Day Trip to Kamakura in Tokyo – A Little Slice of Kyoto

Kamakura, Hakone and Nikko are a few of the most recommended day trips from Tokyo. I had a free day to my own in Tokyo and had a tough time making a decision, finally deciding on Kamakura! An hour by train from Tokyo, Kamakura is located in the Kanagawa Prefecture.

Solo Day Trip to Kamakura

I arrived, not knowing much about this coastal town. I had no idea its size or how to get around. All I knew was Kamakura has a giant bronze Buddha statue, and bamboo trees at Hokokuji Temple. Thankfully, there was a Tourist Office at Kamakura’s station. The officer recommended some places of interest and general info on getting around (mainly bus).

The small but beautiful Hōkoku-ji Temple

I arrived at Hōkoku-ji Temple, to be greeted by amazing autumn foliage and quiet zen gardens.

entrance of Hokoku-ji, Tokyo | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite WanderessIt was the second week of December and I’d never expected to see autumn foliage at all. Stepping into the temple grounds, I gasped in surprise. It was so beautiful.

Hokoku-ji | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderessautumn trees | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite WanderessKamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Autumn foliage at Hōkoku-ji

Further in, the autumn foliage within the inner grounds took my breath away. With such outbursts of colors among trees, plants, shrubs, a little zen garden ahead, and a little bamboo pipe dripping water melodiously into a tiny river, all my senses were captured right then. I took many photos, afraid my memory will fail me in future, before turning to mindfully appreciate the serenity and beauty in front of me.

autumn foliage at Hokokuji | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderessautumn & zen garden at Hokokuji | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Hōkoku-ji’s Bamboo Garden

Hokokuji is known as the Bamboo Temple because of its bamboo garden within the temple grounds. Though a very small garden which you can walk through within minutes, the size and sheer height of the moso-bamboo (the biggest series of bamboo) from ground up were enough to overwhelm. When the sun shines through from the top and the trees sway in the wind with a hissing sound, you feel strangely enveloped by a sense of serenity. This memory became more distinct to me than experiencing Arashiyama’s famous bamboo grove.

bamboo garden at Hokoku-ji | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Visiting the Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

After lunch at the train station, I took another bus to visit the Great Buddha. Again, autumn foliage awaits.

Big Buddha | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderessautumn foliage | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderessautumn foliage | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Took a walk down the road after leaving Daibutsu’s grounds since I have no more plans in Kamakura.

sunset at Kamakura | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Not too long after, I saw signs leading to Hase-dera, and decided to visit it.

Hase-Kannon Temple (Hase-dera)

Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

The temple grounds have a pretty garden and ponds, an observation deck as well as a small cave where you need to duck to walk through.

(There are many staircases at this place.)

Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite WanderessKamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Hasedera Temple is known for its 9.18m-tall, wooden statue of Kannon (otherwise known as Guanyin – Goddess of Mercy), one of the finest wooden statues in Japan, housed in a hall. To pray for blessings, I lit a little candle and left it there, before leaving to explore the rest of the temple.

Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderessaerial view, Kamakura | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite WanderessBy 4.30pm in the season, the skies in Kamakura were already turning dark.

sunset in Kamakura | Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

The next time I visit Kamakura, I’ll rent a bicycle to get around. With that, I made my way back to Shinjuku, tired but very contented!


How to get to Kamakura from Shinjuku:

Method 1: The JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line train that is bound for Zushi (逗子) will stop at Kamakura (about one hour’s ride).
Method 2: Take JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line train and if the train is bound for Odawara, transfer at Ofuna towards Kamakura.
For other methods, refer to this page.

Tip: Kamakura Free Kankyo Tegata is a useful one-day bus pass which costs 570yen/adult, 290 yen/child, available for purchase at the Tourist Office at Kamakura train station. The bus pass is not available for sale on 1-3 Jan.

Are you intending to visit Kamakura as a day trip the next time you’re in Tokyo?

Visited: Dec 2015
Other resources referenced in this post: Japan-Guide | Kotoku-In

Kamakura Day Trip in autumn • The Petite Wanderess

Total
3
Shares

Join The Petite Wanderess Mailing List

Subscribe today!

5 comments

  1. Hi Kristine! When you left a comment on my blog post about Kamakura, I was eager to read about your impressions of Kamakura in autumn. So, I managed to find your blog; Kamakura looks wonderful in all the autumn colours, and we didn’t get to see the Hokoku-ji temple- maybe that’s something we should visit next time. 🙂
    Thank you for reaching out, looking forward to read more of your travels.

    Greetings,
    Anja

    1. Hi Anja! I’m so happy you came by, thank you! Kamakura indeed was a very mesmerizing place.

      Meanwhile, I will also be checking out your beautiful travel entries! =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*