Just about an hour south of Tokyo, the laid-back coastal town of Kamakura, Japan is the perfect place for a day trip. Once the capital of Japan from 1192 to 1333, Kamakura today is filled with an array of scenic temples, bamboo groves, chilled cafes, cute boutiques - and of course the Great Buddha.
While beautiful in any season, Kamakura is especially pleasant in late spring/early summer, when it's sunny, warm and breezy - and clear enough to afford serene postcard-perfect views of Mt. Fuji.
But to really enjoy the area, we recommend renting a bicycle. Not only can you enjoy the refreshing wind, but you can expand your range and stop by places of interest, and take in the scenery without getting tired out. Here we'll introduce two bicycle rental shops in Kamakura and suggest a simple itinerary.
We arrived at Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. The impressive pine trees that lined Wakamiya Oji (a street in Kamakura), which leads to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura), and its wide footpath left a strong impression. It's a street that represents the past and present of Kamakura.
It's worthy to note that "GROVE Kamakura" specializes in mountain bikes. If you're interested in mountain biking, there are trails around Kamakura that you can enjoy to the max - just ask the staff for tips. But if you are interested in comfortably cruising around town, the stable and thick tires allow you to cycle safely on rough and sandy roads, and its range of gears that enable you to pedal comfortably even on slopes.
You can also rent a helmet or a backpack, and change into light clothes suitable for cycling in their locker rooms.
- Address 2-1-13, Yuigahama, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, 248-0014
Located right next to JR Kamakura Station is another bicycle rental shop that's popular with visitors. Although the selection of bicycles isn't as large as Grove, Kamakura Bicycle Rental Shop does offer electric-assisted bicycles for rent.
So which kind of bike is best for you?
It depends largely on what you'd like to see. Kamakura's terrain is generally fairly flat along the shoreline, however it can be somewhat hilly in other areas.
There are basically three types of bicycles from which you can choose: mountain bike, standard bike, and electric assisted bike.
If you're taller or a bit heavier, you may wish to consider a mountain bike as they tend to come in a variety of sizes and are sturdier. Ditto if you fancy exploring some of Kamakura off-road.
Standard bicycles are generally fine as well. These tend not to be particularly heavy, but they also tend to only have 3 gears. If you want to head from the Kamakura Station area along the coast to Enoshima, and see the Great Buddha along the way, you should be fine.
But if you want to explore around Kamakura's many scenic side streets and head out to Hokokuji - the bamboo temple - before heading out to the Enoshima area, you might wish to consider getting an electric assisted bicycle. While rental fees for electric assist cycles tend to be somewhat higher than that of standard cycles, they're fun to ride - and you're likely not to break a sweat while cycling around town on one.
Now there many bike rental shops in Kamakura, so while we are only introducing two in this article, it's worth having a brief search online - especially to check if you can reserve a time slot/bicycle online.
Finally, it's also worth getting to Kamakura early in the morning (around 9:30-10:00 AM) as well, since rentals are popular and can be sold out quickly.
Kamakura Bicycle Rental ShopKamakura Bicycle Rental Shop
- Address 1-1 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006
JR Kamakura (East Exit) - 2 minute walk
The Yuigahama coast will come into sight upon crossing the traffic lights at Namerikawa while cycling on Wakaniya Oji. The sight of the wide ocean will spread out in front of you. There is plenty of space to stop your bike to take an #Instaworthy photo.
After this point, carry on straight to Enoshima on your refreshing journey. Gazing at the horizon, your body and mind will feel as if they are free of burden, while cycling with Shonan's gentle sunlight and sea breeze.
We arrived in Inamuragasaki. Here you can see Enoshima and Mount Fuji. On a holiday with good weather, this place will be filled with photographers.
This place is really the best sightseeing spot to represent Shonan, with its breathtaking view of the blue ocean, sky and Enoshima. Being able to stop wherever you want to is an attractive point of cycling. Be sure to snap some photos here too.
After that, cycle around Inamuragasaki Park and enjoy the scenery from the viewing platform.
From Inamuragasaki, let's move on to Shichirigahama. The landmark of Shichirigahama which is home to stylish shops and cafes, would be WEEKEND HOUSE ALLEY. Don't hesitate to take your slightly late brunch here! Located on the 2nd floor, "bills" is a popular all-day casual dining restaurant, with its main store in Sydney, Australia. The branch in Shichirigahama is bills' first store overseas. It has been known as a popular restaurant since its opening in 2008.
This is the "world's best breakfast", their "organic scrambled eggs". We are certain that you will never have had such fluffy and soft scrambled eggs before! Soothe your body slightly worn out from cycling, and enjoy their delicious menu.
bills Shichirigahamabills 七里ガ浜
- Address 2F WEEKEND HOUSE ALLEY, 1-1-1, Shichirigahama, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, 248-0026
After eating your fill, head towards Enoshima again. The road and footpath between Shichirigahama and Kamakura-koko-mae is slightly narrow, so do cycle carefully!
While concentrating on your cycling, you will arrive at Kamakura-koko-mae Station on the Enoden (train line) in no time. This is the ideal place to snap pictures of Enoden and the sea. We parked our bikes, and the Enoden arrived around 5 minutes later.
Enoshima Island will be right in front of your eyes after leaving Kamakura-koko-mae to reach Koyurugi Cape in Koshigoe, and after passing by Koshigoe Fishing Port.
The road is wide so you can park your bike and take a little rest. The swimming areas in Enoshima that are normally filled with people in the summer, only see a few people during the off season, making the ocean all the more beautiful.
Once you pass Enoshima, you will arrive at Enoshima Aquarium. You can have fun watching dolphin shows, seeing penguins and seals in pools, and catching water tanks with creatures gathered from the Pacific Ocean in this relaxing stadium where the ocean spreads out in front of you. Among them, do pay attention to the Sagami Bay Zone. It is a huge water tank where you can see rare sea creatures! Looking at the fishes of various sizes while they swim might make you lose track of time.
The magical and romantic "Jellyfish Fantasy Hall" gives off a stylish atmosphere. The spherical water tank, which showcases jellyfishes, has been gaining popularity recently and is really impressive. You will feel like you were immersed into a world of art, and feel comforted.
After enjoying the aquarium, head back to Kamakura. Cycle along the shoreline again, which will definitely make you feel refreshed.
You won't experience the pleasant sea breeze and the ocean's scent if you go by train, and this will definitely turn into a journey you can experience with your entire body.
Additional points of interest in Kamakura
For this sample itinerary we focused on getting from the Kamakura Station area over to Enoshima Aquarium. Between these two spots are a number of other points of interest worth checking out.
Also, if you fancy making a full day in Kamakura, we recommend these other spots and enjoy exploring around.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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