Kamakura became the political centre of Japan when Minamoto Yoritomo chose the city as the seat for his new military government in 1192. The Kamakura government continued to rule Japan for over a century, first under the Minamoto shogun and then under the Hojo regents.
After the decline of this government in the 14th century and the establishment of its successor, the Muromachi or Ashikaga government in Kyoto, Kamakura remained the political centre of Eastern Japan for some time, before losing its position to other cities.
Today, Kamakura is a small city and a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, the town has numerous temples, shrines and other historic monuments. In addition, its sandy beaches attract large crowds during the summer months.
The town is just a little too big to cover on foot, but a network of buses radiates out from the train station. Kotokuin and Hasedera temples can also be reached by taking the Enoden line three stops out to Hase station. Another option is to rent a bicycle: there are numerous rental locations in the city, including one immediately to your right as you exit the station.
The town is noted for its senbei, which are crisp rice cakes grilled and sold fresh along the main shopping street. Kamakura is also famous for hatosabure – a biscuit shaped like a pigeon – sold next to the station and a very popular omiyage (souvenir) among the Japanese.
- From Tokyo to Kamakura by train (JR Yokosuka Line) (55min)
- From Shin-Osaka to Shin Yokohama by train (JR Tokaido Shinkansen “Hikari”) and then to Higashi Kanagawa (JR Yokohama Line) where passengers go to Yokohama (JR Keihin Tohoku Line) and finally to Kamakura (JR Yokosuka Line) (3h25)
Kamakura on our Google map