Famous for its Buddhist temples and beaches24 October, 2010 by Chad
The city of Kamakura is located just an hour south of Tokyo in the Kanagawa prefecture. It is a popular day trip for those visiting Japan’s capital. Kamakura is most famous for it’s large bronze Buddha statue and a number of other iconic temples and shrines.
Kotokuin in is home to Kamaura’s Daibutsu (or Great Buddha), a bronze statue of the sitting Amitabha (an East Asian Buddha). Though significantly smaller than Ushiku’s 120 meter tall Amitabha , Kotokuin’s Buddha is over 700 years old. The 13 meter tall statue is probably the most famous Buddha landmark among visiting tourists and is also the second largest bronze Buddha in Japan after Nara’s Birushana Nyorai.
Entering Kotokuin temple costs 200 yen. Visitors can enter the hollow Buddha for another 20 yen, to marvel at the vandalism left by the millions of tourists over the years.
The Hasedera temple grounds are located just next to Kotokuin. This is another one of the dozen or more Buddhist temples in Kamakura and probably the most visited after Kotokuin.
Hasedera has a total of 6 main halls, each dedicated to a different deity, with the chief figure here being the Goddess of Mercy Kannon and Hasedera is also referred to as Hase Kannon.
The Jizo hall is famous for being rather moving. There are thousands of tiny Jizo statues lined up here, some decked out in tiny baby clothing. The Bodhisattva Jizo is a guardian of dead children so each statue here is representative of children lost in birth, miscarriage or abortion as well as those that died at a young age.
On a less depressing note, there are also Jizo statues for children who have been cured of serious illness.
At the Benten hall, you’ll find a small cave dedicated to Benzaiten (the Hindu goddess Saraswati).
It cost 300 yen to enter Hasedera. Apart from the halls, Hasedera also features a small museum and garden area.
The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is Kamakura’s main Shinto shrine. The 900 year old shrine is Kamakura’s equivalent of Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine. It’s the main venue for various festivals throughout the year and also a popular spot to hold traditional Japanese weddings. Entry into the grounds itself is free but it costs a token sum of 100 yen to enter the main shrine and museum.
Kamakura is also known for its beaches, of which Yuigahama is the most popular. This beautiful 3 kilometer beach stretches the entire coast of Kamakura and was once considered a sacred site among royalty. It was featured extensively in the drama Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu.
Title image courtesy of Forrest Litke.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.