It is the most important sanctuary (just during the new year’s holidays it hosts 2 million visitors). From Kamakura Station you’ll be on the city’s main street, which is actually an old path that comes from the sea to the sanctuary. It takes about 15 minutes walking north. Open from 5:00 (6:00 October to March) 21:00, free admission.
Founded in 1063, it is dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war and the samurai, that’s why is held biannually (April and September) a display of sitting backwards archery from a galloping horse. I have very good memories of this place, since some kind of event was celebrating (unfortunately not the archery on horseback), so despite the rain the atmosphere was festive; it was crowded and most children and some adults were dressed in traditional costume.
It is famous for its bamboo forest, which I was unaware at the time, so I didn’t go. A 20-minute walk east of the former temple, or 10 minutes by bus from Kamakura Station (buses 23, 24 or 36). Open daily from 9:00 to 16:00, admission ¥ 200 or ¥ 500 if you want to participate in a tea ceremony, which is not bad to do once on a trip to Japan.
I did go to this one. It is a 10 minute walk north of Hachiman-gu. There are many buildings, some with traditional thatched roofs, gardens and a hall famous for a painting of a dragon on the ceiling. Open daily from 8:30 to 16:30, admission ¥ 300. From this temple starts a path that climbs the mountain and ends at the Hokoku-ji (I have not walked it).
A 15-minute walk from prior, northwesterly, close to the station Kita-Kamamura. The highlight is the largest bronze bell in the city. Open from 8:00 to 16:30 daily, admission ¥ 300.
FROM KITA-KAMAKURA STATION TO THE BUDDHA
Unless it rains or you are not wearing appropriate footwear, walking the Daibutsu path (Great Buddha) is strongly recommend. Begins at Tokei-ji Temple, immediately south of the station, and ends north of the Big Buddha. It takes approximately 40 minutes.
THE GREAT BUDDHA
Undoubtedly, the icon of the city is the sitting Buddha, 11,5 m high (13’3 including pedestal) and 850 tonnes, the second largest of its kind in Japan following the one in Nara. Made in 1252 in bronze, hollow inside, it belongs to Kotoku-in temple. Open daily from 8:00 to 17:00, admission ¥ 200 (¥ 20 more if you want to enter the statue).
Initially it was inside a building, but in 1495 a tsunami destroyed it; since then, the statue has been outdoors.
The latter temple is supposedly famous for its statue of the goddess Kannon, but the truth is that what tourists love are shaped stone statues of smiling monks. I pass by the gate but did not enter.