Living in Kamakura: Guide for Foreigners
Kamakura is one of the most popular small towns in Japan, loved by both locals and tourists alike. It sits at the western coast of Kanagawa Prefecture, less than a 45-minute ride away from Tokyo and Yokohama.
This picturesque town is best known for its Great Buddha statue. This famous historical site is just the first item on the list of many cultural attractions dotted across Kamakura’s streets. As you explore, you will notice a beautiful fusion of authentic Japanese houses and modern architecture, which matches the diverse residents that found their home there.
Besides its historical gems, Kamakura is also attractive due to its vicinity to the mountains, and large green areas that surround it.
Living In Kamakura - For Culture Seekers
Kamakura became quite famous among tourists, mainly as a result of its rich culture. If you ask anyone about the most essential thing to see in the town, they will likely say “The Great Buddha.” This 43.8 ft (13.35 m) statue is made of bronze and its creation is estimated in 1252. It is one of the largest bronze statues in Japan, and you can even step inside and marvel at its construction.
After you’ve marked that off your list, you should see some of Kakamura’s most celebrated temples. Hase-dera Temple sits just a few minutes away from the Buddha statue. It is known for the Jizo statues dotted across its premises, but also for the stunning views of the sea once you climb to the top.
Just as impressive are the Tsurugaoka-Hachimangu, a huge 11th century shrine, and the Hokokuji Temple, known for its gorgeous bamboo grove. After you’ve seen these main sites, you can simply follow your intuition and go through Kakamura’s streets. You’ll come across a small shrine or an interesting sculpture on almost every corner.
Living In Kamakura - For Nature Lovers
Besides its cultural heritage, Kamakura is also known for its green areas, beautiful beaches, and hiking trails.
Popular trails are Tenen trail and the Daibutsu hiking trail. There are also guided tours offered by local travel agencies, which allow you to explore nature and the cultural hotspots of the town within a single hike.
Kamakura also offers stunning sandy beaches. The most popular are Yuigahama and Zaikamoza. During the winter, you can have a relaxing walk and enjoy the gentle sea breeze, and in the summer you can swim and sunbathe if you don’t mind the crowd.
If you are looking for a colorful and energetic small town in Japan, then you’ll enjoy Kamakura. Offering tons of interesting cultural spots, miles of hiking trails, and long sandy beaches, it’s a place that is full of life yet still preserved a unique Japanese lifestyle.
Sources: Japan Times, Tokyo Creative, Numbeo, Chuza Living, Japan Guide
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