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Sightseeing in Kamakura - what to see. Complete travel guide

In the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa, which is not far from the capital, tourists can visit a relatively not big city – Kamakura. Tourists from all over the world enjoy arriving here because of a big number of historic landmarks and monuments, many of which are very old. Moreover, a mild climate and an amazing location in a forest area make Kamakura one of the best resort cities in Japan.
Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder of Kamakura. In 1180, this shogun and his army came to this part of the country. Minamoto was impressed by the beauty of the area and its spectacular forests that looked like giants protecting this place. He decided to settle in this region and build a residence here. Initially, he built a fortress that could protect him from enemies. Minamoto used the surrounding forest as a guard. This is where the Japanese bakufu government was working as well.
The Kamakura Shogunate existed until the 30s of the 14th century. After its fall, the shogun’s residence became abandoned, and the settlement slowly became an ordinary village. When the Meiji period started in 1868 with the reign of Emperor Matsuhito, Japan ended its self-isolation policy and started developing into a first-world country. Approximately at the same time, numerous Japanese artists and writers paid their attention to Kamakura. They were impressed by the beauty of the place and were praising its nature and landscapes in their works. The Japanese village became popular in the country. For local people, this meant the start of the development and prosperity of their homeland. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Do you want to see the main shrine in Kamakura? In this case, visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangū. Until the 12th century, this temple was a shrine of two religions, namely, Shintoism and Buddhism. The Meiji period government didn’t like that and decided to remake the building, demolishing some of its parts. Nowadays, Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is a Shinto shrine. The popular religious landmark hosts an interesting annual event – the Yabusame Festival. Yabusame is a traditional Japanese archery type. During the vent, visitors can see courageous samurais who show their speed and dexterity in hitting targets while riding a horse. Many details in the design of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu are symbolic and remind us of the sad events in the history of the region.
It is possible to see lotus flowers of two colors in the shrine’s pond – white and red ones. White lotus flowers are the symbols of the Minamoto clan and the red flowers symbolize the blood of the enemy Taira clan. There is a bridge between the flowers, Taiko-bashi. Only shogun could walk on this bridge. The pavilion for the Maiden ritual dance is one more part of the complex with a tragic history. The wife of the shogun’s brother used to dance there after her spouse fell from the emperor’s grace. Her husband and child were killed, and the young woman was expelled from the monastery. Behind the scene, there is the main building in the shrine complex with a hall for prayers and an altar.
There is a Buddhist shrine in Kamakura, Kotoku-in Temple. Tourists know about this temple because of a big bronze Buddha statue that meets visitors near the entrance. The age of the great sacred building is more than eight centuries. Initially, the temple was built in the 40s of the 13th century. At that time, the Buddha statue was wooden. The statue immediately became not only the symbol of Kamakura but also one of the biggest treasures in Japan.
A great storm, which happened in 1248, severely damaged the wooden statue and destroyed its pedestal and hall. It was decided to make a new statue, this time a bronze one. The new statue was installed in 1264. No nature forces could destroy Buddha now, but the temple itself was not so durable. The tsunami caused by an earthquake in 1498 damaged the temple. After that, the great Buddhist symbol remained in the open air. For many years, the statue was in a poor condition, especially the inner part. However, monks from the Jodo Shinshu school reconstructed the statue. Nowadays, tourists can get inside the statue using a ladder.
In 1928, a museum opened in Kamakura. The main aim of this establishment was to preserve the unique art and crafts of the country for the next generations. The collection of the Kamakura Museum of National Treasures is very big and contains roughly five thousand different items including sculptures, paintings, and various craftworks made by local artisans. Nowadays, the building of the Kamakura Museum of National Treasures exhibits items of the “national treasure” rank. Seventy-three items are marked as important for the culture and heritage of Japan. During a visit to this museum, tourists can see Ukiyo-e gravures, scrolls, swords, and many other artifacts.
Tourists can reach Kamakura by train from the capital. This is the fastest and most comfortable way to reach the city. The time in transfer is roughly one hour. As the road to Kamakura comes across Yokohama, tourists can buy tickets at the train station of this city. A train ride from Yokohama is shorter – only twenty-five minutes. There is a daily train to Kamakura from Shinjuku City. It has cheaper tickets but the journey time is longer.
Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Kamakura
♥   Castle 'Tamanawa Castle' Kamakura, 1.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Uehara Castle' Chino, 36.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Minato Castle' Akita, 44.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Edo Castle' Tokyo, 45.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Shakujii castle' Nerima, 46.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Kamakura
♥   Prefectural Natural Park 'Asahi' , 21 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Prefectural Natural Park 'Ibuki' , 30.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Prefectural Natural Park 'Ota' , 34.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Prefectural Natural Park 'Okitsu' , 37.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Prefectural Natural Park 'Koto' , 39.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Kamakura from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Fuji Television Building

From the series “Top 16 Most Amazing Buildings of the Planet”
From the outside, the construction of the futuristic building seems incredibly complicated. The construction consists of the web of a lot of metal scaffolding. The huge panorama windows make the exterior of the building more refined. Travelers visiting this unusual sight will find out a lot about Japan's leading TV channel and look inside the main office. … Read further

House with Slide

From the series “The Most Bizarre and Fancy Living Houses”
The house was finished in 2009, the overall living area is more than 163 square meters. Apart from the slide and the games room, the house has a lot of other interesting design elements. The large windows on the walls and the roof, the glass elements on the floor, the various mirror screens and the modern accessories make the atmosphere unique. This wonderful house is perfect not only for the fun games, but also for the study. Inside is the large bright library furnished. … Read further
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Sightseeing in regions nearby Kamakura

All about Kamakura, Japan - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Kamakura, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Kamakura in few days.
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