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Kamakura

Once the capital of the Kamakura Shogunate, which ruled Japan for almost 200 years, modern-day Kamakura is now a quiet, pleasant seaside town with a wealth of well-preserved historical attractions. Surrounded by wooded hills, ocean, and a beautiful beach, Kamakura is a thriving tourist destination.

Among Kamakura's top sights are the Five Zen Temples, the oldest of which dates back to 1188; the ancient Shinto shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, built in 1063; and the massive, imposing Great Buddha of Kamakura, housed within the grounds of Kotokuin Temple.

Once the capital of the Kamakura Shogunate, which ruled Japan for almost 200 years, modern-day Kamakura is now a quiet, pleasant seaside town with a wealth of well-preserved historical attractions. Surrounded by wooded hills, ocean, and a beautiful beach, Kamakura is a thriving tourist destination.

Among Kamakura's top sights are the Five Zen Temples, the oldest of which dates back to 1188; the ancient Shinto shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, built in 1063; and the massive, imposing Great Buddha of Kamakura, housed within the grounds of Kotokuin Temple.

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Five Zen Temples

Take a privately guided walking tour of the city’s renowned Five Zen Temples: Kencho-ji, Engaku-ji, Jufuku-ji, Jochi-ji, and Jomyo-ji; the latter, founded in 1188, was rebuilt in the 1990s, and now hosts a rock garden and tea room, where guests can partake in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Hasedera Temple

Ascend the hills to Hasedera Temple, famous for its massive, 11-headed, 30-foot (10 meter) tall statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Hasedera offers striking views over the city and Sagami Bay.

Kotokuin Temple

Visit Kotokuin Temple, home to one of the most memorable sights in Japan, the Great Buddha of Kamakura. Cast in 1252, the nearly 800-year-old statute sits exposed on the side of a hill, having survived a huge tidal wave in the 15th century that swept away the temple that once housed it. It weighs 121 tons (109 metric tons), is 44 feet (13 meters) tall, with each serene eye measuring 3 feet (1 meter) wide.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

Visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the city’s most important Shinto shrine, founded in 1063. In 2010, the shrine grounds lost a cherished part of its landscape when powerful winds felled the 1,000-year-old, 100-foot (30 meter) tall ginko tree that stood at the steps leading up to the main hall.

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