Kanagawa

Kamakura

Journeys through Japanese legends

Kamakura

Kamakura is where Minamoto no Yoritomo, who defeated the Heike Clan, established the first samurai government. On the occasion of the formation of the shogunate, this cold seaside village became the center of Japan, and many temples and shrines such as the Kamakura’s Hall of the Great Buddha and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine were built. Kamakura owes much of its charm to its rich nature, the result of being surrounded by mountains on three sides, with the remaining side facing the sea. Walking through the history of Kamakura in autumn when the mountains are ablaze with autumn leaves is particularly enjoyable.

Asaina Pass, an autumn landmark

Owing to its situation facing the sea and being surrounded by mountains on three sides, in the past, people who wished to go to or leave Kamakura had to go through steep hills. The pass was created as a solution. Opening up a pass through mountains and hills was also beneficial for boosting offensive and defensive power against external enemies in medieval times. The Kanazawa Kaido Road, known as the “salt road,” and the Asaina Pass built during the Kamakura period are precious historical sites where remnants of the old roads still remain. The Asaina Pass is also known as Kamakura’s best vantage point for admiring the sight of autumn leaves.

The rocky cost associated with Minamoto no Yoritomo

After visiting the historic sites of Kamakura, you may want to venture further out to the Manazuru Peninsula and the rocky coast that faces Sagami Bay as well as Kamakura. When Yoritomo and his men were defeated at the Battle of Ishibashiyama that took place near Cape Manazuru and he fled by boat to Awa Province, just barely saving his life, this rocky coast is said to have been the one he sailed from. This location may be said to have been Yoritomo faced his greatest challenge of the Genpei War. A monument to Yoritomo’s escape by boat on that day stands on this ragged coast.

For lunch, try shirasu-don, a local delicacy

If you visit the Kamakura/Enoshima area, you ought to try shirasu-don for lunch. This is a dish consisting of a generous serving of dried shirasu (whitebait) over rice. Some establishments offer also “nama shirasu-don,” where the shirasu is served raw rather than dried.

Yokohama Chinatown, a gourmet heaven

Along with Nagasaki Chinatown and Kobe Nankinmachi, Yokohama Chinatown is one of the three biggest Chinatowns in Japan. How about dropping by this gourmet paradise full of Chinese restaurants on your way to or back from sightseeing in Kamakura?

INFORMATION

Location/Access Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture
About 1 hour 30 minutes by limousine bus from Haneda Airport (JR Kamakura Station)
Manazuru-machi, Ashigara-gun, Kanagawa About 1 hour 45 minutes by train from Haneda Airport (JR Manazuru Station)
Inquiries Kamakura City Tourist Association
Tel: 0467-23-3050
http://www.kamakura-info.jp/

Manazuru-machi Tourist Association
Tel: 0465-68-2543
http://www.manazuru.net/

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