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Kamakura Travel Guide
鎌倉

Kamakura Daibutsu

The Daibutsu at Kotoku-in.

Kamakura beach

Beach view of Kamakura.

Hasadera Temple in Kamakura

Entrance Hasadera temple in Kamakura.

Kamakura Daibutsu

The head of the Daibutsu among the treetops.

Hachiman-gu Tsurugaoku

Queue in front of the Hachiman-gu shrine Tsurugaoku to January.

Kamakura : The Zen Capital of Japan

The former Japanese capital, which has now become Tokyo's top seaside resort, Kamakura retains vestiges of its former glory ...

By choosing to establish, in 1192, the political and military center of Japan in Kamakura, the shogun (war general) Minamoto no Yoritomo permanently metamorphosed the small town near Tokyo .

Having emerged victorious from the long civil war between the Minamoto and Taira clans, he established the first samurai government of the country. Thus commenced the Kamakura shogunate (1192-1333).

Zen influence

The introduction of Zen Buddhism on Japanese soil in the same period - led by the monk Eisai, founder of the Rinzai Zen Sect, returning from a trip to China - profoundly changed the face of the former capital. In total, the city has 65 Buddhist temples.

Among them, the superb Kenchô-ji Temple and its many secondary buildings. It is the first of the five great Zen temples (Gozan) of the Rinzai school of Kamakura, followed by Engaku-ji, Jochi-ji-ji and Jufuku Jômyô-ji.

To the east, perched on the hills above the city, Hase-dera temple offers stunning views of the bay. Inside, an impressive gold statue of Kannon gives the place a mystical charm.

Read also : Zen in Japan

Back from Nara

Not far away, the Great Buddha overlooks the surrounding treetops. Partially hidden within Kotoku-in temple, it is the star of Kamakura!

This Daibutsu Bronze 11.3 meters in height ordered by Minamoto no Yoritomo, had to compete with the Nara Buddha .

The best way to get there: Take the "Daibutsu hiking trail." It leads you to the heart of the city, towards roads lined with temples and shrines.

Expressions of grandeur

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu , the largest sanctuary in Kamakura embodies the rule of the Minamoto. Here in this place dedicated to the god of war Hachiman, historical symbols abound. Having destroyed the Taira clan, Yoritomo affirms his superiority through the external architecture (ponds, islands ...) of the sanctuary.

Each year Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu attracts more than 9 million visitors. On January 1st, the faithful flock to the ritual prayer. Later, in April, it hosts one of Japan's most beloved ancestral ceremonies, Yabusame; samurai training that combined both archery and horse riding.

Kamakura : Surfers paradise

But the city does not only owe its success to its history. It is also the rendezvous point for many surfers! Only an hour by train from Tokyo, the beaches of Kamakura indeed offer good waves...
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