Kamakura is only a 50-minute train ride from Tokyo Station and while this seaside town might be overrun by Tokyoites and tourists on the weekend, going there on a weekday is quite a bliss. There are beaches, surfers, a huge Buddha, temples, small shops, restaurants and cafés to explore, as well as the Enoden Line from Kamakura Station that helps you move around the area.
Hase & the Ocean
My first stop was Hase Station, from where I went straight to the ocean. In July and August summer season starts in Japan and the beaches will be more crowded. When I went there in June, however, there were only a few fellow flâneurs, beach-combers and some surfers. While the beach might not be the prettiest in the world, it’s still fun to look at the ocean, to dip your toes into the water and to collect some seashells.
Coffee & Scones at Matsubara-an
From the beach I started walking landwards, exploring the backstreets of Hase. There are some gorgeous old, traditional buildings in the area. I ended up having coffee & scones at the lovely café in the back of Matsubara-an. The place had a great 1930s vibe to it, and the scones were delicious. If I ever get to come back to Kamakura, I want to try out the restaurant too.
Daibutsu – the Great Buddha of Kamakura
While there are many temples and shrines in Kamakura, you have to see Daibutsu, the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Being the second largest Bronze Statue in Japan at 11.4 metres, he is quite the sight. Initially, the statue was housed in a temple that was destroyed by typhoons and tsunamis on several occasions. Since the mid-15th century, the Buddha has been left standing in the open air. It’s astonishing how old this thing is, and I love how it is silhouetted against the luscious green trees surrounding the site. You can visit the interior of the statue if you want to, but I feel like looking at it from the outside is stunning enough.
On the streets to and from Daibutsu, you can find lots of shops, selling souvenirs, the local delicatessen, beauty products, paper and many other beautiful things. You can never escape a shopping opportunity in Japan, I guess.
Ending the Day in Enoshima
While there is probably much more to explore in Hase and along the Enoden Line, I eventually decided to take the train onwards to Enoshima. There I bought some snacks and Asahi at Seven Eleven and headed to the beach to relax before taking the train back to Tokyo. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day by the sea.