Access Guide

Kamakura City

Getting there

The best way is to go by train on the Yokosuka Line of East JR (Japan Railway Co.) from Tokyo Central Station. Cars and buses are not recommended, on weekends in particular, due to traffic jams. The 11- or 15-car trains leave Tokyo every 10 to 15 minutes from Track 1, 2 or sometimes 3 in the underground of Marunouchi side (northwest to be exact) of the Station, and it takes 55 minutes to Kamakura (51 kilometers, or 32 miles from Tokyo) for a fare of 890 yen. If you cannot locate the right trucks, follow the blue line, which is the symbol color of the Yokosuka Line and appears on the sign post here and there in the Station. Most of the trains come from Chiba area while some start from Tokyo. In the busy hours of the day or on weekends, you may not be able to get a seat. Generally, rear cars are less crowded. If you want to have a seat for sure, you had better buy a green-car ticket together with an ordinary one. In all trains running on the Yokosuka Line, there are two green-cars located in the middle of the train with comfortable seats. You can sit anywhere on the green-cars with the ticket (no reserved seat) . Be sure to buy it in advance. A green-car ticket costs you 950 yen on weekdays (750 yen for weekends and holidays). Conductors may not sell them on the train since they have to give priority to the passengers who are on board with the ticket. (Picture, left: East side of Kamakura Station)

After leaving Tokyo, trains stop at Shinbashi, Shinagawa {pronounced she-nah-gah-wah}, Nishi -Oi {oh-e}, Musashi-Kosugi, Shin-Kawasaki , Yokohama, Hodogaya, Higashi-Totsuka, Totsuka, Ofuna, Kita (North)-Kamakura and Kamakura. Kita-Kamakura station

For your reference, station stops after Kamakura are: Zushi {zoo-she}, Higashi-Zushi, Taura, Yokusuka and terminus Kurihama. Usually the trains are bound for Ofuna, Zushi, Yokosuka or Kurihama. If your train is for Ofuna, you can get off at Ofuna first and wait for another train going beyond Ofuna. (Picture, right: Yokosuka Line trains at Kita-Kamakura Station.)

Trains of the Tokaido Line which start from Track 7 to 10 of Tokyo Station will also bring you to Ofuna, where you can transfer for Kamakura on the Yokosuka Line.

Walking is best in Kamakura

Your feet are the best and most reliable tool to use in Kamakura. As are always the case with old towns in Japan, the roads here are miserably narrow. Sightseers have to share this narrow roads with motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks. With the recent sightseeing boom, the city is heavily thronged with holidaymakers throughout the year, many of them with cars. The City of Kamakura is seriously considering to enact an ordinance to restrict out-towners' cars coming in and out to cope with woeful condition,--- so woeful that even Kamakuraites are unable to use their own cars inside the city. Thus, walking is the best and fastest way to look around Kamakura. Its acreage is a little less than 40 square kilometers. Fortunately, Kamakura Station is conveniently located in the middle of the city, and famous temple/shrines are found within 3-kilometer radius. Kita-Kamakura Station is also conveniently situated to visit famous Zen temples.

Unfortunately, however, today's roads are not for walkers, but for cars in Japan. Cars have priority over walkers probably because the car industry has been the driving force for the Japanese economy, whereas walkers contribute only to footwear industry. Obviously, drivers are given wide latitude. In addition, Japanese drivers and traffic light systems are most dangerous among the countries I've been to. Cars never stop but speed when the light turned red. Nowhere else in the world, would drivers speed at the red light. Every year, nearly 12,000 people are seriously wounded or killed by cars while crossing the road on the green light. Do not cross the roads right after the light for pedestrians turned green. Look right first, and then left to make sure you are safe, as the cars run on the left-hand side of road in this country like the Commonwealth Nations. Japan employed a number of British systems in the 1860s. Among them is the size of major daily newspapers, of which size is 16 by 21.5 inches a page and width of a regular newsprint roll is 64 inches.

If visiting on weekends or busy seasons, you had better buy the return ticket immediately after you got out of Kamakura Station, because in the afternoon, the station becomes backed up with long lines of passengers waiting to buy tickets. In case you are staying overnight or stay for more than one day at Kamakura, then buy the ticket on the day you leave since the ticket is good for only one day. Sophisticated automatic wickets of East JR will never overlook overdue or unduly used tickets.

Near Kamakura Station, the trains run from north to south. The Station has two exits, one, east and the other, west. The east square is more spacious with a parking lot and busier than the west, surrounded with souvenir shops and restaurants.

Adjacent to the west exit of the Station is a terminus of local street cars named "Eno-den", short for "Enoshima Dentetsu (Railway)"run by an independent company. Eno-den trains leave here and go down south first, then west near the coast and up north to the final destination of Fujisawa, taking 35 minutes for 10 kilometers stretch. From Fujisawa, you can go back to Tokyo by the Tokaido Line trains of JR. Not very fast, Eno-den may be fun to have a ride or two if you have enough time.
(Picture, left: A typical street in Kamakura)

Tourist Information Offices

At the corner of Kamakura Station building on the ground floor, east exit, there is an information office run by the Kamakura City Tourist Association. Staff can speak English, though not fluent.