Things to do in Kamakura

About Kamakura

The must-see attractions in Kamakura include the iconic Great Buddha of Kamakura, the historic Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, and the picturesque Hokoku-ji Temple with its bamboo grove. Exploring the hiking trails such as the Daibutsu Hiking Course also offers a glimpse into the natural beauty surrounding the city.
For family fun, visiting the Kamakura Daibutsu is educational and impressive for kids, while the Enoshima Island Aquarium offers interactive marine life displays. The sandy shores of Yuigahama Beach provide a perfect spot for children to play and enjoy the sea.
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the scenic trails around the city, enjoy surfing and swimming at the beaches, or explore the many temples and shrines that offer vast grounds for a leisurely walk amidst history and nature.
Indoor activities include experiencing a traditional tea ceremony at Jomyo-ji Temple, exploring the Kamakura Museum of Literature, or enjoying the exhibits at the Kamakura City Kawakita Film Museum.
The best tours in Kamakura often encompass visits to the city's historical sites, such as the Great Buddha and Hase-dera, as well as walking culinary tours sampling local delicacies on Komachi Street.
Popular museums include the Kamakura Museum of National Treasures and the Kamakura Museum of Modern Art. Both offer extensive collections providing insight into Japan's rich cultural tapestry.
On rainy days, visitors can embark on indoor self-guided tours of temples offering covered areas, such as Engaku-ji or Kencho-ji, or take a guided tour of Kamakura's historic museums and galleries.
Short tours in Kamakura include the self-guided walks through Hasedera Temple or the quick yet immersive "Kamakura Highlights" audio tour, covering the city's central landmarks and cultural insight efficiently.

Best Things to Do In Kamakura

Discover the serene beauty and rich history of Kamakura with a range of meticulously curated self-guided audio tours.

Kamakura: Kencho-ji Temple

What is it?
Kamakura’s oldest Zen training monastery offering a glimpse into Japan's medieval spiritual life.
Why you should go?
As a key site for those seeking cultural and spiritual enrichment, Kencho-ji Temple is central to any list of best Kamakura tours. The temple's meticulously maintained grounds and impressive structures, such as the Sanmon gate and the Buddha Hall, provide a peaceful retreat from modern life. The surrounding hills open up to hiking trails, making Kencho-ji a sanctuary for both the heart and the mind.

Kamakura: Hokoku-ji Temple

What is it?
Famous for its majestic bamboo grove, this serene temple is a Zen oasis.
Why you should go?
Also known as the Bamboo Temple, Hokoku-ji is a highlight of Kamakura excursions, allowing visitors to wander through a whispering forest of bamboo. This quiet haven exemplifies the essence of Zen Buddhism and offers a unique opportunity to partake in a traditional tea ceremony amidst the natural beauty—a truly tranquil experience not to be missed.

Kamakura: Engaku-ji Temple

What is it?
A key center for Zen Buddhism, nestled in Kamakura's leafy hills with stunning autumn colors.
Why you should go?
Engaku-ji Temple, known for its impressive main hall and unique Shariden, housing a tooth of Buddha, is one of the essential things to do in Kamakura for those interested in Japanese culture and religion. The beauty of the temple is enhanced in the fall when the surrounding trees are ablaze with color, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere that's perfect for contemplation and photography.

Kamakura: Meigetsu-in Temple

What is it?
A tranquil Zen Buddhist temple renowned for its hydrangea path and circular window views.
Why you should go?
Often referred to as "Hydrangea Temple," Meigetsu-in is a lush, flower-filled sanctuary that offers a stunning display in early summer. The temple's design, particularly the round "window to enlightenment," frames the scenic garden views perfectly, symbolizing the Zen concept of perfection in nature. It's a beautiful place for reflection and photography, making it a favorite among the fun things to do in Kamakura.

Kamakura: Sasuke Inari Shrine

What is it?
A hidden Shinto shrine set in the hills, known for its mystical trails lined with red torii gates and fox statues.
Why you should go?
Sasuke Inari Shrine is a mystical destination, with its pathways leading through verdant woodlands and an atmosphere that feels like stepping into a different world. This shrine offers a peaceful respite and a chance to experience one of Kamakura's enchanting spots, rich with folklore and tradition. While relatively hidden, its unique charm makes it a precious addition to the things to see in Kamakura.

Kamakura: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

What is it?
A spiritual centerpiece in Kamakura, this shrine is steeped in history and tradition.
Why you should go?
Visitors to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine can immerse themselves in the grandeur of Kamakura's most important Shinto shrine. With a majestic approach lined by orange torii gates and cherry trees, the shrine offers a cultural feast for the senses. Seasonal festivals and rituals add to the experience, making it a must-see for anyone exploring the spiritual things to do in Kamakura.

Kamakura: The Great Buddha of Kamakura

What is it?
An iconic colossal bronze Buddha statue residing in the tranquil Kotoku-in temple.
Why you should go?
Among the revered things to see in Kamakura stands the awe-inspiring Great Buddha. This symbol of resilience, having withstood both time and natural disasters, beckons with its serene presence. Visitors are not only captivated by its sheer size and the peacefulness of the temple grounds but also have the rare opportunity to step inside this historical monument, making it a highlight of Kamakura tours.

Kamakura: Hasedera Temple

What is it?
A scenic Buddhist temple known for its stunning gardens and views of Kamakura.
Why you should go?
With its panoramic ocean views and spiritually enriching atmosphere, Hasedera Temple stands out among the places to visit in Kamakura. The temple grounds reveal layers of beauty, from the enchanting pond to the hilltop observatory. The serene ambiance here encourages reflection and admiration, offering an experience that resonates with all who walk its paths.

Kamakura: Enoshima Island

What is it?
A picturesque island offering a blend of natural beauty, cultural sites, and seaside activities.
Why you should go?
Enoshima Island presents a feast of Kamakura activities, from exploring the mysterious Iwaya Caves to visiting Enoshima Shrine. The island, accessible via a scenic bridge from the mainland, provides a refreshing coastal escape. With its lush botanical garden, historic lighthouse, and fresh seafood, Enoshima is a place where adventure and relaxation meet against a backdrop of stunning vistas.

Kamakura: Komachi Street

What is it?
A vibrant shopping avenue in the heart of Kamakura brimming with local boutiques and eateries.
Why you should go?
Komachi Street offers an irresistible combination of shopping, dining, and local flavor that constitutes many fun things to do in Kamakura. Visitors can meander through the bustling marketplace, discovering handcrafted souvenirs, traditional snacks, and unique fashion finds. This lively street is an essential part of any Kamakura excursion, providing a colorful glimpse into the daily life and culture of the city.

TOP-5 tours in Kamakura for first-time visitors

  • Embark on a journey through the ancient streets with the "Historical Kamakura" audio tour, delving into the things to see in Kamakura, including iconic temples and Shinto shrines.
  • Experience cultural immersion with the "Zen & Blossoms" tour, a highlight among the places to visit in Kamakura, offering tranquil gardens and cherry blossom views.
  • The "Samurai Legacy" tour presents a compelling narrative, which is one of the best things to do in Kamakara to understand the city's samurai history and visit well-preserved residences.
  • For those wondering what to do in Kamakura, the "Beachside Bliss" audio trail offers a scenic escape, showcasing coastal charms and maritime heritage.
  • Engage in fun things to do in Kamakura with the "Family Adventure" tour, featuring interactive Kamakura activities that entertain and educate visitors of all ages.

Fun things to do in Kamakura with kids

Kamakura beckons families with a variety of child-friendly attractions that blend education with entertainment. First on the list is the Kamakura Daibutsu - the Great Buddha. This colossal bronze statue is not only a cultural icon but also an adventure for young explorers, especially with the option to go inside the statue. Next, for a dose of nature and wildlife, families can visit the Genjiyama Park, which offers ample space for children to play amidst historical monuments and lush greenery. It's an ideal spot for a picnic and outdoor games. Lastly, a trip to Kamakura's beaches, like Yuigahama, can provide a day full of sun, sand, and sea. Engaging Kamakura activities such as beachcombing, swimming, and building sandcastles will keep the little ones entertained for hours. Combined with educational Kamakura tours and charming local eateries suitable for the whole family, these attractions make the city a gem for visitors with children.

Things to do in Kamakura with family

Kamakura offers a treasure trove of experiences perfect for family outings, combining relaxation, education, and fun. A visit to the iconic Great Buddha of Kamakura provides a memorable encounter with a historical masterpiece, where families can appreciate art and history together. Afterward, the nearby Hasedera Temple, with its stunning views of the ocean and a garden featuring hundreds of Jizo statues, offers a serene atmosphere where family members of all ages can explore and learn about local spirituality and artistry. For a more active adventure, the Enoshima Island is a must-visit. It's a short trip from Kamakura and invites families to discover its lush botanical garden, mysterious caves, and panoramic views of Mount Fuji. These attractions, combined with the city's friendly atmosphere and palpable heritage, make Kamakura an ideal destination for family adventures. Engage with the past and create new memories through these rich cultural experiences.

Free things to do in Kamakura

The historical city of Kamakura offers an abundance of attractions that won't cost a yen, perfect for the budget-savvy traveler. One of the most popular free things to do in Kamakura is to take a leisurely hike along the Daibutsu Hiking Trail. This scenic path, stretching between the Great Buddha and Kita-Kamakura, is lined with ancient temples and lush nature. Another must-visit is the Kamakura Komachidori, a bustling shopping street where visitors can soak in the vibrant atmosphere, window-shop, and sample local treats without a fee. Lastly, the tranquil beach at Zaimokuza provides an idyllic setting for a day out, where families can enjoy the sea breeze, sunsets, and the sound of waves lapping the shore. These activities not only offer insight into Kamakura's rich culture and natural beauty but also prove that memorable experiences don't have to impact your wallet.

Cheap things to do in Kamakura

Exploring Kamakura doesn't have to mean extravagant spending. For an affordable slice of history, visitors can explore the countless shrines and temples that only ask for a small donation, such as the serene Sasuke Inari Shrine with its charming red torii gates. Nature lovers can enjoy Kamakura's stunning coastal walking trails, such as the one leading to the Inamuragasaki Park, offering breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and Sagami Bay at virtually no cost. Meanwhile, the city's markets and street vendors present the perfect opportunity to savor delicious street food like dango and kakigori, providing a taste of local cuisine without breaking the bank. These budget-friendly activities not only promise meaningful experiences at minimal expense but are also a testament to the city's welcoming spirit, showcasing the best things to do in Kamakura for visitors who are mindful of their spending.

Things to do in Kamakura for couples

Kamakura is a romantic backdrop for couples seeking to create unforgettable memories together. An amble through the enchanting bamboo groves of Hokoku-ji Temple offers a tranquil setting, where the whispering winds and verdant green create a natural sanctuary for lovebirds. For those seeking a picturesque outing, the coastal Enoshima Island caters to couples with its breathtaking sea views, mystical caves, and the Enoshima Sea Candle lighthouse, which provides an idyllic vantage point for sunset gazing. Completing the trio of couple-friendly activities is the opportunity to partake in a traditional tea ceremony at Jomyo-ji Temple. Here, couples can unwind in the serene tearoom that overlooks a Zen rock garden, a shared cultural experience that deepens the bond and appreciation for Japanese traditions. Each of these attractions encapsulates the intimate and peaceful essence of Kamakura, making them sought-after experiences for couples.

Things to do in Kamakura at night

As the sun sets, Kamakura reveals a different kind of charm, offering a variety of nocturnal activities. Couples and friends can stroll along the Yuigahama Beach, where the gentle sounds of the waves create a soothing atmosphere for an evening walk. Meanwhile, Komachi Street transforms into a lively hub of activity as lanterns light up the assortment of shops and stalls, inviting nighttime shoppers and food enthusiasts to enjoy local specialties and hunt for souvenirs. For a touch of evening culture, numerous temples around Kamakura occasionally host special night viewings, especially during festivals or full moon nights, giving visitors a chance to see these sacred sites in a new light. Night-time temple visits offer a peaceful respite and a unique perspective on the city's cultural heritage. These experiences are quintessential for making the most of Kamakura after dark, providing lovely memories of Japan's storied past blended with the vibrancy of the present.