Kamakura, an old town near Tokyo
When it comes to Kamakura, the first thing that pops into everyone’s mind is the Great Buddha (Daibutsu) or the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. It is also enjoys popularity in the rainy season because there are many viewing spots for hydrangeas. However, you can have a great time in Kamakura all year round: cherry blossoms in spring, hydrangeas in rain, beautiful sea and mountains for hiking in summer, warm foliage in autumn and the gorgeous still sea with a view of Mt. Fuji on clear, crisp days in winter. Whether you want to enjoy the essence of zen or sip tea in a cool cafe, there is something for everyone in Kamakura.
In this feature, we introduce some of the best spots to enjoy cherry blossoms at temples in Kamakura.
Transport options in Kamakura
Traveling within Kamakura is quite simple and convenient. You can take buses, trains or use rental cars as there are plenty of parking lots. Walking is also a popular way to enjoy the ancient architecture along the quiet streets.
One of the most popular and cost effective ways is to take the Enoden Line, a train that runs from Kamakura Station to Fujisawa Station. The line covers most of the famous Kamakura attractions making it very easy to get around Kamakura.
For those who want to travel to this city on a budget, it is recommended to purchase the Enoden 1-day pass called NORIORIKUN. You can enjoy unlimited rides for just 600 yen (2020 price; please note the service is temporarily discontinued due to the pandemic).
In spring, the station names displayed in front of the train also have cherry blossoms! Such a beautiful touch…
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, 鶴岡八幡宮
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is one of the important shrines in Kamakura. It is highly recommended to walk to this shrine from the station through the busy shopping street called Komachi-dori lined with souvenir and food shops.
At this shrine, there are beautiful cherry blossom viewing spots.
You can see cherry blossoms in a Japanese garden as well as along the large pond.
Besides sakura, there are also other flowers that bloom seasonally.
Kencho-ji ranks first among Kamakura’s “Five Great Zen Temples,” and has several temple buildings stretching from the entrance far into the valley. The Hatto (dharma hall) has a dragon painted on the ceiling and houses a statue of Kannon. One of the oldest temples in Kamakura, you don’t want to miss this.
With cherry blossoms right in front of the temple, you don’t even have to enter the premises to enjoy them.
You can walk to this temple after seeing the beauty of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.
Mitama Shrine, 御霊神社
This shrine with the local name “Gongoro-sama” is one of the five most important shrines in Kamakura. You can walk to this shrine from Hase Station (長谷駅).
In addition to being able to see cherry blossoms, this shrine is also special as you can watch the Enoden line passing by.
A Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect, this temple was founded in 1259. You can take the Enoden Line and get off at this Gorakuji station.
The narrow pathway to the temple is lined with cherry blossoms and you can take pictures of the blossoms with its thatched-roof gate in the background.
In addition, there are cherry blossom viewing spots all over the streets of Kamakura, so you can feel the excitement and warmth associated with spring. If you plan a trip to Japan in spring, make sure to add Kamakura to your list.
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