, to see other people once in a while after the long stay-at-home this pandemic. Little did I know, I would find more than I expected in my mystical land of Slam Dunk, Kamakura City.

Want to know what Kamakura can offer? Make sure to read till the end!

But first,

Shoutout to my awesome friends right here for making time and showing me around Kamakura despite the fact that they’ve been there before. It’s awesome friendships like this that make travels more meaningful and enjoyable. I always travel alone, so I feel very much privileged to have friends during my travel this time around. I no longer enjoy the scenic views and unique experiences alone. I get to share it with others.

And so the adventure begins!

Kōtoku-in (高徳院)

Kōtoku-in (高徳院) is a Buddhist temple of the Jōdo-shū sect, in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Its mountain name is Taiizan (大異山), and its common temple name is Shōjōsen-ji (清浄泉寺).

The temple is renowned for The Great Buddha of Kamakura, a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amitābha, which is one of the most famous icons of Japan. It is also a designated National Treasure, and one of the twenty-two historic sites included in Kamakura’s proposal for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

A Daibutsu, or Giant Buddha in English, is very popular in Japan. You can spot many all around the country. That is why, the thought of it no longer excited me. However, when I arrived there, it felt different. Aside from the fact that the Daibutsu is very huge, what is also very interesting is it felt different when I saw devotees pray in front of it, light an incense in its altar, and look at it with admiration. The goosebumps you feel when you witness the zeal of the devotees is just different.

Can you see how hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it is? Amazing, right? It’s 13.35m (43.8 ft) tall and it weighs approximately 93 tonnes (103 tons)! It’s said that this Daibutsu was built during 1250s. How do you think they were able to do this amazing feat back then?

Kōtoku-in (鎌倉大仏殿高徳院)
4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 248-0016
Phone number: 0467-22-0703
FAX number: 0467-22-5051
Reception hours: During viewing hours
(FAX is accepted 24 hours a day)
Fee: ¥300 for adults, ¥150 for elementary students and below

Tsurugaoka Hachimangū

This precious historical location is actually the most important Shinto Shrine in the city of Kamakura because it is hailed as the cultural center of the city. As you can see, just like all other Shinto Shrines, it has a long stone stairway for all tourists and devotees alike to climb.

Here, enjoy photos on ways how you can pray or send your wishes in Shintoism, which you can also do in Tsurugaoka Hachimangu:

Ema (絵馬)
Small wooden plaques, common to Japan, in which Shinto and Buddhist worshippers write prayers or wishes.

Omikuji (おみくじ)
These are Fortune Slips at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Literally “sacred lot”, these are usually received by making a small offering (generally a five-yen coin as it is considered good luck) and randomly choosing one from a box, hoping for the resulting fortune to be good.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangū (鶴岡八幡宮)
Location: 2 Chome-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588
Hours: 5:00 to 21:00 (from 6:00 from October to March)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing
Open 24 hours from January 1 to 3
Fee: Free (Shrine Museum: ¥200)

Hōkoku-ji (報国寺) Temple

There are a lot of temples in Japan, so as Bamboo groves, but if you’d like to find a place that has both, Hokokuji is the place to be.

Originally founded during the early years of the Muromachi Period, Hokokuji was the family temple of the ruling Ashikaga Clan and was later also adopted as the family temple of the Uesugi Clan.

Looking for an Instagrammable spot? Here it is! Their mini Bamboo grove is more or less the same size with the one from Shuzenji Onsen I’ve been to last September 2020, but they’re equally beautiful and picturesque. Don’t expect much though, because it’s definitely “mini”.

By the end of the Bamboo grove lies a stone altar, as many temples usually have.

Hokokuji 報国寺
Location: 2 Chome-7-4 Jomyoji, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003
Hours: 9:00 to 16:00
Admission: ¥300 (additional ¥600 for tea service)

The Enoden

Enoden, the Enoshima Electric Railway is the sixth oldest railway in Japan and has been in operation for more than 100 years. It is a single-line railway connecting Kamakura station and Fujisawa station, both entrances to major sightseeing spots in Japan popular among Japanese and overseas tourists.

Between the terminals are thirteen stops and the train runs the distance of 10 kilometers in 34 minutes, managing lots of curves and narrow places so close to hedges and yards of houses that you can almost peek in dinner tables of the families from the train windows!

Fan of anime? Here are Slam Dunk Actual Locations in Kamakura!

If you love the anime Slam Dunk, Kamakura should definitely be included in your Japan travel list. Here are top 2 favorite Slam Dunk actual locations in Kamakura!

Opening Theme Train Scene

When Hanamichi Sakuragi sees Haruko Akagi across the railway during the Opening Theme song, that’s an actual location in Kamakura. Want to go there to reenact the scene? Here’s the location detail:

Kamakurakōkō-Mae Station (鎌倉高校前駅)
1-chōme-1 Koshigoe, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0033
Exact: Walking out from the station, continue to the intersection at the right near the road scaling to a nearby hill.

May be an anime-style image of standing

Island View in between Scenes

This is still located in the same location as above.

That’s a wrap!

Did you enjoy our quick trip to Kamakura? I hope you did because I had a blast during that whole afternoon there. Some FAQs? Alright!

  • Is Kamakura near Tokyo?
    Yes! It’s just 1-2 hours away from Tokyo.
  • Is a trip to Kamakura expensive?
    No! A trip to Kamakura is actually cheap. Train and bus rides are cheap, and most importantly, majority of the tourist spots can be travelled by foot so you can actually walk and save some pennies from transportation.
  • Is it better to spend 1 day or more in Kamakura?
    Yes! There are a lot of places to go to in Kamakura. I definitely regret spending just an afternoon there.

See you in more travel diaries! Til the next #TravelTuesdays!

All love,

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