A short hike that takes you from Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅 to the Great Buddha 大仏. There’s lots of interesting shrines to see on the way, and a large park where you can have a picnic lunch. A nice alternative to the crowded tourist areas in Kamakura 鎌倉. Suitable for families, but not many shops if you need to buy food.
If you are interested in this hike, you might also be interested in the Kamakura Ten-en Hiking Course.
Duration: 60-90 minutes
Season: Suitable all year
Starting point: Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅
Finishing point: Kotoku-In (Great Buddha) 高徳院(大仏)
This map of the hike can also be viewed at GPSies
There are a number of nice walks in the hills surrounding Kamakura 鎌倉. The Mapple website has a map of the area that includes trails – http://map.mapple.net/_mdspot_sc40000_sidG01401136102_lon139.5506925_lat35.3307686111111/index.htm, but is only in Japanese. The trail head for the Daibutsu course is marked by the flag, and trails are marked with a blue dashed line.
From Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅, take the south west exit and head out to the main road. Before leaving the station area, it’s possible to access Engakuji Temple 円覚寺, the second in Kamakura’s top five Zen temples, from the east side. Continuing on the west side of the tracks, take a left and follow the road for about 5 minutes. On the right you will pass Shokozan-Tokeiji Temple 松岡山 東慶寺. This used to be a nunnery that was also a sanctuary for women seeking a divorce. Grounds include a garden and Treasure house, and entrance is 100yen (not including the Treasure house, which is a further 300yen). Another 5 minutes along the road, and you will see Jochiji Temple 浄智寺 on the right. This is the start of the trail.
Jochiji Temple 浄智寺 is another of the five main Zen temples of Kamakura. Grounds include a garden, well, bell tower, and statue of the god of luck. Entrance is 200yen. To continue hiking, follow the road alongside the temple on the left. At the end of the road the trail heads up into the hills. Follow this path to Kuzuharagaoka Shrine 葛原ヶ岡 and Genjiyama park 源氏山公園. Kuzuharagaoka 葛原ヶ岡 is a shrine built on an execution ground from the Kamakura Period. From here the park is along the path to the right. This is a good place to stop and rest.
In approximately the middle of the park is a road to the right leading down to Zeniarai Benten Shrine 銭荒弁天. Here you can wash your money to make it double, or buy a talisman that a priest will bless by striking a flint over it. The shrine is on the right of the road through a stone tunnel. Once you are finished here, continue down the road to the residential area. Follow the road until you reach a Y intersection leading to the right with signs pointing to Sasuke Inari Shrine 佐助稲荷. Walk along this road to the end and up the stairs to the shrine. Keep climbing the stairs that lead up behind the shrine until you reach the top (don’t worry, it’s not far!) At the top you can rejoin the Daibutsu Hiking Course 大仏ハイキングコース by turning left.
The rest of this trail only takes about 20 minutes to finish, and you will come down hill and exit on Route 32 next to a tunnel. Just turn left and follow the road to the next corner, then turn left again. On the left is Kotoku-In 高徳院 and the Great Buddha 大仏. Entrance is 200yen, and an extra 20yen if you want to enter the Buddha. The Kamakura Daibutsu 大仏 is the largest outdoor Buddha in Japan and certainly worth a look.
To and From
From Tokyo 東京, catch the JR Yokosuka line 横須賀線 to Kita Kamakura 北鎌倉駅. It takes 50 minutes and costs 780yen. Or from Shinjuku 新宿 you can catch the JR Shonan Shinjuku line 湘南新宿線 to Kita Kamakura 北鎌倉駅. It takes 52 minutes and costs 890yen. Trains run regularly on these lines. Sometimes a train won’t take you the whole distance and you might need to change to go further on.
From Kotoku-In 高徳院 buses leave regularly from the entrance to Kamakura Station 鎌倉駅 for 190yen approximately. Or you can walk the 1.4km back to the station.
Kamakura Today http://www.kamakuratoday.com/e/index.html an English site with information on the sites in Kamakura
Tokeiji Temple http://www.tokeiji.com/pc/en/
Mapple Map of Kamakura in Japanese http://map.mapple.net/_mdspot_sc40000_sidG01401136102_lon139.5506925_lat35.3307686111111/index.htm
Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=krlwluqtzmqdquny
Daibutsu (Great Buddha) 大仏
Hiking Course ハイキングコース
Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅
Shokozan-Tokeiji 松岡山 東慶寺
Genjiyama Park 源氏山公園
Zeniarai Benten 銭荒弁天
Sasuke Inari 佐助稲荷
Yokosuka line 横須賀線
Shonan Shinjuku line 湘南新宿線