Kamakura & Enoshima One Day Trip

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IF I have to pick a place to live in in the Greater Tokyo Area, I would pick Kamakura to live in.


The laid-back vibe of the seaside city and people, coupled with the fact that it's just an hour away from the bustling and overwhelming city of Tokyo, makes it an attractive place to live in. The people of Kamakura also feel genuinely friendlier, though I imagine they might not be very pleased about their touristy status on the weekends. 

I went to Kamakura on a Monday, utilising the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass from the Odakyu Line. Odakyu has an office at Shinjuku station, staffed with people who speak English/ Chinese/ Thai and so on. At the same time, I also bought the Hakone Freepass, so both set me back around ¥8,000 or so.

I've always wanted to visit Kamakura - it was a place that was often mentioned in my Japanese classes in university. Just being able to sit in an Enoden, looking out at the sea views, and knowing that I'm finally visiting the place I've pretended to visit in role-playing classes was pretty... magical. 

For Kamakura, I had my itinerary planned out like this:

1. Kotoku-in, the Great Buddha temple,
2. Hase-dera, Goddess of Mercy temple,
3. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine,
4. Good Mellows burger cafe for an early dinner, and 
5. Enoshima.

It was a good mix of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrine, plus some light sightseeing. If you're taking the Odakyu line, do remember to check when the last train departs, otherwise you'd be stuck in Kamakura (all things considered, not such a bad thing to be, but still). 

When I got to Kamakura, my first concern was food! I checked TripAdvisor, and many reviews were raving about the Turkish kebab store in Kamakura.

Me: "Ok?"

Being a sheep, of course I went to try it out.


Honestly? The owner is worth meeting just as much as his kebabs are worth eating. He was such an exuberant character, laughing and chatting away with us. He must have quite the story, along with his wife, to decide on setting up a tiny (and it WAS tiny) kebab store in Kamakura, along the touristy street that led up to Kotoku-in.

I got the kebab sandwich with mixed sauce. It was a pretty good pick-me-up snack - you can even have the kebab with rice if your stomach allows for it.

When I was eating inside, an Asian couple (South-East Asian of Chinese origin, from their accent) came by and started questioning the owner on what he sold in English. The owner, in a *friendly* manner, pointed to his menu and said:

"You can't read?"

😂

Some extra sensitive soul may find this rude, but hey, man has a point.


Even though I really wanted to see the bronze Buddha statue, once I got into Kotoku-in there really wasn't much to see. For an extra fee, one could go under the statue to have a look around at the foundation, but it didn't have an appeal to us.

I did, however, find the English descriptions for the charms sold to be hilarious (I can think of several people I want to buy senility prevention for...). I bought a charm for "money attraction" (because girlfriend needs money~).

There was also Buddha beer sold on the premises.

I love Japan.

I vastly preferred Hase-dera as a temple to visit. It was bigger in size, and had more elements of nature to look at, with koi fishes and trimmed trees, and the cutest statues.








Look at that sea view! There was also a vegetarian restaurant in the premises, a museum on the Goddess of Mercy, underground caves to explore, and more steps to hike up for a higher view point.

I got a fortune at Hase-dera, too,  named the "nagomikuji". It was basically a slip of paper which I selected from a small box, and had to dip into a bowl of water in order for the words to reveal themselves.

I got good fortune for the year in terms of work, academic (hahaha), love (apparently I'll be having an exciting meeting in 2018, which I'm still waiting for...), and health.

Oh well, we'll see.

We got slightly lost on the way to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine due to not being able to read Google Maps (also, Internet connection was TERRIBLE in Japan, ugh never using Travel Recommends again), but it was fun to see how Kamakura residents lived. There were poodle-shaped mailboxes, clean drains (the water in their drains are CLEAR!), and even an Amish cafe.

Kamakura is just full of interesting surprises.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu was crowded, filled with tourists even on a Monday (lots of school kids around, for some reason). We were practically shooed away after we were done with our prayers at the shrine by a shrine guard, so it didn't feel THAT tranquil.

Not sure if early December is a good time to visit Japan, what with people having school holidays and all.

However, nature in the shrine was at peak autumn sighting, to make up for the crowds.

It was gorgeous!



So dreamy. So magical (especially with light filters). I love autumn.

We then walked from the shrine (there was so much walking involved in this trip, and YET I still gained weight, must be all those late-night ramen...) to Good Mellows, another place TripAdvisor recommended me.

A burger joint near a park and facing the sea, we were the only ones there in the late afternoon on a cold autumn day. I imagine it would have been a livelier place in the summer, when surfers could come by and sit outside on the patio.


The staff was friendly, the couch was comfortable, and the burger and fries were yummy. I would definitely go back if I lived in Kamakura.

There was JUST enough time to go to Enoshima, and to get back before the last train departed, so off we went. There was a 1.4km walk from Enoshima station to the actual island itself, so we definitely burned off our burgers in the to-and-fro.

Enoshima is famous for its public baths, but we didn't get to go to any. There was winter illuminations in Samuel Cocking Garden, so we walked some more to get to the top (sometimes, I feel Japan is not a country for the unfit...).

The winter illuminations were pretty, but the view of Kamakura from Enoshima was prettier to me.




I WANT TO LIVE HERE. 

The main attraction of Enoshima to me, wasn't in the public baths or the illuminations. Oh no. The main attraction of Enoshima in autumn, to me, was... the cats.



There were just so many plump cats dotted around the island - we counted at least six or seven. They were also friendly, and allowed humans to touch them.

SO FLUFFY.

This one... even jumped into my lap as I sat down.


The cat gods love me. T_T I LOVE YOU TOO.

I can also confirm that the cats in Enoshima/ Kamakura are so much friendlier than the cats in Tokyo (much like the people, haha). I found another plump cat in Tokyo and it just ran away from me, WHEN ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS TO LOVE IT. WHY WON'T YOU LET ME LOVE YOU.

My verdict on Kamakura? I wished I had decided to spend a night there, instead of doing a rushed one day trip. I can see myself sitting leisurely in Verve Kamakura, or the gorgeous Starbucks Kamakura, and just people-watch all day while reading a book, or hiking, or exploring more of Enoshima in the day, or just hunting for more cats to love. ❤️

I'll definitely go back to Kamakura.

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