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Model course 1 : Walk in the silence of the Samurai City

Kamakura is a small town but visitors are often confused about the best places to visit.On Kamakura Info, we suggest 5 courses that will enable people to enjoy the various facets of Kamakura.

Free Guided Tour

Model Course 1 : Walk in the silence of the Samurai City

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From the east exit Kamakura Station, walk out to Wakamiya Oji, the main street, and turn left. Walk on and you will soon see a huge vermilion-colored torii gate (Ni-no-torii),protected by two stone guardian dogs.

Dankazura
Dankazura

We suggest you walk along the raised pedestrian pathway, known as Dankazura. Thanks to the ingenious strategy of making the width of the pathway narrower as it progresses, the approach from the sea to the great Hachimangu Shrine appears to be longer than it really is. ln April, the walk is lined by hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom.

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Yoritomo’s grave

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Egara Tenjinsha Shrine

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Kamakuragu Shrine

After passing through San-no-Torii,you can see Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine immediately. The view of the shrine with the shrine grove in the background which appears through the arched bridge is one of the symbols of Kamakura.
It’s not too much to say that many dramas of samurai government often unfolded on the stage here at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
In the precincts of the shrine, there’s a commanding atmosphere that speaks to its role as a sanctuary of the Samurai.

Take a walk to Kamakuragu Shrine past Yabusame-baba(Mounted archery track). If you come to Seisen elementary school, there’s a monument of Ōkura-Bakufu-ato (historic spot). Yoritomo established public offices such as board of retainers and government office in this place as a center of politics. Proceeding onwards you will see Yoritomo’s grave. It is an austere grave for the man whose name is synonymous with Kamakura, but from this stone monument which has stood in storm and snow for nearly one thousand years, you may feel a sense of the history it contained here.

Take a left at the Wakaremichi traffic light, passing Egara Tenjinsha Shrine and Kamakuragu Shrine is at the end.Kamakuragu Shrine is a new shrine erected by Emperor Meiji in 1869 upon the spot of the gallant Prince Moriyoshi’s imprisonment and execution. A dungeon where the prince was imprisoned is around the back of the shrine but these days the shrine plays host to “Takigi Noh” (Noh (theater) performed at night by a fire in autumn.

Take a left at Kamakuragu Shrine, there’s Kakuonji Temple which has been maintained in the architectural traditions of the Kamakura period. The opening hours are set, so please check the time before you visit. If you stand in front of Yakushido which is one of a few temples that has a thatched roof, you will feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the age of the Samurai. The quaint beauty of this temple makes it difficult to leave.

Go back to Kamakuragu Shrine and head for Site of Yofukuji Temple. It is said that Yofukuji Temple in the past was a large temple edifice that resembled Hiraizumi Chusonji Temple. The place name “Nikaido” around there came from its look (Nikaido stands for two-storied building).

Zuisenji Temple
Zuisenji Temple

Take the right side slope at Site of Yofukuji Temple, then Zuisenji Temple appears. The stone-steps to the precincts bring the flavor of an ancient temple. Zuisenji Temple is famous for its bountiful floral calendar such as plum in early spring, bellflower, peony and Japanese bush clover. The precincts of the temple are filled with beauty of every season. As a further appreciation of this great Temple, please view the stone gardens which were created by the great Zen teacher Muso Soseki.
The simple gardens of rocks and water are a form of Zen meditation and should be enjoyed for that virtue. The stone monuments of 3 prominent intellectuals, Yoshida Shoin, Oya Soichi, and Yamazaki Hodai should not be missed.