Tokyo is wonderful. However, sometimes you just want to get away from all the towering skyscrapers and the modern world.
If you have tried the many hikes in and around Tokyo but are still hungry for more, then we recommend the tranquil trails of Kamakura.
Kamakura is one of Japan’s most popular tourist spots. It is wall-to-wall with shrines, temples, shopping districts, and history, and at just an hour away from Tokyo, it makes the perfect plan-b for those that want to experience traditional Japanese culture without footing the bill for a visit to Kyoto. In fact, Kamakura is so similar to Kyoto, that it has earned the nickname “Little Kyoto”.
How to get to Kamakura
Hiking doesn’t cost a thing, but you do have to pay for the train to get there.
You can get to Kamakura directly from many stations in Tokyo, including Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo Station. It takes around an hour and costs under ¥1,000 one way (or free if you have the Japan Rail Pass). For more on the best way to get to Kamakura, including the Enoshima–Kamakura Free Pass, check out our full article.
Top tip: Here’s where you can find hiking gear in Tokyo.
Hiking Trails in Kamakura
Once you’re at Kamakura, you have three famous trails to choose from: The Daibutsu Hiking Trail in the west, the Tenen Hiking Trail in the north, and the Gionyama Hiking Trail in the east. Each offers a different experience and level of difficulty. While hiking, be on the lookout for hidden shrines and forgotten tombs.
All the entrances to the hiking courses are just a short walk (or bus ride if you’re lazy) away from Kamakura station, and there are maps everywhere pointing you in the right direction. The best part is that all of them connect to some of Kamakura’s best and most well-known sights.
Daibutsu Hiking Trail
The west side of town is home to the Daibutsu Hiking Trail. It stretches from Kita-Kamakura Station, past Tōkeiji Temple and Jōchiji Temple, through the hills to The Great Buddha and Hasedera Temple. In total, it takes about 60–90 minutes to complete.
A cool trait about the western course is that following it will lead you to Itsuki Garden, an open-air café terrace just sitting in the middle of the mountain offering food and drinks. It is a nice place to check out and maybe get a piece of cake, but it isn’t cheap.
Tenen Hiking Trail
It starts at Kenchōji Temple and curves around the northern hills, past Shishimai Valley and ends at Zuisenji Temple, also taking about 60–90 minutes to finish. There are more tombs along the way and plenty of chances to see beautiful autumnal leaves if you happen to be there in the fall.
Gionyama Hiking Trail
The Gionyama Trail is the shortest of the three and takes only about 30 minutes to complete. It begins nearby Kamakura Station at the Myohonji Temple and leads to the Yagumo Shrine and the Harakiri Yagura (cave tombs) as well as provides lovely views of the city. If you plan it right, you should save the eastern trail for last because it offers the best views of the coastal town at sunset.
Be sure to read our Kamakura mega guide for more ways to have fun in the area.