Places of Interest: Kamakura

Kamakura was the capital of Japan from 1192 to 1333 when more than seventy Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines were built. Kamakura lost all importance when the capital was returned to Kyoto and became a forgotten backwater. Nowadays it is noted for its historic sites, seaside bathing beach, and residential district within commuting distance to Tokyo.

Many of the temples are close together and can be visited on foot the walking trails are well sign posted in English.

One of the major attractions is the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) which was cast in bronze and weighs 850 tonnes. Visitors can climb inside the great statue

ENGAKUJI TEMPLE

A 3 minute walk from JR Kamakura Station. This temple is one of the city's most celebrated Zen Temples. Its various buildings are arranged in a straight line, and the precints shaded by old Japanese cedars. Stone-paved steps, worn down under the tread of visitors, recall the temple's long history.

TOKEIJI TEMPLE

Located at a 10 minute walk from Engakuji, is a Zen temple founded in 1285. It was called a "divorce temple" in feudal days, as the only place of refuge for wives mistreated by their husbands. Nowadays it is popular as a temple of flowers.

KENCHOJI TEMPLE

Only a 15 minute walk from Tokeiji, it is foremost among the Five Great Zen Temples, and it is situated in a grove of magnificent Japanese cedar trees.A bronze bell cast in 1255 is designated a national treasure. On view in the main hall is considered one of the finest examples of art in the Kamajura Period.

TSURUGAOKA HACHIMANGU SHRINE

A 10 minute walk from the station, ranks with the "Daibutsu" (Great Buddha) as one of Kamakura's foremost tourist attractions

KAMAKURA MUSEUM OF NATIONAL TREASURE

It exhibits some 100 items of fine art, sculpture, arts and crafts, and historical documents. Buit in 1928, the museum was contructed on the model of the Shosoin in Nara, resembling a large loghouse on stilts. Open daily from 9:00am to 4:30pm. Admission is charged.

ENOSHIMA ISLAND

It is a scenic islet about 4 km in circumference. Enoshima Shrine is one of the main draws. In older times, fishermen prayed here for a good catch and sailors for a safe voyage. The island is connected to the mainland by the Benten Bridge.

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