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Kamakura is a coastal town in Kanagawa prefecture, less than one hour south of Tokyo

Kamakura became the political center of Japan when Minamoto Yorimoto chose the city as the seat of his new military government in 1192. The Kamakura government continued to rule Japan for over a century, first under the Minamoto shogun and then under the Hojo regents.

After the decline of the Kamakura government in the 14th century and the establishment of its successor, the Muromachi  goverment in Kyoto, Kamakura remained the political center of Eastern Japan for some time before losing its position to other cities.

Today, Kamakura is a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. In addition, Kamakura’s sandy beaches attract large crowds during the summer months.

The impressive site in this ancient city and religious centre is the photogenic Daibutsu (above), a giant 90-ton bronze statue of the Buddha. The statue has an amazing history: Cast in the 13th century, it originally was housed in a temple about a mile farther inland. In 1452, a giant tsunami washed the temple away and carried the Buddha to its present location. In addition to Daibutsu, the city also has 18 ancient shrines and 65 temples - Tsuregaoka Hachimangu and Kamakuragu are notable shrines; Kenchoji and Tokeiji are good temples to visit. Be sure to see the Nagao Museum (traditional Japanese art) and the Modern Art Museum, designed by a Japanese student of Le Corbusier. You also can take a ride on the Enoden, a tiny, old train that runs from Kamakura to Fujisawa, just southwest of Yokohama - the train will give you a unique glimpse of the countryside (and some people’s backyards). 30 mi/50 km south of Tokyo.


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