Julie Japan 6 Comments

Kamakura is a small town located an hour south of Tokyo. Referred to as the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, tourists flock here to visit the Great Buddha and numerous temples. During the summer months, the beaches here attract many visitors. On clear days, Mount Fuji can be seen from Enoshima. A Kamakura day trip is perfect for those wanting to escape the crowds and congestion of Tokyo.

Getting to Kamakura

The average travel time between Tokyo and Kamakura ranges from 60 to 90 minutes. There are three train lines that connect the two cities.

JR Yokosuka Line. The fastest way to Kamakura. One hour from Tokyo Station to Kamakura.

JR Shonan Shinjuku Line. One hour from Shinjuku Station to Kamakura.

Enoshima Kamakura Free Pass. The cheapest way to visit Kamakura. The pass provides unlimited access on the Enoden line. The journey from Tokyo to Kamakura takes 90 minutes one way.

Getting Around Kamakura

Most of Kamakura’s main sites are located around the train stations of Kamakura, Kita-Kamakura, and Hase. Use buses and taxis to get to the more remote temples. For those with extra energy or want to get off of the beaten path, hiking trails connect the more popular temples.

Enoden Line Kamakura

Tim and Kara getting on the Enoden train at Kamakura Station.

Best Things to Do in Kamakura

Great Buddha of Kamakura

The Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple is Kamakura’s most popular attraction. Also called Daibutsu, this is the second tallest Buddha in Japan (the tallest is in Todaiji Temple in Nara).

While you are here, you have the option to enter the Buddha. The price is a bit expensive and we did it, just to say we went inside the Buddha. Plus, it was raining, so at least for a minute or two we could stay dry.

Getting here: Take the Enoden line from Kamakura Station to Hase. From Hase Station it is a 5 to 10 minute walk to Kotokuin Temple, the location of the Great Buddha.

Day Trip to Kamakura

Daibutsu Great Buddha of Kamakura
Photographing Kamakura

Hase-Dera Temple

This is a beautiful temple located on a hillside overlooking the ocean. The best part of Hase-Dera is seeing the hundreds of small statues of the Jizo Bodhisattva that line the walkways up the hillside. This is a beautiful place to visit in June when the hydrangeas are in bloom.

Getting here: It is a five minute walk from Hase Station and the Great Buddha.

Hase-dera Japan

Hase-dera Day Trip

Flowers in Japan

Hasedera Kamakura

Hasedera Kamakura

Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple)

This is another very popular temple. The highlight is the bamboo forest, similar to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, just on a smaller scale.

Getting here: Either walk the 30 – 40 minutes from Kamakura Station or take bus 23, 24, or 36 (10 minutes from Kamakura Station).

Kenchoji Temple

This temple is actually a complex of buildings and is the location of the oldest Zen training monastery. On a clear day, Mt Fuji can be seen from the temple.

Getting here:  15-20 minute walk from the Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line.

Engakuji Temple

This is one of Kamakura’s great Zen temples and a beautiful place to visit in the fall. The numerous maple trees are one of the highlights of this temple.

Getting Here: Engakuji Temple is a short walk from Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Tokosuka Line.


Enoshima is an island that is very popular with tourists. What draws so many people here? The views of Mt Fuji on a clear day, shrines, caves to explore, an aquarium, and a rugged coastline to explore.

Getting here: From Kamakura, take the Enoden line to Enoshima Station (25 minutes).

Kamakura Hiking Trails

For those who want to hike through the wooded hills of Kamakura, these trails are perfect. Three different trails connect the most popular temples. Good walking shoes are recommended and this should only be done during dry weather.

For more information on the hiking trails, visit the Japan Guide website.

About Our Experience

We visited Kamakura on a day trip from Tokyo in July. A typhoon was just making landfall, cutting our visit short. Therefore, we were only able to visit the Great Buddha and Hase-Dera Temple. We would have loved to hike the trails and tour the other temples.

More Information for Your Trip to Japan

KYOTO: Travel through Kyoto in Photos, learn about the best things to do in Kyoto, and read about our first impressions of Osaka and Kyoto.

DAY TRIPS FROM KYOTO: There are several great day trips you can take from Kyoto, including Himeji Castle, Hiroshima, and beautiful Nara, Japan.

TOKYO: Journey through Tokyo in photos.

SUMO WRESTLING: Watching Sumo wrestling is one of the best things to do in Japan. We write about our experience and get tips on how you can do the same in our article How to Watch Sumo Wrestling in Japan.

DESTINATIONS AROUND THE WORLD: For more places to visit around the world, check out our Destinations page.

Planning a trip to Japan? Read all of our articles in our Japan Travel Guide.



Day Trip to Kamakura Japan from Tokyo


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Comments 6

  1. Avatar for Krish


    I’m planning to have a visit to Kamakura and Enoshima by car from Shinjuku(Since I got aged people with me who finds it difficult to travel by trains)

    I would like to know the best places to be visited by car considering the parking availability and all. I’m not that interested in visiting many temples as I come from land of temples 🙂 I would like to avoid places where a lot of walking/steep trails are there even if coming by car.

    I have already tried out day trips to Fuji, Gunma etc from Tokyo and didn’t get much bothered by the traffic.

    It will be really great to know some popular one day trips by car from Tokyo.


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Krish. I don’t know much about parking around Kamakura since we did this by train. You could check the tourism website for Kamakura and/or Enoshima to see what they recommend for parking. From what we saw, there weren’t many steps at the temples, but our visit was cut short by the typhoon. The only day trips we took from Tokyo were this one, watching Sumo wrestling in Nagoya, and I know that you can visit Mt Fuji and viewpoints of Fuji from Tokyo. For more info, google “best day trips from Tokyo by car” and I’m sure you’ll find a lot of info on the internet. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Tam

    Thanks Earth Trekkers for your wonderful guide! You took such great pictures of Kamakura… one of my favorite places in Japan. I just went to the “bamboo temple” for the first time last week and loved it. I really recommend walking the Daibutsu trail sometime which takes you away from most tourists (still ends up at the Buddha though). Hope you don’t mind but I linked your blog in my own about the trail (http://freshcoffeestains.com/daibutsu-trail/). Thanks again!

    Tam @ http://freshcoffeestains.com/daibutsu-trail/

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Danielle & Adam
    Danielle & Adam

    Hi! My husband and I are going to Japan next week and plan to take a day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo. We love the idea of wandering around to see the various temples and tend to be independent travelers. However, when we have visited temples in other countries, such as Vietnam and India, we found it really helpful to have a guide with us to explain the cultural/historical significance of the various buildings and objects. Do you think this would be worthwhile in Kamakura, or is it best to just wander on your own? Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Whether or not you have guide depends on what you want to get out of it. We tend to be wanderers without a guide. The temples in Japan seem perfect for it. They are beautiful, tranquil, and peaceful. In my opinion, a guide may take away from that part of the experience. But that’s just my opinion. You could do a little research about the temples before you arrive, so you know what you are looking at. Usually, a good guidebook will give enough information. Then you are not walking around aimlessly. Enjoy Japan, it’s such a unique country. Cheers, Julie

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